Local carriage shop supplies the world

Published 4:28 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

Just ten minutes down Hwy. 14 from Landrum is perhaps one of the largest horse-drawn carriage suppliers in the United States, possibly the world. With an 18,000 square foot store, a 10,000 square foot warehouse and 200 or more carriages in stock, the Carolina Carriage Superstore supplies carriages, harness and horse equipment all over the world.

The store’s owner and founder, Jack Moore, has bought and sold carriages, wagons, harnesses and horses for 35 or 40 years. He grew up in Alexander, Va. and moved to this area in 1969. Since then he’s been raising and training riding and driving horses and custom making carriages. In 2011 he built the big red barn that stands on the corner of Hwy. 14 and Fews Chapel Rd. 

“I started fooling with horses at age 6,” Moore said. “I trained my own pony to drive a cart.”

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At nearly 70 years old, Moore still breaks and trains the horses on the farm and hooks and drives horses and mules. He said mules were his favorite to work with because they were a bigger challenge than horses.

“The average trainer doesn’t have success with mules,” he said. “They’re altogether different. A good mule is very good. A bad mule is very bad.”

In addition to working with mules, Moore has raised and trained Walking horses, and many different kinds of draft horses, including Percherons, Belgians and even Clydesdales he purchased from Anheuser Busch.

“Of all the horses I’ve trained Friesians are the smartest and easiest to train by far,” he said. “They’re very versatile.”

Moore said he trains all his horses to both ride and drive. He stands three Friesian stallions that are Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) registered. “This is one of the only places you can pick out a horse and see its mama and daddy perform as well,” he said.

Moore’s daughter-in-law, Kelly Moore, manages the store and helps train the horses. Kelly said not only can a person buy a well-trained driving horse at the store, they can purchase everything needed to start driving immediately. “If you have a dream of driving or starting a carriage company, you can get everything you need right here,” she said.

Moore added that not only could a customer buy the horse, carriage and harness, they can learn to drive as well. Moore teaches hands on driving lessons from beginner through advanced.

“We teach proper harnessing and fit [of the harness],” he said. “You’d be surprised how many people drive and can’t harness their horse or don’t know if it’s [the harness] fitted properly.”

The carriage store not only includes horses and carriages, they carry all types of harnesses including nylon, leather and biothane. They stock new and used harnesses in all sizes from mini to extra-large draft. In addition to the harness, the carriage store carries all sorts of new and used horse tack and equipment.

“We carry primarily Western saddles because there are plenty of English tack stores in the area,” said Kelly, explaining that they don’t intend to compete with the local hunter tack stores. “There’s a big demand for Western tack around here because not many other stores [in the area] sell it.”

One of the big draws for the carriage store is their custom made equipment. Moore said because they have a 6,000-square-foot fabrication shop, they can custom design and make any type of carriage, cart, wagon, harness and many other types of horse related equipment.

With their custom design capabilities, the company builds a lot of handicap accessible carriages and carts for therapeutic riding and driving programs.

In addition to the more than 300 harnesses and 100 saddles they have in stock, the store stocks more than 200 carriage and wagon wheels and does wheel repair on site. Moore said carriage companies often bring in a carriage they want to exchange and are able to leave the same day with exactly what they are looking for.

Because of their inventory and custom design work, the carriage store provides carriages, horses and equipment for the Biltmore Estate as well as large and small carriage tour businesses in Charleston, Atlanta, Texas and others throughout the U.S. They also supply Disney.

Moore travels to Ohio and Pennsylvania to buy harness and other equipment from the Amish craftsmen. About 70 to 80 percent of their product is hand made by the Amish. While visiting the Amish, Moore enjoys hooking up and driving horses and mules with them. Recently he helped hook and drive a 24-mule hitch in Ohio. The drivers hooked four teams of six mules abreast pulling a 24-foot plow.

In addition to the handmade Amish tack, some of the more unique items the carriage store offers are antique carriages from the 1800s and antique carriage lanterns, which are also a customer favorite.

While the store supplies many of the big carriage companies and ships to Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe, they also have a lot of local customers. Kelly said they keep a lot of supplies on hand for local driving enthusiasts, those who enjoy trail riding or for farmers looking for work harness.

According to Moore, their inventory of carriages has filled the barn and warehouse, so they are currently planning a 10,000-square-foot addition to the barn. While he spends most of his time working with the horses and developing custom carriage designs, Moore and his wife, Gloria Moore, also own several other businesses including a motorcycle dealership in Taylors that is managed by their son, Chris Moore, and a waste management company in Greer. •

Catherine Hunter’s journalism career spans 20 years of writing for newspapers and magazines, including The Chronicle of the Horse, The Western Horseman, the Tryon Daily Bulletin and Foothills Magazine. In 2000, Hunter received a South Carolina Press Association award for reporting in depth. She is the author of “Sacred Connections Horsemanship: Empowering Horse and Rider through Chakra Energy.” Email her at catherine.hunter@tryondailybulletin.com.