Featured Image Credit: Facebook/ Palmetto Carriage Works
It’s no secret that carriage tours are a popular activity in Charleston for both tourists and locals. The horses pulling the carriages may very well be the city’s best ambassadors! If they could talk, we’re sure they could pretty much tell us anything about the history of Charleston, because they listen to it and learn about it every single day!
It’s also not a secret that the support for the carriage industry has declined over the last couple years. People have become skeptical about the care for the horses and the intentions of the carriage industries. But carriage rides are an important part in Charleston tourism and the horses play a vital role. Benjamin Doyle of Palmetto Carriage Works knows that better than just about anyone, since Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage company in Charleston.
Most often the animals coming to Palmetto Carriage Works have retired from pulling plows all day, usually in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. They semi-retire to Charleston – as so many from that area do – and take up work pulling carriages. The work days are shorter and the loads are a whole lot lighter.
These horses are like family to the carriage companies. They are treated just like you would treat a loved one or a family member. While the horses may not get a paycheck, they get plenty of vacation time and a health care package to boot (or should we say horseshoe?) Doyle carefully selects horses and mules that are gentle, can tolerate traffic and noise as well as Charleston’s warm and humid climate.
Check out what exactly goes into caring for the carriage horses in this awesome video from Palmetto Carriage Works Facebook page.