Privacy Choices

We and our partners process your personal data using technology such as cookies in order to serve advertising, analyse our traffic and deliver customised experiences for you. You have a choice in who uses your data and for what purposes. After setting your preferences you may come back anytime to make changes.



Privacy Preferences

This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience.

Necessary ▼

Always enabled

Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.

Non-Necessary ▼

Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.



Call Now Button

What to think about if you’re considering a horse-drawn hearse

What to think about if you’re considering a horse-drawn hearse

A horse-drawn carriage adds a noble elegance to a funeral procession. It is a fitting and eloquent tribute that can be personalised to reflect the life of your loved one and the send-off chosen by the family.

Horses have been used for centuries to draw hearses. They are notable as the traditional way to mark the funeral processions of royalty and esteemed individuals.

Why are horses used to draw a hearse?

Before horse-drawn hearses, a type of bier was usually used to carry a casket. Even the word ‘hearse’ harks back to rural times, meaning ‘platform’ or a type of plough in Middle English. The bier would be fitted with handrails for ease of carrying and the designs became more and more elaborate.

As the decoration could be heavy, and as mourners began arriving at funeral services in horse-drawn carriages themselves from the 17th century, wheels were added to biers and it was fitting that horses would pull them.

Carved wooden hearses with heavy drapery and ornamentation would be used to carry the wealthy to their final resting places. Hearses with a metallic chassis and glass windows later came into use.

The horses and your choices at a funeral

The horses leading the procession will be highly trained and only the calmest breeds and personalities are chosen for funeral duties.

You can usually select a team of two or four horses in black or white to lead the cortège. Traditionally, black horses were chosen to reflect the solemnity of the passing of an adult while white horses drew the coffins of children and maidens. Today, the colour of the horses reflects the preferences of the person who has passed and their family with a choice of carriage to match.

The horses will be immaculately dressed in leather harnesses and full traditional livery. You will be offered a choice of coloured plumes and drapes to mark something special about the departed person and their life. This could reflect family colours, their own favourite colour that had some special meaning or perhaps even the colours of a beloved sports team.

What to expect with a horse-drawn funeral

Nothing is rushed in a horse-drawn funeral procession. For one thing, it can’t be, as horses can only travel around a mile in approximately 10 minutes, and their use in a burial or cremation ceremony is a fittingly sedate send-off. You might need to think about the distance and time it takes to get to the venue.

As the horses are well trained and experienced, they offer a calming sight at a funeral. This can be of particular note should children be attending who can offer a pat and take interest in the horses themselves as a distraction should the occasion be a little overwhelming for them. Passers-by will take note and often pause to mark the procession as it sedately makes its way to the place where the funeral ceremony is to take place.

A horse-drawn funeral is a particularly stately way to mark a send-off. It is rooted in tradition and history. Get in touch with our funeral directors Manchester-based to discuss how we can help you mark the passing of a loved one with grandeur and style.