In the office last week, I was pretty well consumed with laying out this year’s edition of the CAA’s annual journal, World on Wheels.

One of the articles is about the popularity of coaching among members of New York “society” during the Gilded Age. Coaching at the time was not just a sport for the idle rich; it was quite a “spectator” sport as well, with thousands of people lining the streets to watch the New York Coaching Club’s parades. According to contemporary newspaper reports, the onlookers gathered to admire the vehicles, the horses, and the fancy outfits on display.

It’s difficult to imagine that happening now, I thought: so many people avidly watching that sort of parade … not horses and/or horse-drawn carriages IN a parade, but a parade OF horse-drawn carriages.

But then I remembered that it’s really not such a strange thought in this day and age after all. When our CAA group was in Sevilla last month, the annual carriage exhibition in the bullring didn’t take place as planned. Instead, it morphed into a carriage parade, with thousands of people crowding the streets and sidewalks to see nearly a hundred horse-drawn carriages and coaches. In a way, it was like stepping back in time.

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