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Horse Travel

A guide to time and distance for travelling by horse

All travel info in the provided graphic is based on good roads, good weather, good horses, and good drivers/riders. If so much as one of those factors fails, then half the numbers in the chart shown in the graphic.

For example, all things favourable, a horse with a single rider could travel up to 60 m/d, but if things were not favourable, a horse may only travel 30 m/d or less.

A dedicated traveller with frequent exchanges of horses could reach up to 300 miles per day (woah!). Is this likely? No! But could he? Sure.

It took 5-20 minutes to exchange horses (obviously longer if one preferred to rest the same horse(s) for the journey), depending on how many horses needed to be exchanged and the type of carriage (mail coach vs private carriage, for example).

The tricky aspect with coaches and carriages using 4-6 horses is these would be burdened with luggage and passengers typically. While it might be expected that more horses would move a carriage faster, the "more" was to pull the weight, not to increase the speed. Another consideration for things like mail coaches, stagecoaches, etc., is they travelled specific routes only, and had designated horses waiting for the exchange, all of which factored into travel time. Tollgate stops should be factored in, as well, but not for mail coaches.

The on-foot estimate is at a slow, leisure pace for an average person, not someone walking quickly or with purpose. A dedicated walker could easily double those numbers without needing to run or rest.

A couple fun posts to consider:

Quills and Quartos: Distance and Time in Regency England

Regina Jeffers: Traveling by Coach During the Regency

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