Horses are a gift to us, and we have a major responsibility to give an equally big gift back to them

Tally-Ho’s Working Horses

  • Tally-Ho’s herd of draft horses live about 25 minutes outside of Victoria, on a private acreage where they have room to gallop and play with their herd-mates.
  • Tally-Ho operates two shifts of horses each day. The horses work limited hours with set days off each week.
  • Horses are brought into town for their shift and then are immediately returned to the farm and their herd.
  • The horses are provided food and water when working to ensure their energy levels are sustained and their health is maintained. We have access to clean city water; however do not leave water buckets out for the horses to freely drink from as the water could become contaminated by some unknown source (waste, bird droppings, etc).
  • The air quality in Victoria has been scientifically tested and rated as “good and far below any applicable guidelines” – it poses no health risks to humans or animals. We are lucky to live in an area of the world that has significantly low pollution levels; and we only operate in low-traffic areas of Victoria. None of our horses have ever suffered from respiratory disease.
  • Tally-Ho uses only draft (or heavy) horses such as Clydesdales, Percherons and Belgians. These horses can pull up to four times their body weight in dead-weight, so the weight of a passenger-laden carriage on wheels is easy work for them – akin to us pulling a two year old child in a wagon.
  • Citizens of Victoria are passionate about the carriage horses: many locals visit the horses each day, know their names and have their favorites.
  • In addition, countless visitors come to Victoria annually to specifically enjoy the carriage horses. To the rest of Canada and the world, the horses are iconic symbols of Victoria.

HUMAN-HORSE CONNECTION

Horses and people are better together than they could ever be apart: we learn lessons from horses that are rarely learned anywhere else. The human-horse connection requires us to be fair in our requests: when we are fair, the horse is comfortable and confident, which makes him safe and happy in his work.

In partnership with a leading expert on horsemanship, Tally-Ho Carriage Tours has developed a unique training program for both horses and staff.

  • Our horses are chosen for their calm demeanor, confidence and trust in humans, which positions them to be successful carriage horses in Victoria, BC.
  • New horses are partnered with highly experienced carriage drivers.
  • Carriage drivers are trained to consider the natural instincts of the horse first in all communications: when we learn how to communicate with them in their world, we are rewarded with deeper, more meaningful relationships.
  • Our goal is to ensure that the rewards from the connection are equal to both horse and human.

Watch Video

HOOF CARE

Horses’ hooves are their life line: poor hoof care can be detrimental to a horse’s overall health, and in severe cases, fatal. In the wild, horses wear down their hooves naturally. Domesticated horses have their hooves trimmed and protective horseshoes mounted by professional farriers who ensure each foot is trimmed and balanced to optimize each individual horse’s joint health.

Tally-Ho Carriage Tour’s licensed farriers fit the horses with horseshoes specially formulated to provide support for walking on pavement The horses’ hoof health is checked daily.

WORKING HORSE HARNESS

The proper fit of a horse’s harness is imperative to his comfort, soundness and mental well-being. An ill-fitting harness may cause soreness or mental fatigue for the horse. An uncomfortable horse is unlikely to be obedient and if he is not obedient, he is not safe.

  • Harness is cleaned and checked for proper fit to the horses each day
  • Tally-Ho Carriage Tour’s staff are required to complete specific training to ensure they are fair, consistent and soft in their communications with their equine partners

One of the key communication tools used in carriage driving is the bit, which sits in the horse’s mouth where there are no teeth or nerves. Bits are designed to work by pressure, not pain. This video of Sarge’s eagerness to take his bit into his mouth clearly shows that he does not associate the bit with any sort of discomfort!

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WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE HORSES IF THEY WERE NOT WORKING?

If horse-drawn carriages were discontinued in Victoria, suitable homes would be needed for over 40 horses. At an annual estimated cost of almost $1 million to feed, house and care for Victoria’s carriage horses it is unreasonable to think that these horses would be easily re-homed with proper care.

Over 70 staff would be stripped of their livelihood, including many part-time university students who rely on the industry to support their education. Over the last few years the SPCA has been overrun with abused or abandoned horses due to scarcity of feed and skyrocketing health and housing costs. Draft horses in particular are susceptible to poor care as people often underestimate the costs associated with their keep. The harsh reality is that many draft horses end up at auction where they have very uncertain futures. Or, alternatively, well-meaning groups of people who would prefer to see domestic horses ‘set free’ don’t realize that the mortality rates for these horses are extremely low as they typically suffer and die due to disease, dehydration, and starvation.

Victoria’s carriage horses have a standard of living and care that is far beyond the norm; and when the time comes, they are assured of a safe, happy, healthy retirement with their herd-mates and human family who has always loved and cared for them.

