Types of Horse- and Pony-Drawn Carts

Written by kate klassen
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Types of Horse- and Pony-Drawn Carts
Horse-drawn carts may be made for hauling goods or for transporting people. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Carts, also referred to as carriages, are nonmotorized vehicles drawn by horses or ponies. These come in a variety of styles, each of which is suitable for a specific purpose. Some are used to transport people or goods, others are used for sport. Most carts come in various sizes, each designed to be pulled by either a single horse or multiple horses.

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A sulky is a lightweight cart with a single axle and single seat designed to be pulled by only one horse. There is minimal framework and decoration to keep the weight as low as possible. They are designed for speed, and as a result, these type of carts can be seen most frequently being pulled by race horses, both trotters and pacers.


A wagon is used to transport goods and may or may not have seating for passengers. A double-axle wagon has a bench mounted at the front for the driver followed by a cargo area. The wheels are traditionally made of wooden spokes and rim, with a metal edge on the outside of the wheel to protect the wood from rocks and other hard objects. Modern chuck wagons are used in chuck wagon racing.


A coach's primary purpose is to transport passengers. A coach is a double-axle carriage with a driver's seat up front and passenger seating behind. The amount of seating and the seating configuration may vary between models. A coach can be uncovered or completely enclosed with windows and doors. The degree of comfort varies widely from a basic two-passenger coach that acts as a taxi to elaborately adorned carriages used in royal ceremonies.


A marathon carriage is used in driving competitions. They have a low centre of gravity to keep them from tipping when negotiating obstacles at high speeds. They can be made to be pulled by single or multiple horses. Marathon carriages may have a single or double driver's seat as well as a rear-facing back seat that can accommodate two passengers or grooms. Marathon carriages usually come with brakes, while many other styles of carts may not.


A sledge, also known as a sled or a sleigh, is a carriage that rides on runners rather than relying on wheels. The runners glide across snow and can be pulled by horses when conditions are not suitable for wheels. These come in many configurations for seating and cargo transport.

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