The Amish Horse and Buggy

One of the best known icons of the Amish community is the horse and buggy.  But it is much more than an icon.  The horse and buggy is a foundational component of Amish identity and culture.

Horse and BuggyThe average buggy speed varies between 5 and 8mph.  Imagine life where your typical jaunt away from home was at a speed of 5mph… you’d probably be less likely to leave home as often.  Your family, neighbors, and community would become an indispensable part of your life.  And if your goal is community and tradition, what better way to ensure traditionalism than to stay close to home?

The buggy is considered vital to Amish survival; many Amish believe that the use of motorized vehicles would usher in worldliness and ultimately destroy the purity of their simple way of life.

Buggies come in a variety of sizes, but not as many colors.  Probably the most common buggy is the gray-topped buggy, as seen regularly on the roads of beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Another common buggy is the black buggy.  Buggies can even be a specific color designating the particular sect to which its owners belong.

There are two basic types of buggies: open and enclosed.  Open buggies are usually either wagon-like (for hauling and trips to market), or a two-seater, often referred to as a  “courting buggy” (for its regular use by Amish sweethearts).

The Amish and the buggy are nigh inseparable.  While the world goes speeding past, the horse and buggy ensure a slow and steady support to the fabric of the simple way of life.