Meet Peter White, who along with his wife Rosanna and four children owns and operates Southurn Rose Buggy Tours in Beaufort SC. They provide horse-drawn carriage rides through the historic district of the city, employing three of their four children along with numerous drivers.
Peter, Rosanna and Natalie White
They call Natalie, their 19 month old, their "mid-life miracle baby." The horses all dote on her, and she on them. In fact I think the horses consider her to be their mascot. Daughter Catie runs the main office and son Josh works the ticket sales booth.
They operate two wagons every day of the year except when the heat index makes it unsafe for the horses. The day starts with loading two of the eight draft horses up and trailering them to a staging lot about a mile out of town where the carriages are stored.
After unloading the horses, they need to be prepared for the day. Hooves need tended, harnesses need hooked up and adjusted, bribes (treats) need to be prepared for the day, hair needs brushed out and numerous other small tasks are taken care of.
The two carriage drivers for today, Kristina and Andrea show up early to help get the show on the road. Both the horses and the harnesses come from the Amish in central Ohio - my stomping grounds as a kid.
Christina and Andrea then drive the carriages the last mile down to the river-front park where the tours themselves run from. Then it is seven hours of tours, one horse resting while the other takes another run.
I rode along for one of the tours, and it is a great way to get a feel for the town from a unique vantage point. And I took my first ever "selfie !" A "selfie" is a photo one takes of theselves - usually done with a cell phone camera. Here is my version of a "selfie."
I guess I should have waved at the shop window as we passed. Anyway, after a couple hours of loading and seven hours of tours, Peter is still several hours away from his day being over. During the course of the day the horses have to relieve themselves now and then. Each time one of the horses urinates, the drivers are required to pour a sanitizing solution on the spot and note the location in a logbook. (There are "diapers" the horses wear that work well for solid waste.) After the last tour, Peter goes back over the route to pressure wash and sanitize each location the horses have urinated.
Then it is back to the staging area to unhitch the horses, stow away the harnesses, cover the wagons, load the horses up and head back to the farm.
Then the horses need fed and final grooming details taken care of.
These horses are some amazing animals. They are Belgians and Percheron, the largest measuring six feet eight inches at the shoulder. They tower over you, yet are surprisingly nimble on hooves the size of buckets. Yet they are playful and gentle, and want to please those that work with them. The one above is rolling on its back to straighten its spine after a day's work.
I look forward to finishing up shooting the tours tomorrow - this will make for a great article. Today I was able to get shots along the route staged - figuring out the best locations, angles and lighting. And after a week of fighting off the flu, this was a great day to get back in the groove.
If you would like to contribute a few bucks to help with this journey please Click Here. To contact me, just Click Here. And whatever you do,
Have a great Sunday !!