Story: Horses

Horse-drawn carriages

These six stylish, horse-drawn vehicles are examples of the wide range available in the late 1800s and early 1900s for private use.

Gigs were probably the most popular light, two-wheeled vehicles drawn by one horse in New Zealand at the end of the 19th century. There were many varieties of different sizes.

Dog carts had two wheels and were drawn by one horse. They had forward seating for two people and rear-facing seating for another two. The name comes from the space beneath the seat that housed a box for carrying a dog or luggage.

Phaetons were low-slung four-wheeled carriages, with smaller front wheels. There were many variations in design and they could be drawn by one or two horses. They usually carried two passengers, including the driver. This model includes a rear facing seat, but any passenger sitting in it would have the reins resting on a prop behind their shoulder. The name comes from Greek mythology: Phaeton was son of Helios the sun god who, when driving the chariot of the sun, allowed it to get too close to earth and almost set it on fire.

Buggies had four wheels, and generally the front wheels were slightly smaller than the rear wheels. They were drawn by one or two horses, had forward seating for two, and a collapsible hood that folded forward to shelter the passengers. The term ‘buggy’ was used to describe four-wheelers of particularly light construction.

Wagons were similar to uncovered buggies, but were longer, heavier, and designed to carry more passengers. Its design, with its inclusion of a second, forward-facing seat, is a forerunner to that used in modern transport.

Landaus were one of the most popular four-wheeled carriages. They were drawn by two horses and had a front seat for the driver. They were of German origin. Landaus had forward and rear folding heads and drop windows, so they could be used either as an open carriage, or completely enclosed.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Source: Allan Horsnell, Coach builders book of designs. Kent Town: Axiom, 1995

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Emma Meyer, 'Horses - Transport', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 June 2024)

Story by Emma Meyer, published 24 Nov 2008