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Beach Bunny
11-08-2008, 04:20 AM
Back in the early 1800's (and earlier) when people still traveled about England (and Europe and other places) by carriage, if they were traveling a long distance, then they would stop and change the horses for the carriage before continuing on their way. How did that work? Did they start off with their own horses, then trade them at a posting inn? How did they get their horses back? Were there horses designated for this changing business? Did they start off with a horse procured from a posting inn and then proceed on their journey?

Fenika
11-08-2008, 04:36 AM
I don't know any specific answers, but if you've read Black Beauty then you'd be very wary to trust someone with your horse ;)

I'm betting you only went as far as the horses could manage daily over time. There's been some riding cross country threads about this if you want to understand a little more.

Otherwise, I'll let someone who actually knows step in :)

Beach Bunny
11-08-2008, 04:43 AM
Thanks. It was common practice back then. At least in England it was. There's the passage in Pride and Prejudice where Lady Catherine asks Elizabeth where they will change horses. I'm wondering how that process actually worked.

Chumplet
11-08-2008, 05:15 AM
I don't know for sure, but I think the travelers employed something similar to stagecoaches in North America. The horses were owned by the company that did the transportation, and they changed them at designated intervals.

That's the way I would have done it if I was in charge, anyway.

FennelGiraffe
11-08-2008, 06:16 AM
By the 1800s, travel in England was a well-established industry. The major roads had strategically-located inns with well-known reputations.

The details have a lot to do with how wealthy the travelers were--how many horses they owned and how many grooms they employed to move horses around--and how much of a hurry they were in. Middle-class travelers bought tickets on a public coach, and the poor mostly didn't travel at all.

I believe the extremely wealthy sometimes boarded their own horses along their most frequently traveled routes, such as between their country estate and London.

Another method was to send horses ahead. Horses being led wouldn't tire as much en route, so they would need to leave only a day or so ahead of the travelers.

Or they could use hired horses. I believe it was the practice for a postilion to be hired along with the horses, so he would be responsible for returning the horses after the next change.

I think "traveling by easy stages" meant using the same horses all the way, going no farther each day than the horses could manage.

I don't know specific dates, but the earlier it was, the more hazardous travel was, and the less travelers could rely on the inns to be honest. Much before the 1800s things would have worked differently.

Caution: This is all very fourth-hand information. If someone with better sources comes along, please disregard everything I said.

Ariella
11-08-2008, 08:41 AM
If you plug the word "horses" into the search function for this Google book, quite a bit of information comes up.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=PK4DJhetKyIC

Chapter 5 looks like it would be perfect for answering your question and it's the only part of the book that's not available on the internet. *Sigh.* Isn't that always the way?

Beach Bunny
11-08-2008, 11:56 AM
Fennelgiraffe, thanks. How that process worked has now clicked into place. :)


If you plug the word "horses" into the search function for this Google book, quite a bit of information comes up.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=PK4DJhetKyIC

Chapter 5 looks like it would be perfect for answering your question and it's the only part of the book that's not available on the internet. *Sigh.* Isn't that always the way?
Ooh, but it looks like the whole book would be very interesting and informative to read. :e2brows: I can do an interlibrary loan. Thanks for looking that up. :)

Smiling Ted
11-08-2008, 08:42 PM
They also used a horse-change system in the Roman Empire.
So, whatever the systems were, they've been around a long time.

Kathie Freeman
11-08-2008, 09:04 PM
Riding in a coach in those days was tiring for humans as well as for horses, so normally a private coach wouldn't go farther in a day than a single set of horses could manage. The exception would be if the business was extremely urgent, then they would send extra teams ahead.

pdr
11-09-2008, 12:33 PM
by 1800 a very well organised system of coach travel.

If you set off in your own coach/carriage you would change your horses at the first posting inn. Your own horses would rest and return with your groom to your home while you travelled on, stopping to change horses regularly.

Each change of horses either returned to its inn pulling another carriage or, if the inns weren't sharing horses like that, then a groom/postillion/stable boy took 'em back.

The very wealthy often sent horses ahead. Some indeed did stable horses on their most frequently used roads, e.g. a weekly trip to London from Brighton.

Travelling in easy stages certainly meant taking your own horses and only going as far each day as they could comfortably go.

