The horses of Nottingham are members of our family and we depend on the horses as much as they depend on us.

Commonly Asked Questions

1.Do the horses like their job? Yes! Horses, like most of us, thrive on a sense of purpose and routine. All of our horses are easy to catch and load in the horse trailer, knowing they are about to go to work. The horse is extremely smart and will not pull a carriage if the horse does not want to.

2.The horse’s back leg is lifted! Is he hurt? Horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. Horses have the ability to doze and enter light sleep while standing, an adaptation from life as a prey animal in the wild. Lying down makes an animal more vulnerable to predators. Horses are able to sleep standing up because a "stay apparatus" in their legs allows them to relax their muscles and doze without collapsing. When a horse is seen with a hind leg cocked, the horse is demonstrating the "stay apparatus" and has been caught sleeping on the job!

3.Don't the horses need to sleep at night instead of working? Unlike humans, horses do not sleep in a solid, unbroken period of time. Horses sleep by means of many short periods of rest. Horses may spend anywhere from four to fifteen hours a day in standing rest, and from a few minutes to several hours lying down. Total sleep time in a day may range from several minutes to a couple of hours. Horses require approximately two and a half hours of sleep, on average, in a 24-hour period. Most of this sleep occurs in many short intervals of about 15 minutes each.

4.Where do the horses live? The horses split their time between our Atlanta stables and our stable 50 miles outside Atlanta. In both locations the horses live in turn-outs and are free to roam as a herd and behave in the same manner as a herd of wild horses.

5.Do the horses ever get to go to the country? Yes! All our horses split their time between our city and country stables.

6.How many hours do the horses work? On weekdays horses work 4 hours and on weekends 6-8 hrs. Each horse works 2-4 days a week.

7.Is the carriage too much weight for the horse to pull? A draft horse can pull five times its weight. A carriage loaded with the maximum amount of passengers may reach one time the horse’s weight.

8.How many years do the horses work? A well cared for street horse averages 15-20 years of work.

9.Why is the horse sweating? What’s wrong with him? Sweating is normal for a horse working, regardless if the horse is pulling a carriage, trail riding, or jumping. There is a serious problem if the horse is NOT sweating on a warm work day.

10.What organizations oversee the carriage industry in Atlanta? We have inspectors from the City of Atlanta and GA Department of Agriculture. They conduct routine inspections at our stables when the horses are not working. The City and State inspectors also conduct routine inspections at the carriage stands while horses are working.

11. Are the horses healthy? All our horses are seen on a regular basis by a licensed veterinarian and are on a maintenance program based on our veterinarian’s recommendations. The horses are also on a routine schedule with a professional farrier.

12. How much do the horses weigh? Our horses range from 1500-2000 pounds each.

13. What type of horse is this? We use draft horses and draft crosses. The primary breed we use is the English Shire, often confused with their close relative, the Clydesdale. Besides the English Shires, our herd also includes Percheron draft horses, Gypsy Cobs, and Standardbred/Percheron crossbreeds.

14. Do you ever have horses for sale? Occasionally we have registered Shire foals for sale. When we retire our work horses we usually give the horse away if we do not keep them ourselves.

15. What happens to the carriage horse when he is retired? Each horse's situation is unique; but, in general, once a carriage horse is retired he is either kept til he passes away by the company owners or the driver, or given away to an approved home. Please contact us if you would like to find out more information about acquiring a retired carriage horse from Nottingham.

If you have any questions about the welfare of our horses that was not answered here do not hesitate to ask!