Cost and Rules of Buggy Ownership

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Last week I was chatting with Josh (birth name, Jonas) about buggies. I had talked with Mosie about this before but, it was interesting to confirm the information or hear new stuff from Josh's perspective. Did you know the cost of a buggy ranges from $1,300 - $20,000? Josh said he used to build buggies, remove wheels and grease, wash, etc.
Now add on the price of a road horse, $200 - $900 and you could have around $30,000 in transport, especially if you've a couple horses hitched to a large buggy. Then, there's the daily cost of feeding the horses, and frequent farrier service. It gives me more compassion for Amish when there's a road accident and destroyed horse or buggy, as in this pick-up truck accident.

Harvey, our son-in-law, shared a story of racing buggies home from Gma. I'm thinking, drag racing with buggies.  He explained, "A friend and I were racing our buggies down the road. I lost control and ran off the road into a farmer's field. I ran down some of his rows of corn before I could get my horse and buggy back under control and up on the road again. Then when I got home, the farmer came to my dad and I got in trouble."

"How'd the farmer know it was your buggy?" I asked, thinking all black buggies look the same.

"Oh he knew. There was some of his corn stuck on my wheels."

Is that like Amish CSI?

Rules about
when to wear sunglasses while in a buggy vary by Order, and
about pulling down the front flaps and side flaps are part of the Amish way of life. 
My new ex-Amish friend John says,
"In our community it was against the rules to use the storm-front (windshield) unless it was cold enough to wear the thick cloak they call "ivver-ruck." Then a certain man had visited a neighboring community where they didn't have that rule, & had rode along in a buggy with the storm front in use and he didn't have his "ivver-ruck" on. After he came home, he wanted to confess his "sin" in front of the church. I almost couldn't believe my ears. But even the ministers told him that this wasn't something they would consider wrong, beings he was just riding along with a person who didn't have that rule."
Then there are rules about SMV triangle use. Swartzentrubers vehemently prohibit anything on the buggy - it's "worldly" - including this safety feature. No SMV triangle, no lanterns, turn signals, rubber wheels, etc. 

I now can look at a buggy and, based on how embellished it is, guess the driver's Order. In Holmes County, Ohio where there's a huge draw to Amish lovers, you'll see progressive orders that drive tractors, use turn signals on buggies, stay warm with propane heaters, and stay warm or dry with clear, intact windshields. I've even seen running lights! 

Behind the concept of following all the rules is ~  
it's the only way to earn Heaven.
But in the words of one of the founders of Methodism, George Whitfield, "Works! Works! People say you can get to heaven by works! I'd just as easily climb to the moon on a rope of sand than get to heaven by works."

More buggy stories will be in my upcoming book; this blog is just a taste. Subscribe to my blog for the latest updates on my book and my speaking dates.

Your turn! Got a story or comment? Feel free to leave it below in the "Comments" section. 
~ Brenda


  1. Interesting, Brenda. I'll be looking at the buggies more closely next time I see one!

  2. I know, right? Thanks for reading Cindy! It's the same with suspenders, clothing color, hat brims, hair cuts, safety pins vs hook & eye, the rules vary among the orders. Rules, rules, rules, and each has it's own set. One gal told about moving to another community where hairpins were considered "worldly" and she was quickly disciplined for using those to keep her hair in place, yet she was brought up in a community that allowed for hairpins.

    1. OK...the hairpin thing blows me away. How would you keep your hair up under a big cap and bonnet without pins?! Do you know what she did?

    2. No, she didn't tell me how she kept her hair up under the kopp. She was just making the point that different communities of the same Order even have different rules.

  3. Wow...who knew! I thought my Pentecostal relatives were slaves to their rules!!!

  4. I just found your blog, Brenda and I'm so glad. I love reading anything about the Amish, even if I already know it. But....it also re-inforces what I know and I'm always learning something new. The person that said the Amish around him/her don't like him/her, is someone I met in person this fall. He/She lives about 15 miles from my brother. When I found that out, I had to look him/her up. We hit it off instantly. What a nice nice caring God-loving person. I don't know what to answer for my profile so I'm going to check anonymous. This is Joyce Mink anyways.

  5. I love your blog. Very informative. Can Amish women use safety pins to fasten their dresses as long as they're hidden?

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks.
      It depends on the order. Some have rules of only straight pins while other orders will allow safety pins.
      The Swartzentruber women must use straight pins - and alot of 'em. Somebody once asked me if straight pins are dangerous for a mother of young children, wouldn't she stick the children? I asked my son-in-law (who was Swartzentruber) and he promptly answered,
      "Not if she knows how to pin her dress right."