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FAQ

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Have a question?  We have answers!


bullet How soon should I book a carriage for my event?
bullet How many people does the vis--vis carriage and the wagonette seat?
bullet How much time should I plan for the carriage ride?
bullet I only need the wedding carriage for a 15 minute ride.  Is the cost any less?
bullet What kind of horses are used?
bullet Billy, Jed, and Annie are so big.  Do they eat a lot?
bullet Valley Center Wedding How much do the horses weigh?
bullet Is pulling a carriage hard work for the horse?
bullet How long can the horses work?
bullet How do the horses get into town?
bullet Where are the carriages stored?
bullet Where do the horses live?
bullet How long do these horses live?
bullet How far away will you travel to an event?
bullet Do I pay extra for travel time?
bullet Do I get to choose the horse?
bullet What kind of shoes do they wear?  How often are they shod and what's the cost?
bullet Do the horses bite?
bullet Can I pet the horses?
bullet Can we feed the horses a carrot?
bullet What does vis--vis mean?
bullet What color are the carriages?
bullet Where can I view the carriages and horses in person?
bullet What if the weather is cold, rainy, or too hot?
bullet What if the horses make a mess?

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How soon should I book a carriage for my event?   Advance planning is important since the calendar fills fast during certain parts of the year.  We recommend you book at least 4 months in advance for weddings (we only need 1 week advance notice if the calendar is open).  Less advance planning is usually needed for other rides.  This is especially important around any holiday and the most popular wedding months (June and October).  Please call (619) 322-0586 or e-mail us to book your reservation. 
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How many people does the vis--vis carriage and the wagonette seat?   Our vis--vis carriage is built to seat six adults including the driver.  We recommend only 4 adult passengers for weddings and other formal events since those pretty wedding dresses take up extra space.  Our wagonette seats 4 adults or 6 to 8 children making it perfect for the wedding party or guests and is a lot of fun for a child's birthday party or "hay ride." 
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How much time should I plan for the carriage ride?  Draft horses are known for their ability to pull heavy weights, not speed.  The average for speed for our horses is about 5 miles per hour so the carriage ride will be at a nice leisurely pace.  The horse can speed up if needed but only for short distances.  Please take this into consideration when planning your event.  We'd hate for you to be late to your wedding reception.  We can help you find the best route and estimate the time needed for the ride for you!
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I only need the wedding carriage for a 15 minute ride.  Is the cost any less?  We're sorry, but no.  We have a basic minimum price for a wedding.  This covers the cost of transporting the horses and carriages to the event, preparing the horses, decorating the carriages, and up to 2 hours of service.  Some clients offer rides to their guests after the bride and groom's ride during the remaining time.  
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What kind of horses are used?  We use Percheron and Belgian Draft Horses.  Billy is black (although he often looks brown due to the sun bleaching his hair) and Annie is white.  Jed is our Belgian.  Visit the Photo Album and the Vehicles page to see pictures of the horses and the carriages!
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Billy, Jed, and Annie are so big.  Do they eat a lot?  The horses eat just a bit more than most regular sized horses.  They have a slow metabolism so they don't burn their food as fast.
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How much do the horses weigh?  How tall are they?  Annie is the smallest of our horses weighing in at approximately 1,700 lbs.  She's about 17 hands high.  Billy is taller, a full 18 hands high and weighs close to 2,000 lbs.  Jed wins the height and weight contest standing well over 18 hands high and over 2,000 lbs (and still growing).  What is "hands high" you ask?  A hand is 4 inches.  
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Is pulling a carriage hard work for the horse?   It is a pretty easy task for these big guys to give you a memorable carriage ride.  Percherons were bred to work pulling everything from logs to plows to carriages.  They were also used for riding by heavily armored men into battle.  Percherons can pull things without wheels that are about 2 1/2 times their weight.  They can pull even heavier things with wheels.  Our vis--vis carriage only weighs about 850 pounds and the wagonette weighs about 600 pounds.  The carriages are easily pulled, in fact we can pull them when they are empty.  The carriages have rubber rimmed tires, and bearings on the axles.  We do monitor the hills we pull.  We will never ask our horses to pull very steep hills.
