3G’s recovering from car accident

       It's been a slightly off-year for 3G's Front Range Carriage Service in Old Colorado City, so owner Mike Solano was looking forward to the Christmas season to make up for it. Veteran 3G’s gelding Sammy (right) gathers a first impression of interim carriage horse Beauty Dec. 12.
Westside Pioneer photo
       That could still happen, but it won't be easy. Both he and his horse, Sammy, were hurt when a 1985 Buick Riviera struck the 3G's carriage at Colorado Avenue and Colbrunn Court in the late afternnon of Dec. 2. Adding insult to injury, Solano lost fares from the 5 paying customers who were on board at the time as well as 14 waiting people who would have ridden after that.
       He claims the motorist, who hit the oncoming carriage when making a left turn from Colorado onto Colbrunn, was careless and initially left incorrect information. He said he plans to file a complaint with the Colorado Springs Police Department - necessary because the accident occurred during a weather-related “cold-reporting” period - after which the case could go to court, where Solano believes he could produce close to 20 witnesses.
       But the immediate problem for Solano is keeping 3G's going during the holidays. He is the main driver, Sammy is his main horse and the carriage is his business on wheels. Fortunately, the carriage, though with a bent left shaft, is still driveable, and despite left side and lower back problems that he says resulted from the “jolt” of the accident, Solano has continued to drive. But he has sidelined Sammy while veterinarians decide how much damage the car's impact did to the horse's left rear leg.
       The initial ripple effect from Sammy's absence was that Rusty, the lesser-used of the 3G's horses, had to go into the traces on a daily basis. Not used to that much work, the animal has been wearing out. “You should have seen him in the yard today,” Solano said Dec. 11. “He was lying down, exhausted.”
       The situation has forced Solano to look around for an interim replacement. He's hopeful he's found that in Beauty, a 4-year-old combination Belgian and quarterhorse mare from Newell Stagecoach Hitch in Fountain. Owner Jim Newell, a friend of Solano's who trailered Beauty to the 3G's stable Dec. 12, says he can rent her temporarily because she is an extra horse for his stagecoach-ride business.
       Solano planned to try Beauty out this week, possibly having her pull the carriage for customers as early as Friday, Dec. 15. No matter what happens, he asked to say thank you in the Pioneer for the “outpouring of public support” that has come his way since a local TV station aired the news of the accident.
       3G's, which Solano started five years ago, is a well-known sight in Old Colorado City, with its drivers and attendants in black cloaks and hats and the old-fashioned one-horse carriage starting from its city-designated “parking spot” on Colorado Avenue in front of Bancroft Park. The carriage has appeared in local parades and special events, and Old Colorado City merchants' advertising features a photo that prominently displays Solano driving it.
       Normally, the service is provided Fridays through Mondays, but to meet the holiday demand 3G's offers rides for 10 straight days before Christmas.
       That's still the plan, despite the setback. “We'll try to get through it,” Solano said, “but it's rough.”

Westside Pioneer article