This horse job is quite different from many of the rest as it offers a chance for people to work independently. While often a controversial position to hold, carriage drivers can be found in most urban cities around the globe.
What You Need
While this position provides plenty of hands-on time with horses, it also requires a great deal of interaction with the general public. Obviously rules and laws vary by country and city, so what is expected of drivers will change from place to place. The nature of the job (independent contractor in a city, working for a stable, etc.) will demand flexibility. By far the most important part of the job is caring for an animal which is likely to be working very far outside their comfort zone.
Great communication skills, a strong understanding of horse care requirements and the ability to think fast on your feet are all elements of a great carriage driver.
As mentioned above the description will vary to a large degree from place to place. Horse care will be prevalent in almost any job description, as the animal is the engine that drives revenue. Keen knowledge of the area and a firm understanding of local laws as they apply to equines in urban spaces will be essential for anyone wishing to take on the position.
Horse care before, during and after their working hours
Protecting your animal(s) from an uneducated public
Understanding of the local terrain and traffic patterns
Firm knowledge of local laws and bylaws with regards to horse carriages
Entertaining clients on the ride – often tour guide knowledge
Working directly with the public
The requirements for this position will vary tremendously. Those who want to work independently will be required to follow local laws and certification programs for licensing (some cities may not require them) which usually means possessing a current driver’s license, insurance, passing an assessment check and in some places a clean criminal record. In most cases there will be a fee for licensing or badges that is paid annually. Larger cities may also require periodic inspections, risk assessment reports, vet checks and an understanding of carriage-specific bylaws.
A few places to start if you are interested in a career as a carriage driver.
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The Carriage Association of America
British Driving Society
Australia Carriage Driving Society
Carriage Driving Ireland
Scottish Driving Society
New Zealand Carriage Driving Society
Cart Horse Protection Association (South Africa)
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