Horse and buggy service comes to Hodgenville

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By Linda Ireland

Friday afternoon, Tom Smith and his horse Carol Ann dropped by City Hall to purchase a business license. The duo will offer carriage rides in downtown Hodgenville this fall.

Smith, who lives in Lyons Station with his wife Phyllis, has been offering the horse and buggy service for weddings, parties and similar events for some time. He plans to bring Carol Ann and a white vis-à-vis (face-to-face) carriage – also called a sweetheart carriage – to the square during Lincoln Days, Christmas on the Square and the monthly classic car cruise-ins.

“I won’t be here 10-to-12 hours a day,” said Smith, “just when activities are going on.”

The 62-year-old Smith, a former truck driver, said he wanted a “small business” after he retired. His love of horses and the buggy service was a natural fit.

Smith took Carol Ann for a short drive around town to get her accustomed to the streets and let her trot off some excess energy. The clop-clopping of her hooves drew plenty of attention and several motorists seemed surprised to be sharing the Lincoln Squircle with a buggy.

Within a short distance, a potential customer stopped Smith, asking if he could appear at a wedding the following day.

Carol Ann, a 12-year-old Percheron, took the street corners easily and stopped promptly on command. Vehicles did not seem to faze her. She slowed a bit as she pulled the heavy carriage up the steep hill in front of city hall.

 “She did a great job for her first trip through town,” Smith said.

Mayor Terry Cruse said he checked on requirements for the buggy service after speaking with Smith a couple of weeks ago.

The carriage has tires “that won’t hurt streets,” and battery-powered lights; Carol Ann is equipped with a horse diaper and special horseshoes that won’t “slip and slide.” The business is fully insured.

The diaper does work, by the way.

Cruse said the buggy rides “sound like a pretty good deal.”

“I think he will do good business with special events,” he said.

For more information about Smith’s “Have Buggy, Will Travel” service, call 502-549-9183 or 502-349-5143.