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Horse Carriages

Horse Carriages

Handmade Horse Carriages

A few Saturdays ago, the three of us headed to Dollywood to see it all decked out for Christmas. It was a sunny and warm (in the ’60s) and we live only about an hour or so away. One of my favorite parts about Dollywood was a visit to the carriage maker. The park has real craftsmen on staff doing things (mostly) the old-fashioned way. It’s part theme park attraction and part craft preservation. I’ve never before seen someone build a carriage. What struck me the most is how reasonably priced the carriages were. You can get yourself a fancy brand new one or two-horse carriage, complete with a hydraulic brake system for around $2,500. Now that’s a lot of money but you get a hand-built horse carriage made from high-quality parts that can be used for pleasure riding, parades, weddings…whatever. If we find ourselves with $2,500 too much one year, I’d love to buy one of these. I can’t even imagine one of our spirited horses pulling a carriage but I’m sure they’d be fine with training. Of course, Moonshine and Valentine probably couldn’t be paired due to their size differences so I guess we’d need a one-horse carriage. Mikki wants a doctor’s carriage like the one in the picture above. I think it would be fun to have a wagon that seats four. And I could probably justify spending that much money by saying we’d use it to make money giving rides at parades, fairs, and other events. It would be an investment! Riiiiight.

Here’s a picture of an unpainted carriage up close:

Horse carriage with unfinished wood

And here’s a picture of the carriage shop inside:

Dollywood carriage shop

Do any of you have a carriage for your horse(s)?

2019 Update: unfortunately, the Dollywood carriage/wagon shop seems to have closed down some time between 2017 and 2019. I’m going to miss watching them build these! 

We need a carriage

We need a carriage

Horse carriage at Christmas

We went to a small town Christmas event tonight and one of the prominent attractions was horse-drawn carriage rides, as well as hayrides. We paid $6, stood in line and boarded a small, white one-horse carriage for a ride down Main Street. It was awesome. Clack, clack, clack as we rode past merrymakers, Christmas displays and antique stores with awnings covered with fake snow. Ah, Christmas. Despite a temperature of around 75 here today, it really felt like Christmas after dark in this little town.

Oh, and the carriage. How cool would that be? We recently saw one advertised in the local classifieds for $1,000. I wonder how much use we’d get out of it. We could be in the Christmas parade and load up for an old-fashioned ride over to a friends house nearby (also horse lovers). And this way we could all go, even though there are 3 of us and only two horses. We’d have to get a one-horse carriage though. Valentine is so much bigger than Moonshine, they’d surely be out of sync. Oh well, it’s an idea we’ll toss around until some money comes our way.

A fun little side note – there is a carriage maker at Dollywood that really make real horse carriages the old fashioned way – by hand.