Carriage Ride Safety For The Colder Months
A carriage ride is a lovely treat, especially in colder months when you may see frost (or snow, depending on where you go for the carriage ride) on tree branches on brisk, clear days. However, like any outdoor activity, you have to be aware of basic cold-weather safety. Carriage rides can be deceiving because they look so cozy, but you are exposed to the cold air. So whether you're planning a trip to snowy Central Park or hoping to see a Southern California mountain town, take the temperatures into account.
Plan Ahead and Go With the Flow
If you're traveling to a new town for some sightseeing and aren't familiar with average daily winter temperatures there, start researching now. Even though carriage rides are slow, you're still going to have a bit of a breeze as you travel along the path. Look at wind chill factors and at pictures of how people usually dress during the winter there (look at news stories for this; they'll usually have pictures, and you can glean info from that). Of course, you can also call the carriage company, but for a more expansive view, looking at how people show up in local media, too, can help.
Also, even if you plan the trip for what is historically a nice time to be in the city, you could encounter freak storms and cold snaps. Many carriage companies place a temperature limit on when the horses can work. Do not be disappointed if you hit a cold snap that stops carriage companies from operating. It happens, and you can try to reschedule or just add the carriage ride to your next vacation to-do list.
Look for Companies That Offer Lap Blankets
For areas with very cold winters, ask the carriage company if it provides lap blankets for riders. These heavy blankets not only keep you warmer and more comfortable, but they evoke images of simpler times and those long-ago less-complicated childhood winters.
Be Prepared Yourself
Since you'll be outside for a prolonged time, assume that the day will seem colder than you anticipate. Bring a hat and some gloves, along with sunglasses to protect your eyes from bright, glare-filled snow. If you're going to be in an area where snow isn't an issue but the temperature is, bring a scarf that is long enough to protect both your neck and your mouth and nose. Bring earmuffs, too, to protect your ears if your hat doesn't extend over the entire ear.
Hold off on the Caroling
If you're going to take the carriage ride around Christmastime and are going in a group, ask the carriage company about appropriate noise levels to avoid annoying the horse. Now, the horses are well-trained, and the drivers are very good at keeping control. These horses often work in cities with loud noise levels anyway (e.g., New York City, Charleston), but sudden noises may be unwelcome and make the horse not want to work.
Carriage rides are fun, easy-on-the-brain activities that let you sit back and admire the slowly passing scenery. By ensuring your comfort during cold weather, you make that ride a trip to remember fondly.