Horse-and-carriage rides have been a popular way to go sightseeing for more than a century. Even today, visitors jump aboard the quaint carriages lined up on Front Street and get a tour of the city and its environs. But as Bermuda’s fast-forward development continues, the clip-clop of meandering buggies could become a thing of the past. Carriage drivers have received a slew of criticism in recent years from motorists, who claim carriages hold up traffic and are accidents waiting to happen, and veterinarians and animal-rights activists, who say horses working in the city suffer amid the traffic, stifling heat, pollution, and noisy construction.
There have been several accidents involving horses and vehicles during the past decade, including one in which the animal died. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has pushed for better monitoring of commercial stables and a rethink of horse-and-carriage service, suggesting it could be restricted to cooler evening hours. The SPCA also wants to see a shade put up for horses working in the Town of St. George (Hamilton’s horses got one a few years ago).
Commercial stables are inspected by the government annually, and legislation sets standards for the upkeep and operation of stables and facilities within the carriage industry.
A horse and carriage can be hired on Front Street for tours around Pembroke Parish , though the industry could be in for changes. If you do hire a carriage, make sure you get a scenic route, and one that’s comfortable for the horse, too.
Ask the driver not to be taken around the back of BELCo, the island’s only power plant. Carriage drivers putting their horses and passengers through this high-decibel ordeal of barbed-wire fences and deafening turbines is nonsensical; the prettier, quieter route past BELCo’s facade on Serpentine Road, leading back to Par-la-Ville and Front Street, is far preferable.
Even better is a meander through the residential lanes of Fairylands and Pitts Bay Road.