HISTORICAL AND SOCIETAL IMPACTS

Historical Impact

In societies where the horse is no longer needed for labor, the cultural and historical significance of the relationship between humans and horses becomes even more important. Horse-based tourism provides a window into our heritage that is at risk of being forgotten. Sadly, some draft horse breeds such as Shires and Clydesdales are becoming endangered as traditional uses become obsolete (e.g., farming, logging, etc.).

Tally-Ho Carriage Tours has significant historical value in Victoria, providing the original transportation services dating back to 1903, and proactively benefiting our society for over 113 years.

Societal Impacts

Tally-Ho is a progressive company that continually implements advancements in the carriage industry, and is leading the world in adhering to high standards of ethics and care (Victoria’s carriage industry spends almost $1 million annually to feed, house and care for Victoria’s 40 carriage horses); and has developed operating protocols that always consider safety and the well being of the horses as the highest priority.

We make special efforts to engage with youth throughout Victoria to educate them about draft horses and inspire them to develop meaningful relationships with animals (visits to schools and daycares; showcases at the local fair; farm visits; etc.).

We are proud to be Green! The annual greenhouse gas emissions our horse-drawn carriage business emits is minimal, especially when compared to city tour buses that emit upwards of 62,000 tons of CO2 every year.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS

The tourism industry is a key economic driver in Victoria, with over 3.5 million visitors contributing $1.9 billion to the local economy and employing over 22,000 people each year.

Victoria’s horse drawn carriage businesses directly employ over 70 people each year with many of our staff are developing careers in related fields (equine studies, veterinary medicine, etc.). In addition, the industry supports hundreds of indirect jobs though the use of local suppliers and producers.

Carriage Horses without Jobs

Retirement

  • When Tally-Ho retires working horses, they remain safe and happy with their herd-mates and human family who has always loved and cared for them.
  • As a highly intelligent and social animal, we have seen our retired horses become slightly depressed when they are no longer working downtown each day. Instead, we keep these horses mentally stimulated and physically fit with light trail rides, fun days at the farm and they become key (senior) instructors in our staff development program.
  • Draft horses often live an average of 25 years. However, Tally-Ho’s horses are living well beyond the norm – often well into their mid-30s. We are fairly certain that the steady, low-strain and low-impact exercise that pulling a carriage provides is contributing to their life expectancies. They say walking is the best thing we can do for our bodies; if any of that truth can apply to the horse, than this makes sense!

Should the Horses be Set Free?

  • Across the world there are groups of people forming to protest to any number of issues. We are not immune. Tally-Ho appreciates that people care, and we encourage everyone to be passionate about something in life… but please ensure you are informed.
  • For example, recently an animal rights group that is sponsored by a small federal political party has spoken out against the use of horses in Victoria. This group does not support the use or ownership of any animal: they have fought to ban all local 4-H programs and therefore education of children through animals, amongst other things such as eating bacon (not kidding!). They have admitted to having no knowledge of horses’ social or physical care requirements. The motivations of their leaders are purely political. Unfortunately, this uninformed yet passionate group has launched an attack on the carriage industry.

What these minority groups don’t realize is that:

  • An inactive horse is a condemned horse (his intrinsic physical and mental needs will not be fulfilled);
  • Mortality rates for horses that are ‘set free’ are extremely low as they typically suffer and die due to disease, dehydration, and starvation;
  • Animal rescue groups such as the SPCA have been overrun with abused or abandoned horses over the last few years due to scarcity of feed and skyrocketing health and housing costs; and
  • Draft horses in particular are susceptible to poor care as people often underestimate the costs associated with their keep: the harsh reality is that many draft horses end up at auction where they have very uncertain futures.

What if Operations were Discontinued?

  • The BC SPCA and the City of Victoria (the industry’s regulating bodies) have stated that there are absolutely no concerns over the ethical treatment of the horses within the local industry.
  • The horses on Victoria’s streets do not show signs of stress, have proper foot care and their body conditions clearly show they are in good health.
  • We encourage anyone who would like to know more about our operation to talk to us! Caution: we love what we do, and are only too happy to tell you all about it!

If carriage operations were discontinued in Victoria:

  • Over 40 draft horses may need to be re-homed at annual costs of close to $1 million.
  • Over 70 staff would be stripped of their livelihood, including many part-time university students who rely on the industry to support their education.
  • A model of excellence in carriage operations would no longer be setting the bar high for other operators around the world.
  • Victoria would lose an important piece of its history, and society would lose a major connection with horses which is proven to significantly benefit social and life skills

We encourage anyone who would like to know more about our operation to talk to us! Caution: we love what we do, and are only too happy to tell you all about it!
If you support Victoria’s carriage industry, please let the City of Victoria know! Write or email the Mayor at mayor@victoria.ca.
Capital City Tally Ho Sightseeing Company Ltd. • 1960 White Rd. Saanichton, BC Canada V8M 1V9 • © 2018 Copyright. All Rights Reserved. Website Development in Canada by IdeaZone.ca.