During the holiday season, nothing beats a horse-drawn carriage ride through a well-lit downtown. If you love working with horses, people and the outdoors, starting a horse-drawn carriage business may be right for you. You will need to undergo carriage driving training and obtain liability coverage and a license. Additionally, you will need to adhere to strict requirements regarding the safety and care of your horses, such as their age, the total hours they can work per day and the payload that they can draw.

Verify that you can establish a location in which to operate your horse-drawn carriage by contacting your county licensing department. They may have a designated parking stand from which you can operate your business and feed and water your horses. Develop a scenic route that will take your clients through beautiful scenery or a historic location. If you plan on riding through a park, contact your Public Works Department as well as your local police and fire departments to verify that you can operate your carriage along your proposed route.

Secure a business and carriage storage location near your route where you can store your equipment, load and unload your horses, and feed and water your animals.

Rent a stable within a reasonable distance of your operating radius to house your horses.

Purchase a carriage, truck and trailer, litter catch and horses. Outfit your carriage with a “Slow Moving” vehicle sign and reflectors. Obtain a valid certificate of health from your veterinarian for each of your horses.

Undergo horse carriage training, which will teach you the basics of horsemanship and horse handling, harnessing, hookup, safety issues and how to give vocal commands.

Obtain liability insurance in the amount required by your county licensing department, from a provider that specializes in equine insurance.

Apply for a horse-drawn carriage license with your local licensing department. Provide proof of a current driver’s license for you and each driver and a health certificate for each horse. Submit the required fee for each carriage in operation.

Develop placards or sandwich boards and brochures to advertise your business. Contact your tourist department to get your tourist business listed.


Keep your horses well shod. Carriages can take a toll on your horses. Pay close attention to the health of your horses and get regular checkups. Water your horses regularly, particularly during the summer months, to prevent dehydration.