After a full day of lectures, the heads of everyone here at the symposium should be filling with all sorts of interesing information.

On Thursday, we had lectures on post-chaises and the reenactment of the Trafalgar Dispatch; the White House stables and presidential horses and carriages; the New York Coaching Club; Swiss traveling carriages; and the professional restoration/conservation of carriages and coaches.

One of the speakers had the most amazing images to go along with his talk. Andres Furger of Switzerland started out his academic and professional life as an archaeologist, with a specialty in the Iron Age. He shared photos of the reproduction of a Celtic chariot that he built years ago. He regaled us with the story (and photos) of how he and his friend (now a top-level FEI driver) tried it out with Furger’s pair of horses. The friend drove (sitting on the floor of the chariot, in the ancient Celtic style), while Furger acted as the spear man. He said that he wanted to try the technique (described by Roman historians) of leaping from the chariot onto the pole (as the horses are galloping into battle) to throw the spear. He said that his horses tolerated the exercise at a halt, but when he tried it a slightly faster pace, the leap onto the pole catapaulted him completely off. A good attempt at any rate, and very amusing in the re-telling.

One of his images of traveling vehicles in Switzerland inlcuded a frozen Alpine path, on the side of an ice-covered mountain, barely wide enough for a single horse and a small sleigh. This, of course, was filled with a line of such turnouts, nose to tail, delivering mail and passengers (wearing dark hoods, apparently, to avoid having to see the danger they were in) to far-flung villages. Fascinating stuff.

Everyone’s starting to gather now for breakfast, and then we’ll have another five lectures today.

An addendum to yesterday’s post and photos …

As an indication of our modern technology-driven lives: we, of course, are an association of people interested in horse-drawn vehicles and transportation; the wheelwrights here at Col. Williamsburg practice 18th-century wheel- and wagon-making techniques. Both of us, not surprisingly, are trying to get the word out about what we do by way of modern Internet-based technology. So if you haven’t already, visit us on Facebook!

If you have a FB account, you can follow the link on this blog to our FB page. While you’re there, search for “The Deane Shop” to find the wheelwrights’ page and become a fan of them as well. I’ve uploaded to their fan-photos page the photos you saw here yesterday, plus a few others. They tell me that they’ll be grinding paint tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll be there to get photos of that as well.