I always get asked about the horses that pull the carriages and sleighs at the Homestead. These are all owned by our volunteer carriage drivers and are brought here when it’s time to take visitors on rides. Here is their story as told to me by Denett Pimkowski, our head carriage driver..
Shawn is an American Saddlebred. They are very graceful horses and have a comfortable ground covering walk. They were popular with country doctors, traveling salesmen, plantation owners—people who spent a lot of time on horseback and could appreciate a comfortable horse. Shawn is owned by Dr. Geoffry Hallstead and Geoff, Dawn and I drive him.
Flirt, Peter, Suzie, and Lucy are Morgan horses. Morgans were the first American breed of horses, dating back to the American Revolutionary war. Justin Morgan, a school teacher, bread his stallion to local Vermont mares for some extra money. He kept a diary of who he bred his horse to. All the offspring come out looking like the stallion (father), so after the war, Morgan’s diary became the foundation book for the Morgan Horse Society. Morgans are known for being a do-everything type of horse. Small Vermont farms were often a one horse situation, so the horse needed to be able to plow the garden, take the family wagon to town, get the family to church on Sunday and be ridden for errands. Many Morgans are both ridden and driven and have very sweet personalities. They are like the Golden Retrievers of the horse world.
I started the carriage ride program in 1998 with Flirt. She used to belong to Judge Cribb. When he owned her, he bred her twice and got Peter and then Lucy. I bought Lucy from Joe and when he died, Peter came to me. Lucy has been injured and not working at Granger recently. Suzie belongs to Sue Knauer and is also a Morgan horse.
Beauty is a Dutch Harness Horse. She belongs to Sue Knauer and just started at Granger for sleigh ride season. The Dutch Harness Horse was bred and developed in Holland to pull carriages. They have very flashy “action” which means that they naturally lift their legs high when stepping out at a walk or trot on a carriage