In the past, horse drawn carriages were used as part of everyday life in all societies. From simple carts used on farms, to expensive coaches in the city, drawn by many horses, carriages were a major form of transport. For this reason, many people would have learnt how to drive carriages.
Carriage driving is not such a necessary skill nowadays, and therefore, not as popular as a mode of transport. However, many people enjoy carriage driving as a sport and a leisure pursuit. Horse driving trials are a fun and competitive way to use carriage driving skills. These are run from amateur level, by local horse driving clubs, through to national and international level, for those who take it more seriously. Carriage driving is also used for horse drawn carriages at weddings, funerals, open air museums,
, Game Fairs and other functions. County Shows
Learning to drive a carriage requires some basic skill and patience. It is possible to take carriage driving lessons, a necessary procedure if one is to drive a carriage safely and correctly. There are several private teachers and establishments who offer lessons, including Karen Bassett.
Lessons are available for complete beginners to the more advanced drivers, for a single horse, a pair, team and tandem, where every phase of driving trials, private driving and other showing classes, coaching and pleasure driving are encompassed.
Lessons generally last for an hour and some establishments even undertake 1 or 2-day courses, day clinics for groups of between 4 and 8, and lecture demonstrations.
To drive a horse drawn carriage is a useful, entertaining and even money pursuing skill. You can take yourself and others back to a more simple and romantic era, take part in carriage driving trials and sports, use your skill to run a horse drawn carriage hire business, or to simply have fun.