Horses have been used as a means of transportation since the beginning of time. As the world started moving toward the advancement the more improved forms of horse carriage (four Wheeled wagons) took the roads by storm. The idea of the four-wheeled horse-drawn wagon came into existence in the 17th century when the two-wheeled carts were insufficient to meet the requirements.
Have you ever wondered why horse wagons still exist? When we have several other options. What makes them popular? And more importantly
How fast can a horse drawn wagon go?
How fast can a horse-drawn wagon go? 10 to 15 miles per hour depending on terrain, weather, and other factors. Well, no matter how many wagon drivers you ask the accuracy of the answer will still be clouded as it greatly depends on the health and fitness of the horses.
But on average
If the horse is trotting- 15 miles per hour.
If the horse is Galloping- 17 to 18 miles per hour.
If the horse is walking- 12 to 13 miles per hour.
(Note: This general idea is based on average estimates, it may or may not match with other horse owners.)
Wagons and carriages still exist because they are the cheapest means of transportation and underdeveloped countries find it an economical way to keep the goods moving in the country.
How many miles can horses go dragging the wagon?
Wagons are no doubt heavy and if it is loaded with goods it is cruel to overlook the horse’s capacity to carry the vehicle. On average horses can run 30 miles a day, carrying a rider on their back but only 10 to 20 miles a day if the horses have to draw a wagon with themselves.
On or two horses? What’s better?
Two horses seem like a sounding choice. Am I right? But the truth is it can be drawn by one horse too. If the road is broken or the weight needs to be carried up or down the mountain two or a team of horses is the recommended option.
They may carry up to 8000 pounds but it’s cruel.
You may think how is it cruel if they are made to carry heavyweights. Well, it’s cruel because pulling weight is itself a hard nut to crack but if the poor animal is being beaten at the same time to run faster how is this an ideal condition?
How often can a horse carry a wagon?
If this has been in practice for years carrying a wagon is not a problem for horses but if the pet horse is made to draw a wagon it’s better to go slow. Taking a gap of a day to two will ease up their burden. So, if the horse is trained it can carry a wagon full of good on daily basis but if it is not taking a gap of at least a day is recommended. When the horse gets used to it you can slowly take their holidays away.(Resource)
How much weight a wagon itself can carry?
Wagons are supposed to carry goods like food supplies, cooking equipment, and other such things from places to places and they have the capacity to carry around 2500 pounds. But the recommended weight that doesn’t burden the horse and the wagon is 1600 pounds.
Health risks attached to carrying a heavy wagon
Wagons are not easy equipment to draw but if it is loaded with goods it becomes riskier to the carrier’s health. Running on a hard surface carrying plenty of weight makes the horse breathe in the exhaust fumes, and it becomes a reason for not one but several respiratory problems. Leg stiffness is another problem a horse can suffer because they have been running continuously on less steep roads.
Be aware! Horses can die pulling wagons
Yes, Horses can die and it’s even common in the countries that still use horse-driven wagons to carry weight. Continuous running, carrying plenty of weight may cause them to die a sudden death and the reason for death is usually attached to their fragile heart. So be aware! If one has to do it anyway do it the right way.
Carriage or wagons? What’s safer?
Carriage is safer to pull as they are less heavy as compared to the wagons. If the carriage is enough to fulfill your requirements it better not to even think of making your horse pull a wagon. But wagons can fall into the safe zone too if the burden is kept within the limits.
Factors that affect the speed of horse-drawn wagon
These factors are known to affect the speed of horse-drawn wagons:
The speed of the horse-drawn wagon greatly depends on the fitness of the horse. The horses that have been active in athletic activities are more likely to carry wagon faster than the horses that have only lived in the backyard.
Not all horses have the stamina to run as fast as thoroughbred horses can but thoroughbred horses are way too expensive to draw a wagon. These breeds are seen spicing up the speed of the horse-drawn wagons:
- Arabian horse
- Akhal- Teke
- American Quarter Horse
All these breeds are known for their agility and stamina and have a solid history of improving the speed of horse-drawn wagons.
The roads that are smothered to walk are definitely going to speed up the process for the driver and the horse. Even the slowest breeds start picking up the speed.
Weather greatly affects the energy to run as it’s hard to run when the summer is at its peak. Like humans the horses get dehydrated and they find it nearly impossible to step farther.
The most important and realistic factor that affects the speed of the horse is the weight. Horses can only carry 20% of their total body weight with ease as the weight goes above this percentage the speed starts going down.
How many horses does it take to pull a wagon?
It depends on the location or steepness of the hill. Four draft horses are enough for long distances. A draft horse can carry 1/10 of their body for 8 hours. A wagon will draft at 300 to 400 pounds on flat ground.
How far can a horse drawn wagon go in one day?
It can travel between 10 to 30 miles depending on terrain, ground, weather conditions and other factors. On the base of average speed, horses can walk 3 to 4 miles per hour. An empty wagon or carriage can increase speed to 10 miles per hour.
The speed of a horse-drawn wagon is up to 15 miles an hour, on average, but it can go up or even down as it greatly depends on other factors too i.e breed of the horse, weight, and the quality of roads, etc. But remember it is cruel to make a poor animal carry so much weight when other advanced options are available.
Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers.
I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.