While doing research for this blog, I came across a product and organization that I was not aware of. Horse carriages that are wheelchair accessible. I first saw one that was for sale and wondered if there were any more. Which is when I then learned about the United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc (USDFD). A non-profit that helps and promotes people with disabilities to experience horse carriage driving.
The wheelchair accessible carriage I saw for sale was one that had a ramp like the ones pictured above. Where the ramp slides out from the rear. I understand that because of the height of the carriage, a ramp is going to be pretty steep. However I do feel pretty uneasy that there is no edge protection to prevent wheels from falling off the side. This would be easy to add and would not interfere with the sliding storage. But given the logistics, this option could work for some.
Some of the better and I feel safer accessible carriages I saw were custom made. Such as the one above that has a seat controlled with hydraulics. This one works similar to some of the motorized seats found in accessible vans. The user transfers to the seat and the seat then moves into the driver’s position.
Platform Lift Option
Another idea is to have a platform lift get the user into place. This particular model comes with the optional lift shown. Though I can’t quite tell if the lift is stationary or attached to the carriage itself. The lift does have a small guard on one side and edge protection on the other. Not all the safety features of a standard platform lift so precaution and use on a level surface is strongly recommended.
If you don’t plan on taking your carriage to many different places, then building an accessible platform to transfer onto the carriage might be another option. Otherwise these accessible carriages are definitely worth taking a look at. The experience of driving a horse carriage seems like a fun and enjoyable one. For a lot more information on wheelchair accessible carriages and driving, visit the USDFD at their website www.USDFD.org.