Development of a Safer Vehicle for Draft Animal Use

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2023: $27,959.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: A.V.S.
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: technical assistance
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities

    Proposal abstract:

    We will work with Frey Carriage Company of Columbus, WI to modify an existing Combined driving carriage into a modern utility wagon. Frey Carriage Company has extensive experience in the manufacturing of modern performance carriages. It will be based on a modern combined driving carriage with seating in the front for a driver and passenger and a dump bed in the back for cargo.

    This wagon will be suitable for the routine chores of a farm, the sort of tasks that involve lots of stopping and starting, which are tremendously inefficient to do with an engine idling away in the background. Fence repairs, feed hauling, moving firewood, and mucking out are all tasks a modern farm wagon should accomplish with ease. This wagon will also incorporate on road safety features, such as full LED lights with integrated turn signals and brake lights as well as reflective markers, making it a dual purpose vehicle that can be safely driven in traffic as well.

    In order to refine and improve our design, we will test this wagon with our local cooperators. Each of these individuals has years of experience in horse drawn agriculture and uses horses on a daily basis. Cooperators will test out our prototype and identify any changes or improvements we could make.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We will purchase a modern combined driving carriage with non-program funds, then modify it as needed from its original design as a competition vehicle into a modern farming utility wagon. The wagon will have a tubular metal frame and light weight body panels for strength without excessive weight. Torsion axle independent suspension and pneumatic wheels will allow use on rough terrain. Hydraulic brakes will permit easy use on slopes, especially when under load, so the horses won’t have to work as hard braking. Parking brakes will make the wagon safer to use alone and make hitching and un-hitching easier. A battery and LED headlights, LED indicator lights, and an LED work light will be added to permit safe use on the highway with the additional convenience of the ability to work in the dark. Adjustable loop ended shafts will allow flexibility on the size of horses the wagon can be hitched to. The shafts will hinge independently to make hitching up easier when working alone, while a dump bed will make unloading bulk materials simple and easy. Lastly, a collapsable rain cover will allow for use in wet conditions.

    Once the wagon is completed, each of our farming cooperators will use it for several months and evaluate its usefulness in daily farming operations. Any major problems that develop or significant noted deficiencies will be discussed with the fabricator and changes will be made to the wagon as needed.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.