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How long can the horses work?  The horses can work 5 or 6 hours if they are given breaks.  We make sure to give our horses a 15 minute break every hour so they can get a drink and maybe a quick snack.  
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How do the horses get into town? Our horses are hauled in an over-sized 2 horse slant trailer.
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Where are the carriages stored?  Our carriages are stored in our garage in Ramona CA.  This keeps them clean and dry so they look their best for your event.  
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Where do the horses live? The horses live with us in  Ramona, CA.  The horses have their own 24' x 24' stall.  Across the street is a huge equestrian center with a 1/2 mile track, several arenas, and lots of other horses.  We live right on the edge of the Cleveland National Forest with hundreds of miles of trails that Billy, Jed, and Annie love to explore.  
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How long do these horses live? The horses usually live between 25 and 30 years.  This is much longer than they would live if they were in the wild.
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How far away will you travel to an event? A maximum travel distance is 150 miles.  Beyond that is too much for the horses since they will be asked to work when they arrive.  There will be an extra charge for long distance jobs.  
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Do I pay extra for travel time? Not usually.  Events further than 40 miles of our home in Ramona may result in an additional travel fee.  Please make sure to discuss this with us when you schedule your event.
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Do I get to choose the horse? Yes but there is a possibility we will have to make a substitution the day of the event due to injury, illness, etc.  The specifics of your event is also a consideration when making the final selection of the horse.  We will do or very best to provide the horse of you choice.
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What kind of shoes do they wear?  How often are they shod and what's the cost?  The shoes are made of steel and have borium grips welded to the bottom to ensure the horses do not slip on slick pavement.  They get new shoes about once a year and have their hoofs trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks.  It costs about $110 per horse when the farrier comes to call.  
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Do the horses bite?   No!  They are perfectly safe.  With that said, they are animals and like any other animal, bites are possible.  Most horse bites are accidental when someone is not familiar with the proper way to feed a carrot or some other treat.  We would prefer you to not feed the horses or pet their faces just to be safe.  
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Can I pet the horses?   Yes, both horses love people.  Please pet the horses on their backs or shoulders.  This will ensure you don't get bumped by their big heads if they decide to move around.  While you are petting, watch your feet since the horses have such large hoofs.  If your not careful, they may accidentally step on your toes!
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Can we feed the horses a carrot?   Unfortunately no.  The horses love carrots and other goodies but they have big teeth and might mistakenly bite a small finger (the horses do not bite, this would be an accident but we want to be sure you are not hurt).  Additionally, the more horses are fed by hand, the more the will think they are going to get a treat when someone puts their hand near their face.  This could also lead to an accidental bite.  
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What does vis--vis mean?   It is French for face to face.  While riding in our white vis--vis wedding carriage, the passengers face each other making conversion easy.
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What color are the carriages?  Our vis--vis carriage is sparkling white with beautiful black velvet interior.  Our wagonette is black with blonde oak and black seats.  Visit the Photo Album and the Vehicles page to see pictures of the carriages and the horses!
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Where can I view the carriages and horses in person?   We'd be happy to let you visit Billy, Jed, and Annie. You can make an appointment by calling (619) 322-0586 or e-mail us
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What if the weather is cold, rainy, or too hot?   No problem!  Our vis--vis carriage is convertible.  The top comes up to cover you in case of rain or too much sun.  If it's cold, we provide warm, soft blankets.
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What if the horses make a mess?   This is not problem!  Our carriages have a "diaper" that catches the manure so you don't have to worry about the road or wedding area getting messy.
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We hope we've answered most of your questions about our gentle giants and the Always & Forever Carriage Company.  If you need more information just give us a call.