Tips and Thoughts on Buying a Horse Drawn Vehicle and a Harness

Marathon Carriage

Buying the right vehicle is probably more difficult than a car.

It is a serious investment and you want to be well informed before looking at carriages for sale.

Although carriages are driven in a much slower speed than cars, carriage buyers are not enjoying even the basics of safety as it is normal in the world of the automobile.

A carriage's "engine" is the horse, pony or donkey, people are transported without protection and they have to travel mostly on pretty busy roads in modern, evergrowing traffic.
These are particular risks.

Looking at vehicle for sale ads you will soon find that there are lots of carriages up for sale.
Choosing the right one is therefor kind of a challenge.
In the end it needs to fit your horse/pony completely and whip and horse should feel comfortable.
This is the basic of safety.

There are no specific laws or rules for carriage manufacturing and there are neither any vehicle manufacture societies or associations at present.

This means that literally anyone can set up a manufacturer business. You will not be surprised by now, that some manufacturers are trading a few years and then disappearing again, leaving dissatisfied customers, unsafe carriages and problems behind.

You are always responsible to ensure your vehicle is safe for yourself, passengers, your animal and everybody around you.

Buying a bargain is something we all like to do!
In such a case look at every detail thoroughly and think about it twice.

Buying from a reputable manufacturer has got advantages:

  • they usually have got a product liability insurance

  • they employ qualified and experienced personnel and engineers

  • they use modern and new materials throughout

  • they give effective after-sales back up

  • if necessary, they can repair and check your vehicle over

  • the re-sale value of your carriage is usually very good: your money is actually well invested

You might be interested in buying a used carriage.
Good manufacturers might assist you even in finding one.

What kind of vehicle is best?

Well, it depends very much on your experience and preference:

For a novice whip a two-wheeled vehicle would be probably best: it is easier to handle, cannot "jack-knife" and therefor safer.
It is also cheaper than a four-wheeled carriage.

Later, if more advanced, you might want to switch to a four wheeled carriage.
This offers more seats and comfort.

A two-wheeled carriage must be exactly in balance.
Try how easily you can enter and exit the carriage as you might have to do so in certain emergencies.
Taking your horse with you to see, if the carriage fits, would be ideal.

Certain models can fit a variety of horse sizes.
They can be changed easily in a few steps, e.g with a winding mechanism to adjust balance.
Check this possibility out before you buy.
This can save a lot of money later.

Thumb rule for sizing:

For a 11hh-and-over tall pony/horse the shaft height at the tugs should be 3" per hand. Or 3/4 of the height of the pony/horse.
Check also the length of your horse from whither to hindquarter to ensure that there is appropriate space between hindlegs and carriage(dashboard).

What types of tyres are best?

Solid rubber tyres will last for years.
Pneumatic tyres are proned to punctures.


Buying a harness requires also knowledge and some research in advance.
You need to decide, if you want to use a full colar, brollar- or breast collar harness.

Breast collars are cheaper and easy to fit and they can be adjusted to varying horse/pony sizes.

What material is better? Leather or Synthetics?

Again, you will need to find out what is best for you and siuts your needs the best:
Leather and brass furniture does really show off beautifully. It requires quite a lot of time to keep it clean and shiny.
If you intend to buy a used leather harness, you need to examine it really thoroughly for wear and tear and older repairs.

A harness made of synthetic material with stainless steel furniture saves costs and is easily cleaned and maintained.
Steel furniture is durable and very strong and easily kept sparkling.

Safety and time are for our modern lifestyle non-negligeable.
You will probably find in the end that a modern vehicle and a synthetic harness make your life easier, because they are safe, comfortable, easy to clean and require only little maintenance.
You can avoid a lot of trouble and problems, if you invest your money clever. And if you want to resell you might get more out of it in the end.

Further Info

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