Anyway, horses pull it
Equine transportation returns to Old Town
Actually, it's a surrey, says Walter Hampel, manager of the Academy Riding Stables, which owns it... although really, technically, it's a “faithful reproduction of a mud wagon from the 1870s to the 1890s,” elaborated driver Jim Mahan of Academy Riding Stables.
In any case, it has a fringe on top, can seat up to a dozen people, and is open to riders Wednesday through Sunday afternoons starting from the 24th Street side of Bancroft Park.
For $12.50 a person, Mahan, “shotgun” rider Pete James and horses Ben and Dan provide a roughly half-hour “Heritage Tour” of Old Colorado City, complete with historic details about what they're passing as they clip-clop along between Bancroft and 29th Street. The cost per child is $9, and those under 8 can ride for free with a paid adult.
“It's not just a carriage ride,” Mahan said. “We give people a taste of what the buildings were.”
Scheduled departure times are on the hour from noon through 5 p.m.
Academy started offering the rides May 27, Hampel said.
From about 2001 to 2008, Mike Solano's one-horse 3G's carriage had provided a similar service. When 3G's closed after May '08, “this opened up for us,” Hampel said.
Academy has owned the mud wagon/surrey/carriage for 20 years. Mahan said it is typically used for special occasions such as anniversaries, wedding parties and reunions. One popular route in the past has been from the stables up to Tubby's Turnaround in Manitou Springs.
Mahan and James said they clean up after their steeds as they ride around. A “muck bucket” is on the back of the wagon. When such situations arise, “we stop as fast as we can” to address them, James said.
Other Academy-owned wheeled units that might be seen around town are a turn-of-the-20th-century buggy, a 22-seat hay wagon and an 1874 Concord coach (currently being restored), Mahan said.
Academy has offered guided horseback rides, chiefly through the Garden of the Gods, from 4 El Paso Blvd. since 1937.
Westside Pioneer article