Commonly Asked Questions
The horses of Nottingham are members of our family. We depend on the animals as much as they depend on us. The horses are treated fairly and humanely in every way. All our drivers are animal lovers and some even own their own private horses as well.
Every day we are asked questions about our horses. The following are some of the most common.
1. Do the horses like their job?
Yes, draft horses like to have a job to do. The horses willingly come up and greet their drivers in the paddock, knowing they are about to go to work.
2. The horse’s back leg is lifted! Is he hurt?
Horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. They are able 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. They obtain 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 live in a 1+ acre paddock in the city limits with run-in stalls that they come in and out as they please. The horses are free to eat, sleep, roll around, stand or run all day long until it's time to work in the evening. In addition, each horse also spends time on our farm one hour outside Atlanta.
5. Do the horses ever get to go to the country?
Yes! All our horses spend a week or two each month at our farm one hour outside Atlanta. In addition each horses gets 4-8 weeks off every year that is spent at the farm. The horses are ridden on trails to keep in shape and not get bored during their time off.
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 5 times its weight. A carriage loaded with people may reach the horse’s weight.
8. How many years do the horses work?
A well cared for street horse averages 15-20 years of service.
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 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.
If you have any questions about the welfare of our horses that was not answered here do not hesitate to ask!