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Update to Forum Rules: Criminal Allegations

In our continuing effort to provide an avenue for individuals to voice their opinions and experiences, we have recently reviewed and updated our forum policies. Generally, we have allowed users to share their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, trainers, etc. within the industry, and that is not changing.

When it came to overt criminal allegations, however, those discussions have in the past needed to stem from a report by a reputable news source or action by law enforcement or the legal system.

We are now expanding our policies to allow posters to share their own first-hand experiences involving overt criminal allegations, such as animal abuse or neglect, theft, etc., but only if they publicly provide their full first and last name along with the post. We still will not allow anonymous postings alleging criminal activity.

So, a user may now make a specific claim against a named individual or company, but it must be a FIRST-HAND account, and they have to IDENTIFY THEMSELVES. Users have always been legally responsible for their posts, and nothing has changed there, but we want to loosen the reins a bit and further allow the free flow of discussion and information relevant to the horse community.

We are not providing a free-for-all of anonymous rumor-mongering. As enduring advocates for the welfare of the horse, we want to provide a forum for those willing to sign their name and shine a light on issues of concern to them in the industry.

The full revised rules are posted at the top of each forum for reference.
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Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

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(Revised 5/9/18)
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Coaching Question -- English History

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  • Coaching Question -- English History

    Have you seen the Miss Marple episode "Nemesis" Pt. 2? The Joan Hickson version? In the inn at Abbey Ducis there are some whiffletrees (?) hanging on the wall. There is one very brief shot on them. I was looking for horses' names but I think the names are those of coach stops on the routes, e.g., Bath.

    Do you know?

    Non-horsey addendum: in a later scene there is a shot with Tower Bridge in the background. All clean and grey and white with its blue trim. The series was filmed in the 1980s, I think, but set in the 1950s, and in my memories of English picture books published in the '50s many of London's Victorian buildings were dark brown from all the coal pollution -- they weren't cleaned and gilded until the '70s or '80s.
    "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- George Bernard Shaw

  • #2
    I don't know the episode, but generally coaches had either the towns they served on them (for commercial coaches) or the family crest (for private coaches). The wiffletrees go with the coach or carriage and are not specific to any horse so they would be very unlikely to have a horse's name on them.


    • #3
      Getting technical in regards to coaching setups, singletree/whiffletree would only be seen on the lead bars. Wheeler horses pull the coach by the splinter bar with roller-bolts to attach traces too. Lead bars consist of the main beam with two singletrees hanging from it, used behind the Lead horses in a Four. Lead bars hang from the front end of pole, on a hook called the crab. If there is no crab hook, it is a Pair vehicle. Both public and private UK Coaches are traditionally pulled by a team of Four.

      As mentioned, public coaches, Stagecoaches, usually the Mail, worked the roads in stages where horse teams were changed at the stops. These public stagecoaches went between the bigger cities and towns according to timetables of their schedules. Names of the stops were painted on the coach, along with the name of the coach itself on the rear side of body. These are UK stagecoaches, not American West stagecoaches. Coaches had often a rough life in daily use, parts were fairly standardized for the company running that route, easy to change parts, get folks back on the road fast. I can't think they would "personalize" a set of lead bars with horse names or city names while using them in daily life. An Inn could easily have hung lead bars, got city names of the stops painted on singletrees for decorative purposes, bragging the inn had been a coaching stop in the past. Public coach horses didn't last really long in work, 5 years was fairly average in that hard work job.

      If inn was on a hilly road, steep rises, they might employ a Cock Horse and rider, who were out on the road and available to the Coaches for helping get the loaded Coach up the hill. Such a horse wore a collar or breastcollar along with traces, saddle and rider, singletree, to aid the Four. If there was only a singletree on the inn wall, perhaps it was from a Cock Horse working there in the past.

      Park Drags, the private coaches were all about subtlety, darker colors, owners crest if they had one, on the door. Not the higher visibility light and bright colors of the Road Coaches. Almost no reason they would have a set of lead bars in a public in as a decoration. Some very rich people would have outriders to escort the coach. Their horses could work as Cock Horses if needed, or be switched into the Team if a horse was injured or not drivable. No one but Royalty drove Six in the UK, just "not done" acording to our old driving books. Breach of etiquette.

      I have not seen the movie you mention. I do find a lot of bad phrasing in books, probably movies get it really wrong too, in how they describe horse driving scenes or activities related to driving. Really jolts me out of the flow of the story.


      • #4
        Great stuff from Goodhors. and I agree. Bars were unlikely to have been named. May have been painted & hung as a sign though for a Stage stop. A lot of signs used to be three dimensional objects.

        The Nursery Rhyme

        "Ride a Cock-Horse to Banbury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a white horse.
        With Rings on her fingers & bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes"

        supposedly about someone taking a Cock-horse to see a Royal Progress through Banbury Cross-Horses usually stationed near a steep hill. a way to earn a few for an enterprising local.


        • #5
          Georgette Heyer has more accurate names for hitches in her books. Thrilled to hear of curricles & Unicorns!