Local News

Yesterday I Passed Seven Horse-Drawn Carriages in Highland Park

I don't know exactly how too many that is, but it is too many.

(photo by Thom Quine)

I don’t know anyone who likes horse-drawn carriage rides. At least I don’t think I do. And what I really mean is I don’t know anyone who specifically likes horse-drawn carriage rides. I’m sure I am acquainted with at least one or two or maybe even three people who, if the situation presented itself, would go for a horse-drawn carriage ride. Why, even I, under the exact right scenario — and absolutely without one dollar coming out of my pocket — might indulge in one and maybe it would even be pleasant. I don’t know. Maybe I am being too magnanimous. It is the holidays. I very well could have my guard down.

Anyway, even in Highland Park, which likes to think of itself as a modern remake of a Norman Rockwell painting, especially around this time of year, seven horse-drawn carriages is too many. It is an untenable situation.

I don’t know when exactly they started. I would assume as soon as the calendar turned to December. But they first slowly, stately, irritatingly rolled across my radar screen maybe late last week. My girlfriend does not live in Highland Park but she does live close enough — if my arm is loose, I could toss, not throw, a rock into HP — that I have occasion to drive through there a fair amount. Normally, my only concern is that my slightly rundown vehicle will cause me undue attention from Highland Park’s, let’s say, vigilant police department.

But last night, as I crossed the Katy Trail, I found myself behind not one but two horse-drawn carriages, after having passed another just before the trail’s intersection with Knox. And at the corner of Abbott, once I finally extricated myself and my 2003 [REDACTED] from behind the two slow-rolling tanks of holiday cheer, there were two more about to turn onto Knox. And maybe two minutes later, I passed another two on Armstrong, and I couldn’t tell if they were stopped or in motion. And I’m not saying there were only seven horse-drawn carriages in Highland Park last night, just that I passed that amount. I’m sure there were at least a few more.

Beyond being slow-moving, they are a bit hard to see when they cross in front of you. That is a legitimate safety concern. But, OK, let’s not forget they are also  extremely slow-moving. One is bad. Two in a row is a form of violence.

I am not always as patient as I’d like to be. I’ve made strides. I’m always getting better, and I am especially much more patient while driving. Getting stuck behind two horse-drawn carriages though is like an alcoholic locked in a liquor store. Did I swear a little bit? I may have, and I apologize.

I will point out, here at the end, that Highland Park has banned scooters, after previously banning share bikes. So maybe this can all be solved by slapping a Lime logo on the carriages.


Get a weekly recap in your inbox every Sunday of our best stories from the week plus a primer for the days ahead.

Find It

Search our directories for...









View All

View All


  • Chris Ullom

    The base of this annual operation is always in the Knox/Travis area. I’ve been fine with that for years. But now the area is too crowded with construction projects and the workers that park there to accommodate them anymore.

  • Greg Brown

    We did the ride Sunday night. After commenting on the dwindling number of Christmas lights in the city (including none in my yard) on our drive to HP, it is also obvious that HP is dwindling, too. Four years ago, it was a sight to behold. This time, somewhat of a let down. I’m sure Millennials are to blame for this somehow.

  • Bill Gross

    It is amazing what people get paid to put in print. Perhaps this explains the decline in the print media.

    • @zaccrain

      yes bill it is certainly amazing. your theory regarding the decline in the print media may have some meirit. some metrit. argh. some MERIT. sorry.

      and thank you for contributing here for free. we all — i just asked tim and everyone else and they said they agree — appreciate your sacrifice. especially now during the holiday season.

      • disqus_qx3X6S5SC7

        Ohhhh, the smartass is thick with this one. It’s a good thing you don’t live in Amish country because they would have one fit to be tied editor on their hands.

  • Kyle Reese

    Don’t worry. Their kids are gonna choke on all the byproducts of the oil money that they’re all living off of.