The elaborate and classic horse and carriage has been a fixture of many weddings here in Cayman Islands.
It was such a familiar part of Cayman life that one even appeared on the 75-cent Christmas stamp for the Cayman Islands in 2008.
Tracey Surrey was owner and operator of the successful business for five years. There were two carriages available and they were much-loved by everyone from Santa, birthday specials and of course those wanting to tie the knot.
“A lot of the business was people looking to be photographed with a carriage and people wanting transportation from A to B. It was particularly popular with the cruise ships and a carriage ride down South Church Street was really lovely and scenic after people had got married at Grand Old House, for example.
“Everybody loved to see the horse and carriage; we would drive into George Town and people would be waving and cheering, coming out onto their balconies and it was a lovely send-off from the island. I’ve stayed in touch with many of those people who got married – it’s a really romantic, lovely touch to somebody’s wedding and I still get enquiries,” said Ms Surrey.
However, another business close to the horse expert’s heart is Cayman Riding School, which began to take up more and more of Ms Surrey’s time a year or so ago.
“I love teaching and from a personal point of view I love working with the kids. If I can get them off the street and up there staying out of trouble I have a real personal interest in wanting to do that. There was such a demand for the riding school that it really built up. I take children from an early age plus physically and mentally-challenged children so I got busier and busier than I ever anticipated. People would ask me to do weddings but I didn’t want to let the children down so I decided to hang up the harness.
“The carriage is popular on many other islands and a number of wedding operators [were disappointed] when I said I wasn’t going to be doing it any more. It is time-consuming, and you’ve got to love doing it,” explained Ms Surrey.
So now, one of the carriages is up for sale, a white Victorian-reproduction carriage with folding top and patent white leather dash and fenders which was imported originally from top carriage makers Justin Carriage Works in Nashville.
“As well as transporting the bride and groom, I think it could make a great feature somewhere like Dart Park, or under The Ritz wedding arch, where people could get married and have photographs. It really does make such a lovely addition to wedding photos. And you wouldn’t need a horse so you could have close-ups of the bride and groom.”
As for the price? She wouldn’t reveal the amount.