What a perfect way to enjoy the holiday lights and slights – a free horse drawn “carriage” ride! Bundle up and take your seats, then ooh and ahh at the decorations. Find out where you can clip and clop and see the decked-out shops.

Photo Courtesy of The District

By Peg Cameron Gill

The horse-drawn “carriages” are back in The District in Columbia! The” carriage” is actually a 10-seat wagon pulled by a pair of Belgian draft horses. Passengers sit in rows on benches on both sides of the wooden wagon.

The wagon travels on downtown streets for about 20 minutes while riders take in some of The District’s best and newest holiday decorations. 

The rides take place between 4 and 7 PM The drop-off and pick-up locations are in Wabash Alley by the North Village Courtyard by Fretboard Coffee and Wishflour Bakery. The next available rides are on Saturday, Nov. 19. You can see all the available ride dates here

Come early to grab your tickets before they run out!  Also come early for your chance to shop a holiday bazaar in the one-of-a-kind heated bubble tent, provided by CoMo Picnics.

You may want to grab a cup of coffee, cocoa, or a sweet treat from the nearby shops before you board. 

The horses and wagon are provided by Cedar Hollow Farms, owned by Ray and Carol Smith. The farm has been in the family for over a century, and the Smiths have always kept a team of draft horses. They’ve been organizing wagon rides for at least 30 years, but not on this large a scale.

Photo Courtesy of The District

The draft horses stand over 7 feet tall (or more than 21 hands, in horse lingo), with shiny reddish-brown coats and a white blaze.Their long tails and short cropped manes are blond. 

As draft horses – among the strongest breeds of horses – the pair regularly participate in horse-pulling competitions, pulling anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 pounds. Bill and Bob reign as the heavyweight champions at the Nebraska State Fair.

While in the same draft horse class as Budweiser’s famous Clydesdales, Belgians tend to be a bit shorter and stockier, with broad backs, strong shoulders, and kind, gentle dispositions. Belgians average 16.2 to 18 hands, while Clydesdales tend to be around 18 hands and appear a little less muscular and stocky. 

The most notable difference between the two breeds is that Clydesdales have special leg hairs called “feathers” and “spats” that form a shielding fringe that wicks water away from their legs and feet.  

To read about another Missouri town offering horse drawn carriage rides, click here.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.