Old South Carriage Company maintains a team of 25-30 Belgian and Percheron draft horses. The care of our horses is a top priority. We are fortunate to own a large, well ventilated stable in the city where the horses enjoy rest, shade, and water between tours. Our downtown stable features “box stalls” that enable the horses to lie down and rest at will. The horse’s temperature, respiration, and overall condition are evaluated after every tour. We frequently rotate our horses between our downtown stable and Sugah Cain Plantation, our 65-acre “horse heaven,” with green pastures and beautiful moss-draped live oak trees.
Please visit our stable at 14 Anson Street and witness first-hand the quality of the horses, the excellent facilities, and the level of care and treatment our horses receive.
Our Horses: We use Belgian and Percheron draft horses that are bred for work, most of which come from Amish working farms in Ohio.
Diet: Our horses eat approximately 40,000 calories daily in horse feed and hay. Their feed is a low starch/high fat combination that mimics their natural grazing diet.
Work: The City of Charleston strictly regulates horse work schedules to no more than 8 hours per day and 6 days per week. In season, our horses normally have a five-day workweek and will work 5-6 hours per day.
Stalls: Our stalls are bedded with state-of-the-art Puritan Premium Bedding Crumbles which are a safe, effective, and environmentally friendly bedding option. This product is a super absorbent, patent-pending blend that offers two times the absorbency of other leading brands. It also controls ammonia odor, which can be harmful to horses and humans.
Leisure: Old South Carriage Company owns a 65-acre plantation, Sugah Cain, on Johns Island, 8 miles from our stable. Our horses are consistently rotated to Sugah Cain where they are free to run in large pastures or graze leisurely under century-old live oaks.
Breaks are a must. Between tours, horses get a minimum of a 15-minute break in front of a water trough. Showers and high performance fans keep them cool.
Individual Monitoring: We take the horse’s temperature before and after each tour. If their temperature is slightly elevated, the horse is taken out of service until the temperature returns to normal. Each horse receives a veterinary exam twice per year. Preventative health includes shots, worming, and dental care.
Working in the heat: When the outside temperature reaches 95 degrees, carriage operations throughout the city cease.
How much can they pull? Our draft horses are 1800-pound athletes. Belgian Draft and Percheron horses can pull four times their own weight! They actually push on their collar and the harness does the pulling.
Shoes: All of our horses wear iron shoes with a rubber tire on top that protects and cushions their hooves. They see a farrier and get new shoes every 4 – 6 weeks.
Retirement: When our horses reach retirement age, they go to the pastures of folks who express an interest in providing them a home.