Photography Friday – Friesian Carriage Horses

Photography Friday – Friesian Carriage Horses

There is something really appealing about European carriage horses to me.  I’m probably making a blanket statement here, but as a general rule they seem better bred and better cared for than the average American carriage horse.  Of course, there are exceptions to this!

These Fresians caught my eye several years ago when we were traveling in Berlin.  Berlin is not my super most favorite European city, especially for photography, so shooting these guys made me smile.




And now to open up a huge can of worms – are y’all pro or anti carriage horses?  Like most things, I’m not black or white on the subject but curious what you think!

11 thoughts on “Photography Friday – Friesian Carriage Horses

  1. I’m neutral with carriage horses. I don’t know enough about carriage driving to have an opinion of it. I think there are a lot of nice carriage horses out there and they make a park look a lot nicer (in my opinion) with a nicely groomed horse and a beautiful carriage. It just really depends on how the owner treats them and that the horse is happy with the job.

  2. I’m anti until they get stricter ordinances and stronger enforcement. They drive horses with full loads in weather that I wouldn’t dream of riding in – heat, mostly. I have seen them standing out in thunder and lightning storms. Also, I’m not at all hesitant to walk up to a driver (and most of ours are college kids) and ask about scars and rubs. Most of our horses seem to go in the yoke style harness, which I understand enables them to pull more weight, but seems less humane than the shoulder strap option that you’ve got pictured above (I’m sure there’s a technical name for it, but I don’t know it). When I do ask about rubs and raw marks and scars, I normally get the answer that of course the horse came from the Amish like that.

    My vet is also the vet for one of the two local companies. They do diagnostic work (because he left the power cord to the digital radiograph at their barn once), but I don’t know how much or how much treatment they get.

    When my husband and I were tourists to this city, we took a carriage ride. When the driver found out that I was an equestrian, she invited me up front and let me drive. Her situation was different in that she owned her own cart and horse and just worked under that company. And she was spot on for the care of her mare.

    The driver invited me back to the company barn to see how things were there. The stalls were huge (12×12, 14×14?) and had ample shavings and the horses all seemed relatively content. The workers knew the personalities. Turn out was non-existent, which I’m sure some people could argue would be unnecessary for a horse that was working all freaking day anyways.

    The police horses are treated much better.

  3. I go back and forth on this topic. As a tourist, I’ve seen carriage horses who looked absolutely wonderful and well cared-for, and I’ve seen horses I felt sorry for. We visited Amish country a few years ago, and the horses we saw looked to be in good shape and were cared for. There are always exceptions, I know. But that’s how it is with any type of horse, anywhere: some people take excellent care of their horses, and some just don’t. Its kind of trying to generalize owners of Tennessee Walkers – not all of them do scoring (or whatever its called).

    My husband and I love to go to Charleston, SC, and we always take a carriage ride. We did some research on the companies, and we always use this one company who actually use mules instead of horses (though they have horses there, too). You get on the carriage in their barn, so you can see how the horses live and are they’re treated, which I like. They all seemed very happy in the barn and content with their jobs. One of them actually got a sore spot from the harness, and they wouldn’t work him until it was completely healed. That was good to hear. One thing I didn’t like was the fact that those “city horses” didn’t have any pastures, or even any grassy areas to graze. Its kinda sad.

  4. What a lovely pair! As to your question, every way we use our horses is up for debate. I am all for giving our horses lots of different jobs. If a horse is well cared for, well trained, and happy pulling a cart or carriage, who am I to criticize? I’ve seen plenty of riding horses who weren’t well cared for, well trained, and unhappy in their work. Why don’t more people get upset about that? Just my two cents … :0)

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