2,500 € to 5,000 € / ~2,823 $ to 5,645 $
Horses and carriages are no longer an everyday sight on the streets of towns or bowling along country roads, but high-quality Carriage Horses are still very much in demand. A good Carriage Horse combines the right conformation and attitude of mind with impressive action that catches the eye. People who buy a Carriage Horse need a sound and sensible animal that will work well on its own or as part of a team. A team of well-matched, well-trained Carriage Horses will always find plenty of interest from buyers. It’s usually experienced carriage drivers who sell a Carriage Horse or team since they are the people with the knowledge of how to train and use them. Carriage driving is a skilled and very enjoyable activity, whether performed for pleasure or for showing, and reliable, well-trained horses are essential for success.
The term “carriage” ultimately comes from the Latin “carrus”, which was used to describe the light horse or mule-drawn vehicles that the Romans used. Light vehicles existed even before Roman times, usually drawn by a pair of horses or other equids. However, the days of horse-drawn coach and carriage work did not really begin until the sixteenth century, and before this, the majority of people rode rather than drove, since outside urban areas the roads were not good, and vehicles were cumbersome and basic. Coaches were first built in the Hungarian town of Kocs. By the mid-seventeenth century, there were so many of them that European cities were struggling with traffic jams! Horse breeders, including many members of royal families, began to produce horses that were intended to be used for driving rather than riding. As a result, the world eventually obtained some wonderful coach and carriage horse breeds such as the Kladruber, the Gelderlander, the Cleveland Bay, the Breton Postier, and the fast Hackneys and Roadsters. The great days of private carriage driving came at the end of the nineteenth century when people loved to display themselves in open carriages in places such as Hyde Park in London or the Epsom or Chantilly races. Handsome, high-stepping carriage horses that matched in colour were essential to the turnout. Even today, Derby Day at Epsom begins with a heart-stirring carriage procession of royals and VIPs, all immaculately turned out.
Today, Carriage Horses are used for showing, commercial work such as weddings and funerals, and on heritage and history sites. They usually work as singles, as a pair, and in four-in-hand teams. Some drivers love the look of chestnuts with white leg markings, as they make a great show. Others prefer dark bays, greys and blacks, especially for commercial work.