My first Carriage Driving Lesson
‘No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle’ ~ Winston Churchill
Recently we did a photo shoot, to show the Hustle & Bustle and Rainwrap as an ideal carriage driving ensemble, with an esteemed carriage driver in Co. Kildare. Much as I love horses and used to enjoy riding, since I slipped a disc a few years ago I have been too anxious to get back in the saddle unless the horse is really lovely and lazy! 😉 However on seeing and sitting in the carriage, in this instance a very beautiful one, I fell in love with the idea of it and had a go. One thing that was immediately apparent was that the very thought of doing what drivers are often guilty of; putting on make-up, tampering with the radio, checking for a rogue piece of spinach between your teeth, chatting on the phone etc., is unthinkable when carriage driving! You are totally focused on communicating your will accurately to the horse and if you have a lapse in concentration, which I did, you may find your horse bounding out of control and going in all sorts of directions which on a road would be absolutely lethal (thankfully I was back in control before we reached the pile of horse manure we had been taking great care to avoid!)! You also begin to appreciate what real speed feels like. The 30 kmph speed limit currently being lobbied for by cycling campaigns and resisted by many others seems quite generous when you experience raw speed like this.
Of course people who cycle experience raw speed. Some who ride fixies (often with no brakes) say that it’s very similar to riding a horse, you are at one with your steed and are constantly on the alert. The cargo bike shares some characteristics of the carriage; good distribution of weight, importance of balance, ability to carry people and things, and difficulty to find street parking for, though it must be said the cargo bike rarely shows a will of its own and there’s no tack to take off or horse to wash down. The cargo bike depends on you for its power and of course controlling horse power is the challenge that the cargo bike does not offer! So far I enjoy the ritual and commitment of carriage driving and would recommend it to anybody!