“Supercar” convertible, powered by… grass earns half a million dong a day

Each horse-drawn carriage driver in An Giang receives a salary of between 100,000 and 150,000 VND (5 USD). If the weather is favorable, and there is no rain or storm, a car driver can earn more than half a million dong/day.

“Supercars don’t have to be refueled”

Unlike horse-drawn carriages in the lowlands, the horse-drawn carriages of people in the Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts (An Giang) are very rudimentary. The car has no roof, the trunk is made of planks for seating and storage. The horses pulling carts are very strong, carrying 5 or 6 people or pulling half a ton of goods on jagged dirt roads, and rough terrain but still running very fast.

The carriage of the Khmer people in An Giang is very simple, an open-top carriage, without armrests, carrying goods (Photo: Bao Ky).

Mr. Chau Da – a chariot driver with more than 30 years of experience driving a horse-drawn carriage, said that since the development of vehicles, the silhouette of horse-drawn carriages has become less and less. From more than 200 carriages, the area currently has only about a dozen, most concentrated in Vinh Trung commune, Tinh Bien district. 

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See the “supercar” convertible, armless, running on cargo grass in An Giang (Clip: Bao Ky).

According to Mr. Da, ox carts are often used to carry rice because strong cows can load goods weighing more than 1 ton and can walk in mud, while horses carry less but run fast, not shy of people and vehicles, so in the past, people usually travel by horse-drawn carriage. 

“In the past, I used to carry people in Phum and squirrels to the market or buy goods, but now there are many vehicles, no one goes to the market by horse-drawn carriage anymore, people only carry rental goods,” Mr. Da said. 

Horses from 1 year old can be trained to pull carts (Photo: Bao Ky).

It is known that the chariot drivers are mostly men, regardless of age, as long as they have enough courage to hold the reins, they can follow the profession. In order for the horse to be able to carry goods, the owner must know how to jockey (horse control – PV), when buying a horse, people will practice wearing shackles, training to pull a cart, and carrying things.

The goods that the carriage usually carries such as firewood, wood, construction materials… (Photo: Bao Ky).

Then, just attach the reins, get on the car, pull the rope, control, the horse will go as you like. The reins are ropes that merge into two stalks representing the left and the right. If you want the horse to turn in any direction, just pull the rope in that direction, pulling the rope twice means stopping.

“It’s very difficult to control the horse to move at will, when I first started my career, I also fell from the carriage a few times, but I had to be patient and practice a little bit every day so that the horse gradually adapts to carrying goods.

Horses pulling carts, regardless of male or female, can be pulled from one year of age or older, but male horses are more difficult to train because they are quite “stubborn” but in return for their good physical strength, they can pull more rows than mares. “, shared Chau Soc Tha, a driver.

Horses are bolder than cows, and not shy of people and vehicles, so they can run on both big and small roads (Photo: Bao Ky).

According to Mr. Soc Tha, because horses often move on rocky roads, owners often make horses with iron hoofs to avoid foot pain. In addition, the horses are also equipped with eye patches so that they are not distracted by the surrounding scenery but only focus on moving forward.

“The sound of horses running is still making money”

Although it is no longer popular, some drivers like Mr. Da and Mr. Soc Tha still try to stick to their profession, they consider this as a job to support themselves and their families, so regardless of rain or shine, they still regularly wait for customers at the wharf.

“In the past, driving a horse-drawn carriage was so popular that I could run a dozen or so rides every day. I made so much money that I left the fields and gardens for my wife and children to cultivate, while I focused on driving the carriage. But what kind of job? There are also times of prosperity and then failure, now it’s good to be able to carry 2-3 shipments a day,” said Mr. Chau Da sadly.

While the carriage is unloading, the horses will have a “break” (Photo: Bao Ky).

As for Mr. Chau Soc Tha, the job of driving a horse-drawn carriage is extremely difficult in that he has to carry goods up and down for customers, rain or shine. But in return, this is an easy job, a stable income, enough for people to take care of their families and repair their houses.

“I bought this horse for 20 million, equivalent to a motorbike, but I think buying a horse will be more profitable. Raising it does not cost gasoline, but also makes money every day to cover my life, take care of my children and go to school. “, Soc Tha said. 

For each such ride, Mr. Tha earns about 100,000-150,000 VND. Depending on the day he carries more or less, he can pocket from 300,000 to more than 500,000 VND/day, but there are days when he has no money because no one hires to carry the goods. 

At the end of 6-7 rides, Mr. Soc Tha returned home. His first job was to bathe and feed the horses to recover (Photo: Bao Ky).

In recent years, sometimes on the occasion of festivals or Tet, there are tourists from far away, who still rent a horse-drawn carriage to take a few kilometers to visit. Even many “playable” customers even rented a horse-drawn carriage to pick up the bride for the wedding.

Those are special occasions when returning to normal days, the carriage returns to the “duty” of carrying the goods. However, the charioteers they are taking care of will eventually disappear over time. Images of horse-drawn carriages on the road are only in nostalgia.

Photo: Internet (vinlove.net)