Driving the backroads of Amish America you find yourself passing the horse-and-buggy in miniature, with little Amish pilots egging on their diminutive yet sturdy ponies, whipping across front yards or up the shoulder and down to the neighbor’s, perhaps to collect a missing ingredient for the casserole mom is working on back at home.

Cartandpony

Photo:  Randall Persing

The pony cart serves a useful function in certain parts of Amish society, allowing their ‘owners’ to practice the skills needed to handle an animal-and-wheeled-vehicle combination.  You don’t see them in all places, but they tend to be popular especially in the larger settlements, places such as Holmes County or northern Indiana.

To be honest, I am not sure if the presence of the pony cart is dictated by the local Ordnung, or more by a particular family’s finances and/or sensibilities.

Amish_ponies
In a sense, the pony cart is the All-Terrain Vehicle of Amish society–not that the pony cart can go just anywhere (though Amish youth may wish it were so).

Rather, just as modern country kids tear around on their ATVs, the pony cart is a fun ride for Amish youngsters, and at the same time a fairly hefty expenditure–a luxury item that not all Amish kids will get.

Were I an eight-year old Amish boy, however, I would really be hoping for one of these.  The kids always seem to be having a blast.

Sheep_cart

‘sheep cart’ courtesy of Bill Coleman

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