Whilst we’re in Wyoming, we took some time out to review one of the local transportation options. The equine sports-tourer, more commonly known as the “Horse”, whilst far from a new concept, seems to be gaining popularity amongst purists and tourists alike, so we jumped at the chance to try a couple out for ourselves.
My single-seater test model known locally as “Pendleton” made an immediate impression with its blend of stylish good looks, effortless handling, class-leading road-holding and enviable efficiency. Powered by a modest 1HP motor, it can still reach speeds of 40mph although we didn’t get chance to validate this on our test route. Fuel consumption on our test run was about 10 mouthfuls of grass per kilometer. Emissions were considerably higher than expected though, particularly from Krista’s.
The automatic gearbox is a bit clunky, and the transition from first gear “walk” to second gear “trot” is akin to being punched repeatedly in the man-satchel, although this may improve as the driver gains experience in the saddle.
Steering, braking and reverse gear are operated via a novel twin-cable arrangement known as reins. Pull left to go left, right to go right, and back to brake. Continually pulling back engages reverse gear. The steering has no power assistance, yet feels light, responsive and completely intuitive. It’s almost like Pendelton knows where you want to go without needing to be told.
Standard equipment is very minimal, with only a single saddlebag for storage. No radio. No air conditioning. Heating,, if required, is by means of rather dated “blanket” technology. However the single drivers seat is high quality leather, and the elevated driving position gives excellent all-round visibility to the point that rear view mirrors aren’t even needed. In this age of electric-everything, the lightweight minimalist approach seems refreshing.
Overall, Pendleton, like other models in the “Horse” class, show a glimmer of hope for those who are looking for simple, classy, minimalist transportation.