Andy and Kelly are our main funeral coach horses. Andy is a spry 28 year old, Kelly is 15.
Andy was purchased from a Montana ranch in 2007. He is an older gentleman, but you would never know. He has lots of spunk and loves to tell Kelly what to do. He wont hesitate to tell her she is being too slow.
Kelly was acquired from dear friends in Louisiana. She is one of the sweetest souls you will ever come across. Do you hear of how mares can be, well, difficult? Not Kelly, she is a doll.
This picture is of Andy and Kelly transporting Deputy Garafola's body in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Andy and Kelly work approximately 75 days a year.
Rough and Tough were purchased from our Amish friends in Michigan in 2015. Our son named them after the two headed dragon in How to Train Your Dragon, Roughnut and Toughnut.
Tough is a mare, and is 14 years old. Tough is tough. She is all business and loves Rough with all her heart. You cannot separate them. If she can't see Rough, she will flip out. Humans are merely her servant and she makes her needs well known.
Rough is a 15 year old gelding. He is like Kelly, nothing but love in his heart. There is nothing rough about him. He is sweet and wouldn't hurt a fly. Wonderful around children and so kind to everyone.
This picture is of us after doing a funeral, one of our motorcycle escort friends is spraying down the horses to cool them off.
Rough and Tough work approximately 75 days a year.
Ike and Perry are our biggest team of horses. Ike is 19.3h and 2300 lbs. Perry is 19.2 and also 2300 lbs.
Ike was purchased with another horse (Jet) from the Kill pens (horses that are purchased cheap at sale barns and resold or sent to Mexico for processing) in 2016. Ike and Jet were in very poor condition. Very skinny. Jet was actually taller than Ike, 19.3h. Jet had extensive guts issues - lots of ulcers throughout his digestive tract. He also had balance issues, would constantly fall in the trailer. We could never transport him to the vet due to him falling. Always had a farm call vet come out to care for him. He constantly had colic issues. He, unfortunately passed in 2018. Broke everybody's heart.
Ike bounced back to health. Ike bonded with Perry so they started working together. Thank goodness, because team horses bond deeply. I am not sure what would have happened with Ike after Jet passed if he hadn't already bonded with Perry.
Ike is so kind. Has wonderful manners and is very aware of his size and is careful to not push or hurt anybody.
Perry is the one horse we don't own. Perry is owned by our friends in Louisiana, where Kelly came from. We have begged to buy him numerous times over the years, but they refuse. We can use him all we want though, and we are so honored they trust us with him. He is also a babe, a big snuggle bug.
Ike and Perry also work about 75 days a year.
Buck and Sam are our smallest team of horses, topping out at 16h. They are like driving a roadster compared to the big horses. They are quick and tight. These horses are so much fun to be around.
Sam and Buck were purchased from another small carriage company, like ourselves, in East Texas. They are both 15 years old and are full brothers.
These horses look so similar, it is hard for us to tell them apart sometimes. Sam has spots. He has lots of attitude, but is always in your back pocket looking for love.
Buck is a great riding horse and is so sweet. Sam pushes him around and he loves Sam so much, he doesn't care.
These horses work approximately 40 days a year.
Mark is the black horse pictured and was the first horse we purchased for the carriage company in 2003. He was 3 years old then. Mark is a clown. He will lick you like a dog, he will prank you whenever he can. Mark lays down a lot, he scares a lot of people because he loves to lay down to sleep. You can lay on top of him, we even work on his shoes while he is laying down. He doesn't care. Another thing about Mark, he is lazy. He will do as little work as possible, unless it is something that will irritate his two legged or four legged friends - then he will go to all kinds of efforts to complete his task.
Stache was purchased in 2010 from Michigan. He is the only horse we ever bought sight unseen and boy did we pay for it. He had all kinds of lameness issues. We spent thousands and thousands of dollars to fix him. We haven't kept track, because it the total amount would probably give us a heart attack. He is probably the most expensive horse in our barn. But know, he is fine now and has no lameness issues. Stache is all business. He is not a love bug, he just wants to work. Poor Stache has to put up with Mark and his shenanigans. But it works. Mark will actually walk along while Stache does all the work.
Stache and Mark work approximately 20 days a year.
Salt and Pepper were given to us in 2008. Their owners heard we love percherons, how well we take care of our horses and asked if we could take them on. Their owners fell on hard times
Salt and Pepper were extremely thin. Salt at the time was 30 years old. We didn't think he would recover, but he did. It took two years to build his weight back up. Salt and Pepper are probably the best driving horses we have. Yes, Salt is very old. But he has so much pep. We might drive them for 4 hours a year, otherwise they live on pasture.
Pepper is about 16 years old now. He loves Salt with all his heart. They are always side by side. We worry about him when Salt dies. We can't seem to get him to bond with another horses. He only loves Salt.
Pictured is Salt. Picture was taken January 8, 2019. Vets estimate him being around 39 years old.
Gus and Woodrow are our newest horses. We purchased them in early 2018. Kristy, our right hand woman pictured driving, has fallen in love with these boys.
They were purchased from an older couple south of Dallas. We had known about them for years, but we were finally talked into purchasing them. What a dream of a team. They are around 18.1h. They love to drive. They surprised us. For not being driven in at least seven years, you would never have known it. We will soon be working them into our funeral rotation.
Gus and Woodrow worked approximately 10 days in 2018.
We take the care of our animals very seriously. We have several vets we use. Dr. Hendricks, Cedar Hill Veterinary Clinic, Lone Star Veterinary Clinic (by the racetrack) and Texas A&M Veterinary Clinic. We spare no expense on our horses medical care.
Our Farrier is Merlin Allmon. He was a farrier instructor at the Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School. He has been our farrier for at least 10 years.
We constantly upgrade our pastures with better forage, fence, etc. We also consistently upgrade our 16 stall barn with better amenities for our horses. Almost all our stalls now have the Stall Comfort systems in place - http://www.stablecomfort.com/.
We also have been the first, that we are aware of, to use composite shoes in the DFW area. When we started business in 2003, we researched what shoes would best for our horses. We didn't want to use steel and borium because of how the borium scars up the streets. We started off in the funeral industry and didn't want cemeteries to complain of the damage we were doing to the cemetery lanes. So we decided to go with the Remuda tire shoes. There is a steel shoe on the hoof, but a rubber shoe bolts on to the steel shoe. This shoe give traction without damaging surfaces, and also acts like a shock absorber for the horses. A win win. They are expensive. To shoe one horse is $300, and that doesn't include the cost of shoes. that is just labor. Compare that to a standard farrier job of $100/horse including shoes.
Our carriage company is not about profits. We spend a lot more money on our horses than other companies, no doubt. Our carriage company is small, it basically pays for the care of our horses and the labor it takes from the many people who care for our horses. What profit is left over is pretty much spent on upgrading the horses facilities.
We have not sold any of our carriage horses. All the horses purchased have stayed with us until they retire or pass. All horses are buried on our property.