We have been recording guest carriage rides on our blog for several months, but wanted to share a little more about the carriage company history and what goes on during the rides. Amelia Island Carriages is owned and operated by husband and wife team Cyndi and Jeff Myers. Cyndi’s stepfather Bob Zaleski also drives one of the carriages as well as Nancy Noble who used to drive show carriages.. The company, Amelia Island Carriages, was started in August 2004 when Jeff retired from the marines and they moved to Amelia Island. Cyndi had worked in and around horses most of her life and had her pony Taca with a cart as a child. Candy was her horse when they were married and Jeff got both a bride and a horse. She later drove carriages in Kansas for a wildlife ranch, then in Beaufort, SC and also managed a carriage company in Palm Beach. It was instant love for the history of Amelia Island and especially the historic district of Fernandina Beach and Cyndi did a lot of research on old homes and the history of the Island before offering tours. Where there existed confusing or conflicting stories, she approached homeowners and residents and searched records in an effort to try and get the true story to pass on to visitors. Cyndi began with two carriages and two experienced horses, and Bob joined her on the Island in February 2005. Current horses include Boomer, Jazz and Sarge. Boomer is a Percheron, a French draft horse and is 13 years old. He was logging for the Amish in Ohio when Cyndi purchased him. The Percheron’s were used by the French both as draft, or work horses, and also in war as a sort of early version of tanks. Standing 19 hands at the shoulder, Boomer would definitely be a formidable adversary!Sarge is 11 and is also a Percheron from the Amish in Ohio. He came along in April of 2007. And finally Jazz, a Belgian draft horse is 10 and joined the team in July 2008. They are all young since draft horses tend to live 30-35 years versus 20 or so for regular horses. The Amish raise horses, use them in their own farming and logging and then sell them as newer, younger horses mature.
Compared to the work done on farms or in logging, the carriage tours are light duty. In summertime, they are never brought out until early evening and they are rotated with days off to make sure they stay big, healthy and happy. They are boarded on the Island with lots of room to roam and pasture. The private tours that start at the Williams House are 50 minutes and provide drive by history lessons at all the major historic homes and buildings. It also includes a few ghost stories (some observed by Cyndi and Bob) and of course “snack stops” forthe horses. Boomer is also a big fan of the ice cream store and anyone interested in getting near him with a cone! All the horses have unique personalities but most are gradually influenced by Boomer’s insatiable appetite into eating virtually everything put near the mouth. We have fed Boomer tacos, lasagne, carrots, apples, wedding cake, bananas, cookies, peppermints, …..well you get the picutre! Cyndi also provides carriages for weddings, parties and birthdays. We have used Boomer for numerous weddings and you can see him dressed for the occasion on earlier blogs.