Horse-Drawn Four-Wheeled Vehicles


Four-wheeled vehicles do not have the problem of balance.
Passengers can be carried more freely, weight position is not that important as in two-wheeled vehicles.
The seats are leveled all the time.
Shafts are fixed.
They can be altered as you require it.

One disadvantage should be mentioned here: for the novice whip a two-wheeled cart is definitely easier to handle. The dangerous situation of "jack-knifing" cannot happen in a cart, but does easily (own experience) with a four wheeler.


If purchasing a carriage, watch out that horse(s) and the carriage's size are in the right proportion.
A helpful measurement is the height of the trace fixing on the carriage:

If traces are fixed too high relative to the horse's size the draftline raises upwards towards the front of the vehicle.
It becomes impossible for the horse to pull correctly and comfortably.
The carriage is in this case too big for the horse.
Four-wheeled carriages can also be altered in height by putting to or removing wooden blocks between axle and springs.

In modern four-wheeled vehicles low fixed swingle trees help to lower down and alter the draftline relative to the shoulder.
This results in a comfortable way to pull a load.
Learn here more about physics of draft and draftlines.


Very popular in former times as well as today for private driving and F.E.I. events is the four-wheeled Dog Cart or Dog Cart Phaeton.
This is a vehicle for general purpose which can carry four people and dogs under the seatbox with slatted sides.
Single horse, a pair or a team of four can be put to this type of carriage.

The Waggonette is a country carriage for general purpose and is ideal for transporting people and baggage.
It has got a high box seat which is in some vehicles very large and can carry four people at a time.
Two bench seats in the rear are inwards facing and can accomodate more passengers. There is even enough room for luggage in the rear at the feet of the passengers.
This carriage is usually used for teams of four. If a canopy top is installed, passengers are protected from sun or rain.

The Phaeton is an open carriage and comes in various sizes.
It is driven from a forward facing seat.
The name derives from Phaeton, the son of the sun god Helios in Greek mythology. This type was built from the end of the 18th century.
Different types are known, such as the Highflyer (a high carriage driven at considerable speed), the Mail Phaeton for the gentleman driver, Ladies' Pony Phaeton and George IV- Phaeton, which is a low-set vehicle.
The Spider Phaeton is a very elegant carriage and often used in dressage classes.

The Marathon carriage is a very popular modern-type vehicle.
It is compact, safe and very practical.
The breaksystem is modern and almost "car like": there is a foot pedal in front of the whip's seat.

Marathon carriage

Marathon carriage2




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