Incredibly, there are no federal or state requirements one must meet to offer most horse drawn carriage services to the public. What this in turn means is that any person who decides they are going to hang their hat out as a "professional" carriage service can simply do so regardless of a total lack of professional commercial experience in the field. What is very scary is that it happens all the time. All it takes is enough money to purchase the equipment and a whole lot of arrogance.
However..if ever there were a profession where a lack of qualified experience and proper training is critical, and one where naivety and/or arrogance is dangerously inappropriate, it is horse drawn carriage service. While strides are being made towards requiring a professional certification process until then you are on your own and probably guessing. Worse yet... you are very likely not getting the truth from those who would engage in such risky nonsense.
So...what can you do? The first thing you should do is ask for proof of liability insurance and if/when you get that call and make sure it is current and in force. Those that cut corners are usually cutting them in lots of places. So check.
Ask them how long they have been in business. To verify that answer go to your states Secretary of State page and search for the name of the business entity you are communicating with.
You can check in Arkansas here: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/corps/search
Here you will not only find out if the outfit you are considering is a legal business in good standing with your state, if you click on the entry you will also get an idea of how long they have been in business, or... if they have dissolved several times and re-opened which is not a good sign.
Lastly if you still have questions call us! We are happy to help guide you through the process regardless of what area or state you live in. We are delighted to educate you about what you should and should not expect from a carriage service, as well as learning to recognize what safe operations look like, how they are executed, what they do, and should never do.
We have operated safely since 1984 without a single claim, and want nothing more than for everyone to have a positive horse drawn carriage experience. So if you are a private individual, venue owner, or municipality we have resources available that you can easily access that we are happy to share. Just ask!
Rest assured that even under the current lack of requirements with a little homework you can insure you are getting a highly qualified, and truly experienced professional to service your horse and carriage needs.
We hope you found this information both useful and helpful.