My Second Amish Buggy Ride

My first Amish buggy ride was in an open buggy. If you click those highlighted words you can see pictures.

This time, I was privileged to ride in the typical two-seater black, enclosed buggy. 'Surrey' is the proper name. Here's a close-up of the small foot step.

Also note, the steel wheel. The Swartzentruber Order of Amish prohibit rubber tires on buggies. Bicycles are also prohibited as "worldly."

I was invited to visit the Amish homestead of Sarah and Monroe's brother. My husband, his sister, Sarah, Monroe and I drove out there on a cool summer evening. We pulled up in our car and parked. Outside the barn stood the horse and black buggy.

As we gathered around the horse, Sarah picked up the harness and adeptly hitched the horse to the buggy. I reached out to pet the horse's dark brown head and she jerked her head up. "Oh, what's wrong," I asked.

"She's a little jumpy because she's blind in one eye," answered Sarah.

Oh great, I thought, we're going out on the road with a one-eyed horse.

My husband and his sister climbed up and squeezed into the back seat. Those buggies are anything but roomy. Then I hoisted myself up by the tiny step. As I sat waiting for Sarah to join us, I examined the buggy's interior. Everything was black - top, side panels, seats, wheels, reins. No windows. No windshield.

For Swartzentruber Amish running lights, safety features, SMV triangle are verboten - nothing to warn fast moving cars. And I'm so used to a seatbelt, it felt odd not snapping one around my body. Nothing holds the buggy's occupants inside when there's an impact.

Sarah jumped up and plopped down taking Linda's reins in her hands. She looked so experienced in the driver's seat - despite some teasing from her brother. Snapping the reins, Linda responded with a jerk of our buggy. Linda trotted along with her mane wafting in the wind. Sarah laughed. I looked down at the road whizzing by three feet from my face. Too close for comfort.

Inside the plain buggy we laughed and chatted. Sarah pointed out the beer cans along the road, "The Amish youth throw those out of their buggy."

I wasn't sure which was the better seat - front or the back. In the back, Linda's "aroma" is filtered by the front seat occupants but, you'd be the first smashed if a car rear-ended the buggy. You'd probably remain inside and safer if the buggy turned over. In the front, you're first in and out, and to see all the action but, the occasional "aroma" and dust and bugs aren't enjoyable.

The familiar clip-clop of horse hoofs lulled me like a hammock's sway. I was relaxed.

Thinking back to when Sarah was Amish, I asked her, "Did it bother you to have English drivers stare at you?"

"Neh," she answered. "We were used to it."

After we trotted down a one-lane part gravel, part paved road, Sarah turned Linda around at a small intersection of two unnamed roads. We headed back toward her brother's homestead. I savored the feel and sound of riding in an Amish buggy and experiencing a touch of their culture.

Yes, it may seem simple just bumping along in a horse-drawn buggy. But as Mennonite author Doris Janzen Longacre observed, "The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple." To learn more about the Cost and Rules of Buggy Ownership, Click Here.

If you have a story of a buggy ride, share it below in the comments section.

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(c)Copyright, 2014. BrendaNixon


  1. No buggy ride story, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about yours. Thank you so much for sharing and for giving me yet another glimpse into the world of the Amish. Continued prayers for you and all of your "kids." And very happy to know Sarah and Monroe are able to visit their brother.

    1. You're welcome Dali. It was an interesting glimpse into their world. Thanks for your interest and prayers! Helping former Amish assimilate into English life has taught me volumes about their struggles and about the life they left.

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  3. I recently had the chance to ride in an Amish buggy, they were New Order however. For a class I had on Plain Societies, our teacher who was Beach Amish, arranged for some of us to stay the night with a couple of families and go to church with them in the morning. My boyfriend used to harness race so he had a lot of experience driving horses. He happened to mention this to the family we stayed with. So the next morning they hitched up the horse and buggy and let him drive! It was quite weird, putting a seat belt on is habit for for me so that was weird. And I was sitting on the left of the buggy so that was weird, and when a car passed us it was utterly terrifying we honestly didn't hear it until it zoomed by us. It honestly changed the way that I drive around the Amish now because of that. All and all it was an AMAZING experience!
    I am new to blogger and I just discovered your blog so I am looking forward to reading more! Sorry I accidentally deleted my prior post.

    1. Oh welcome Amber & thanks for sharing your story. Even though you were in a New Order buggy & I rose in the Swartzentruber one, it sounds like we had similar emotions and safety concerns.
      How interesting that you're taking a class on Plain Societies. If you want to learn more about the Amish and particularly the most conservative order - Swartzentruber - subscribe to my blog via your email (see right column).

  4. The only time I rode in a buggy was in Middlefield Ohio. My cousin got married in a fire hall and an Amish man stopped by offering rides. As a dumb 12and year old I hopped in. He was drunk. It could have ended badly. And when my mother came out after finding out from a relative I was in a buggy...let's just say I was more than firmly scolded! -Kassandra Miller

    1. haha Kassandra, I can just imagine... Well, to bad you couldn't have had a positive experience in the buggy ride. Anyhow, in this frigid weather, I'm thankful I have a warm car to transport me.