If you think of your Greyhound buses travelling the routes and stopping to change drivers and even buses it was the same system. If you wished to travel off the main routes then it became carrier's cart or horseback.

waylander
11-09-2008, 01:45 PM
Exactly so.
Read some Georgette Heyer, her historicals are fairly accurate on life in this period

Beach Bunny
11-10-2008, 10:44 AM
Exactly so.
Read some Georgette Heyer, her historicals are fairly accurate on life in this period
I. can't. I tried to. She (properly) uses the word ejaculated as a synonym for exclaimed and I just could not keep a straight face. :rolleyes: But, thank you for the suggestion. :)

Actually, I've read various and sundry novels set in the Regency era, but none have ever said how this changing of horses business actually worked. :Shrug:

Deccydiva
11-10-2008, 04:49 PM
From some knowledge of my own breed of dog, the Dalmatian, I feel I can add a little to this. Dalmatians were used in England as carriage dogs, they ran alongside the carriages protecting the occupants from Highwaymen and would run on ahead to make sure the way was clear. (In the States, they ran with horse drawn fire trucks for pretty much the same reason, to clear the way ahead)
The Dalmatian was chosen as it can trot at "horse speed" - a working trot more or less - for thirty miles at a time, which is when there was a carriage stop and the horses (and dogs) were changed. The Dalmatians would sleep up on the driver's seat under the blanket when allowed!
There are still carriage dog trials held in the US and more recently in the UK to work the dogs in the way they were originally used.
Hope this helps.
I hate it when period dramas don't show the Dalmatians with te carriages. There are enough around trained to carriages who could do it, but I digress...

Evaine
11-11-2008, 01:24 AM
The phrase "Hobson's Choice" (meaning no choice at all) comes from changing horses - Hobson was the landlord of a big coaching in, and you got the next horse in line from him, rather than choosing for yourself.

Tsu Dho Nimh
11-12-2008, 08:21 PM
Back in the early 1800's (and earlier) when people still traveled about England (and Europe and other places) by carriage, if they were traveling a long distance, then they would stop and change the horses for the carriage before continuing on their way. How did that work? Did they start off with their own horses, then trade them at a posting inn? How did they get their horses back? Were there horses designated for this changing business? Did they start off with a horse procured from a posting inn and then proceed on their journey?

Think rental cars:

There were several levels:

1- Private coach, your horses, and if you were really rich, changes of your horses kept at intervals so you could travel faster. This meant having a trusted groom overseeing the horses, and multiple teams.

2 - Private coach, with "post" horses, which were changed at intervals at inns belonging to a certain chain of horse providers. Normally you would start out with your own groom and horses and go to the closest town that had post horses. A change to rented horses meant sending your own back to their home stable and often picking up the groom who oversaw the rentals unless you were well known.

Horses would go a certain distance (my reference book is packed) and be swapped, like a relay race.

3 - "Post chaise" - rented chaise and horses, horses changing under the control of the groom who came with the chaise and horses. Again, there were several chains of suppliers, some better than others.

You might end up having to change coaches when a regional chain's territory ended.

Leva
11-14-2008, 02:52 AM
Yannow, just as someone who's ridden a fair number of horses -- including being the "test pilot" of numerous assorted horses of dubious origins and unknown training levels purchase from auction at meat prices -- this whole idea just makes me shudder.

I can deal with finding out the horse underneath me has a few screws loose, has a weird phobia, or likes to walk on two legs as often as four. At worst, you just bail off and walk home and meet the horse at his stall where you call him unpleasant names and then tell the barn owner he's not fit for the guests but if the barn owner would like, HE could certainly ride the sorry nag all he wants. ;-)

An unpleasant surprise from a horse pulling a cart? Is a different order of disaster entirely ... cart wrecks are SCARY.

Beach Bunny
11-14-2008, 04:11 AM
LOL ... now there is an interesting plot point to consider. :)

Seriously though, the early 1800's was still a horse culture. I'm looking at the time period prior to train travel where the only mode of travel was either on foot or by horse (and carriage). I would think those sorry nags would soon be sent off to the glue factory and not inflicted on the unwary driver. :)

Thanks to all who have helped me with this. :)

jclarkdawe
11-14-2008, 04:54 AM
LOL ... now there is an interesting plot point to consider. :)

Seriously though, the early 1800's was still a horse culture. I'm looking at the time period prior to train travel where the only mode of travel was either on foot or by horse (and carriage). I would think those sorry nags would soon be sent off to the glue factory and not inflicted on the unwary driver. :)

Thanks to all who have helped me with this. :)

Actually, probably not. You'll see comments in books, both novels and diary-type books, where problem horses are mentioned. I know I've seen comments about lame horses, whip-shy, bolters, and other assorted behaviors that were less than desirable.

The driver would either be an experienced horse person (driving a pair isn't too bad, four-in-hand needs some serious skills, and driving unicorn I understand is close to suicidal) or a groom. If you didn't know how to drive, you hired someone (and probably weren't too interested in horse flesh).

Also, four horses can negate some problems because they all have to work together. It's hard for one horse to take over the team.

Also, teams with any sort of quality have to be matched. I know of some carriage people who will put up with some behavior just to get a good match. Finding four horses that look good together can be a problem.

One of my favorite teams to drive (I didn't own them) was a mother and son pair of grays. Could barely tell the difference between the two of them (best way was he bit and she didn't).

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Tsu Dho Nimh
11-15-2008, 12:46 AM
Post chaises had a postilion ... rider who controlled one of the team.

It was the stable's chaise, so they had an incentive to have calm horses.