How to Build a Horse-Drawn Buggy

Written by rebecca boardman
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How to Build a Horse-Drawn Buggy
Simple one-horse buggy (Courtesy of

Driving a horse is a pleasure that few people get to experience. If you are lucky enough to have an equine companion that is trained for driving as well as riding, then you can enjoy driving a horse by economically and quickly assembling your own small buggy. It seats two adults side by side and can be drawn by a single horse. Once you have experienced the joy of driving and enjoying your horse in a new way, you might find yourself looking for any excuse to get out and enjoy riding in your horse buggy.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Metalworking materials
  • Large bicycle spoke wheels
  • Power tools
  • Plywood
  • Hardware
  • Paint
  • Canvas

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    Building a Horse-drawn Buggy

  1. 1

    To determine the measurements for your buggy's frame, measure the width of two adults sitting side by side, as well as the length of their legs from knees to floor. Add 6 inches to each side of the seat area. For the buggy's floor, add at least 16 inches in front of the passengers' feet. Add 2 inches at the rear of the seat measurements to accommodate building materials.

  2. 2

    Create a basic square frame using 1- by 2-inch rectangular steel, cut and welded to the measurements you have taken in Step 2. Create attachment points for the seat by welding rings or drilling holes for bolts.

  3. 3

    Cut your plywood to the measurements you have taken for your seat. Cover the plywood with a padding material, such as foam or canvas, topped with a weatherproof material. Your seat will need to have metal bracing and mounting fixtures to bolt to the frame. So you will need to add these last of all.

  4. 4

    Bolt your seat to the frame. The floor below it may be covered with plywood or perforated metal to provide a place to rest your feet while riding.

  5. 5

    Measure a length of pipe to fit the underside of your buggy's frame. Cut to fit. Your axles need to be at least 3/4-inch diameter steel. Weld your axles onto the measured and cut pipe that will then be clamped onto the frame.

  6. 6

    Assemble and mount your wheels. Rubber-tired, wire-spoked wheels are the best bet for this type of buggy. They will provide some shock absorption, and will look attractive, as well.

  7. 7

    Create and mount your driveshaft welds. Since the way a horse will fit in the shafts will vary on how large the horse is, a gusset-type fitting welded on the end of the shafts and bolted to a similar fitting on the frame will allow for some adjustment. The attachment points need to be strong since all the force generated by the horse will be transferred to the cart through these fittings. Make sure you take the time to weld them correctly and securely.

  8. 8

    Build your driving shafts. The shafts can be made of wood and must be longer than the horse. The horse must have at least 2 feet of shaft behind it to allow for room for its legs during movement. The shafts need to extend about 1 to 2 feet beyond the horse's shoulders.

  9. 9

    Weld or bolt on the eyebolts or rings you will need to attach your harness fixtures to your driveshafts. They should be approximately 1 to 1 1/2 feet from the end of your shafts. Attach to the appropriate rings on the horse's harness.

  10. 10

    Finally, smooth all of your metal pieces with a grinder, buff the exterior and apply an all-weather paint to your buggy. This last step is as important as the rest, so take your time and do it right.

Tips and warnings

  • Do your homework and present your welder with a blueprint of what you specifically want. Have measurements ready as well as the materials needed for a professional welder to do his work.
  • Never attempt to weld or work metal if you are not a professional.

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