How Fast & Far Can a Horse-Drawn Carriage Travel?

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Allison Price

Horses have been transport for thousands of years. Transport by horse-drawn carriages has been possible for thousands of years.

Although cars are now the primary source of transportation, horses-drawn wagons still serve some purposes. Horse-drawn carriages are also popular for competition and leisure.

What is the Speed of a Horse-Drawn Carriage?

A horse-drawn carriage can travel between 8-10 MPH at a trot. A horse-drawn carriage can travel about 2 to 4 MPH at a walk. The speed of a carriage is dependent on weather conditions, terrain, horses, and other tractors.

Horses don’t canter or gallop with carriages. Although you may see horses riding with wagons in movies, this is not a common occurrence in real life. It can be dangerous for horses to canter or gallope with wagons or carriages.

Rodeos may host chuckwagon racing in certain cases. A chuckwagon race is a team of two to four horses racing on a track for half a mile. The sport is controversial because it can be dangerous and has resulted in the deaths of many horses.

A horse-drawn carriage traveling at the canter is approximately 10-15 MPH. The speed at the gallop is between 18 and 25 MPH.

How far can a horse-drawn wagon travel in a day?

A horse-drawn carriage with a driver can travel on average between 10-30 miles per day. Distance will vary depending on terrain, weather conditions, and the weight of the carriage.

To avoid overheating in hot weather, horses should have a reduced workload. Horses should not be required to do heavy work if the temperature and humidity are higher than 150-160 degrees. They should travel no more than ten miles per day. Horses should not be ridden if the temperature and humidity exceed 160 degrees.

It will be harder for horses to pull a wagon if they are traveling on uneven, hilly terrain. They will travel up to 30 miles on flat terrain, but they won’t be capable of traveling that far over rough terrain.

Another factor that can affect horse’s ability to travel a long distance in a single day is weight. Horses can pull thousands of pounds across short distances but they will not be able to carry that much weight over long distances. Horses can pull a few hundred to a few thousand pounds depending on their size. But, horses will struggle to pull more than this over longer distances.

What Weight Can Horses Pull?

Horses can pull 1.5 times their body weight when traveling long distances with a carriage. They can pull three times their body weight when traveling shorter distances.

A 1,000-pound horse can pull 1,500 lbs over long distances on average. A horse of 1,000 pounds can pull up to 3,000 lbs over shorter distances.

Horses can pull together more than they can apart. Two horses can pull three times as much weight together than they can by themselves. A draft horse capable of pulling 6,000 pounds would be able pull 18,000 pounds when partnered with another horse.

Draft horses can pull up to 15 times their bodyweight in pulling competitions. Although they would not be able keep up this pace over long distances it is impressive.

A pair of Shire horses pulled a record 100,000 pounds in 1924. A single Shire pulled 58,000 pounds that year. This is some incredible horsepower!

In 2012, a team consisting of Belgian draft horses pulled a 13,400-pound deadweight at the Calgary Stampede’s heavy horse pull. Another pair of Belgian draft horses pulled a remarkable 17,000 pounds at the National Western Stock Show in 2014.

What breeds of horses are used for carriage driving?

For carriage driving, draft horses are a popular choice. They can pull heavy loads due to their sturdy build. They are also stable horses due to their calm nature. Driving is easy with draft breeds like Percherons, Clydesdales, Shires, Belgians and Percherons.

There are also many horse and pony breeds which excel at driving. These breeds include the Friesian Morgan, Hackney and Dutch Harness Horse, Gypsy Vanner as well as the Welsh, Haflinger and Saddlebred. With the right training, almost any breed can drive well.

Types of Wagons, Carts, and Carriages

There are many horse-drawn wagons, carriages, and carts. They can have either two or four wheels. These include the Barouche, Hackney Coach and Stagecoach.


A Barouche is an open four-wheeled carriage with four wheels that can be pulled by one or more horses. The Barouche is a luxurious, heavy carriage that can hold at least four people. It often has a collapsible half hood. This style is very common in carriage rides.

Hackney Coach

Hackney coaches were one of the first horse-drawn carriages people used to keep as a rental. These four-wheeled enclosed carriages can seat four to six people and have a simple design. These carriages often come with a hitch for two or more horses.


The most well-known stagecoaches can be seen in old western movies and television shows. These large, heavy carriages were originally designed for public transport. They have four wheels. These carriages often have a two-, four-, or six-horse hitch.


Meadowbrook carts are two-wheeled open carriages with large wheels. Two seats are available, one of which folds back for rear access and can be pulled by one horse. They are used today for pleasure driving and carriage driving competitions.

Pleasure Cart

Two-wheeled pleasure carts are pulled by one horse. They are simple in design and can hold two people. These are popular for horse shows.

Fine Harness Buggy

A fine harness buggy, a vehicle with four wheels that can be ridden by one person, is called a four-wheeled vehicle. They are simple but elegant in design. These are especially used for horse shows.


Landau is a four-wheeled carriage with a fully-coverage roof. These carriages are luxurious and have been a favorite choice of royalty for a long time. These seats can seat four to six people, and they come with a two- or four-horse hitch.

Prairie Schooner

Prairie Schooners, also known as covered wagons or covered wagons, were the main mode of transport for pioneers while they traveled across the American West. They are covered with a cotton canvas and have four wheels. These covered wagons can hold many people and large quantities of supplies.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!