Carriage Driving School

Do you have a love of the gentle ride of a carriage and the clip-clop sounds of the horse?  Do you have a sound knowledge of horses and can you relate to their unique emotional needs?  If so, you may want to consider learning to drive a carriage–just for fun–or you may even want to start a carriage driving business.  We will teach you.

Carriage Driving Classes

Sugar Creek Carriages offers three classes:

A Two-day Beginner’s Carriage Driving Class

  • You will learn the basics of horsemanship, horse handling and management.
  • You will learn basic skills in carriage driving including the proper use of vocal and reins commands, maintaining control of the horse, and the major safety issues of horse management.  You will not be prepared to drive in complex rural or urban situations.

A One Week Advanced Carriage Driving Class.
You will be able to drive a carriage in most outdoor situations at the completion of this class.

You will learn the basics of:

  • Horsemanship
  • Horse handling and management
  • Harnessing
  • Carriage hook-ups.

At the completion of this class, you will be prepared to start their own horse-drawn carriage business.

You will learn:

  • Customer and Horse Safety
  • Driving in adverse weather
  • Driving a carriage in a metropolitan situation

The completion of neither class conveys any legal right to drive or start a business in any metropolitan area.  Any graduate wishing to start a horse-drawn carriage business must comply with all city, county, and state laws regarding carriage operation and horse management.

Safety

Three initial concerns:

  • Proper ways to hook and unhook horses from carriages
  • 90% of injuries occur at this stage
  • Maintaining total control of the horse

Your job is to protect your passengers; control is essential. Knowing and using “whoa”  “Whoa” and other vocal commands are essential for maintaining control of the horse.

Using Vocal Commands
Vocal commands are a major part of controlling driving horses at Sugar Creek Carriages.

Vocal commands are the first and preferred method of directing the horse. Reins are a secondary control method. Reins reprimand the horse. A well trained driver with a well trained horse can do most maneuvers without using reins. This becomes of critical importance in emergency situations. Horses respond to what they hear much more quickly than by what they feel.

Commercial Driving School
In the two-week intermediate course, students will be taught intricate knowledge of how to handle, harness, hook up, and drive a horse-drawn carriage. Understanding horse behavior and learning to “read” a horses’ actions will also be taught. Students will learn how to keep a horse in good health as well as inspection of hooves and shoes. By the end of this course, a student will be able to drive a carriage in most outdoor environments and events. This does not provide the student any legal right to drive a carriage within the district of a Taxi board regulated metropolitan area that has limitations on horse-drawn carriages. Completion of this course will provide the student with a Certificate of Completion.

Advanced School
The one-week course is a continuance of the two day course with the addition of driving a horse-drawn carriage in Nashville. The student will learn hands-on how to handle customer safety, horse safety, carriage maneuvering, driving conditions, weather conditions, attracting customers, and other issues with driving a carriage in any metropolitan area. At the end of this course the student will receive a Diploma in Advanced Horse-Drawn Carriage Driving and will be able to work for any horse-drawn carriage business or start their own. This does not convey any legal right to drive or start a business in a metropolitan area without first meeting city laws and guidelines.

The Instructor
Johnny Smith has over 30 years of horse experience and holds certificates and diplomas with B.W.F.A (Brotherhood of Working Ferriers Association) as well as the Oklahoma Horse Shoeing School and the Equine Research and Development Center in Georgia. Johnny is a Journeyman Ferrier and holds diplomas in advanced horse shoeing, blacksmithing, and horsemanship in breaking and training. Johnny has also been a wrangler and guide throughout the mid-west and Alaska.

Beginner
In our beginner course, we will help you start to develop your skills and interests in driving a horse drawn carriage for fun.  We will help you learn how to become safely comfortable around working horses.  Safety is our number one priority. You will start to learn the body language of a horse.  You will begin to understand why they behave the way they do and, most importantly, why you must behave in the way they expect you to behave.

Part of your chores will be to help feed and monitor real working horses each day.  You’ll be coached to know what to look for in the animal’s condition and attitude.  (Horses don’t keep secrets.)

By the end of this course, you will be able to drive a carriage in open areas free of complex obstacles, rough terrain, and traffic.

This class does not give you any legal right to drive a carriage within the district of a Taxi board regulated metropolitan area that has limitations on horse-drawn carriages.

Upon your completion of this course, we will award you with a Certificate of Completion.

Advanced
In our advanced course, we will continue to help you develop an advanced  knowledge of how to handle, harness, hook up, and drive a horse-drawn carriage.  We will fill in gaps in your understanding of horses and their proper use and care, body language, horse care, and preventative solutions. The highlight of this advanced class is learning to drive a horse-drawn carriage in Nashville, Tennessee. You will learn, hands-on, how to be a professional carriage driver in the urban environment.

  • You will know how to handle customer safety and horse safety.
  • You will know how to maneuver a carriage in traffic while staying in compliance with all traffic laws.
  • You will be able to adapt to different driving conditions and weather. You will be schooled in attracting (and keeping) customers for repeat business.
  • You will learn how to spot potential problems and take preventative actions in any metropolitan area to ensure that your customers enjoy their ride while you provide the security and protection they need.

At the end of this course you will receive a diploma in Advanced Horse-Drawn Carriage Driving.  You will be qualified to work for any horse-drawn carriage business.  You will have the horse and carriage driving skills needed to start your own business.

This does not convey any legal right to drive or start a business in a metropolitan area without first meeting city laws and guidelines.

Upon your completion of this course, we will award you with a Certificate of Completion.

Our classes are tailored around your skills, abilities, and knowledge.  We will conduct a detailed interview with you before you are accepted into our training program for carriage driving.

Customized Lesson Plans
Your lessons will be uniquely developed just for you. This class normally takes two-weeks (8 days) to complete.  You may proceed more slowly or faster.

Tuition
$100 per day per person.

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