The Grim Sarcasm Behind ‘Jingle Bells’

The holiday season is upon us, so Christmas carols can be found everywhere. People often sing the chorus, “Oh how fun it is to ride on a one-horse open Sleigh!” At face value. However, the lyrics have a rather negative view of sleigh rides. This is a portion of the song:

Horse was lean and lank 

His lot was made worse by misfortune 

He went to a bank he didn’t know. 

Then we were able to get upsot.

Next verse (often skipped) describes how the narrator was thrown off a sleigh onto him and laughed at by his romantic rival. While his misfortune may have been minor, it was still quite embarrassing to be thrown from a carriage or horse-drawn sleigh.

Accidents were common during the age of horse-drawn transport. They caused delays, inconveniences, and even injuries. Paul Hair, a British historian, called horses “one of the most dangerous tools in man’s arsenal.” Arguments thatIt is probable that the horse was less dangerous per unit of travel than the motor vehicle.

The British registrar general, who noted that in 1865 “street accidents by horsecars kill more people per year than railways,” stated this to be true. In 1874, he estimated that there was a 55-year horse-related death rate for every million. There will be a total of 20,000 horse-related deaths in 2020. These wereThere were 1,516 road fatalities in the United Kingdom. Divided by the U.K.’s current population of 67.2million, it results in a mortality rate due to motor vehicle accidents of around 23 deaths per million. This makes modern cars more safe than Victorian horse-drawn carriage rides. Car deaths are increasing. rareNearly everywhere

Unruly or skittish horses can be a problem for transport. They may bolt unexpectedly. Also, a badly fitted harness can spell doom. A horse carriage or horse could be dangerous to dismount. The average horse kick force was 2,000 pounds/square inch. And the average horse speed is 200 miles/hour. One famous study Find itIn the period 1875-1894, horse kicks claimed at least 280 Prussian cavalrymen who were highly-trained.

There is no way to protect someone from the dangers inherent in a horseback ride or carriage ride. Serves and NobilityBoth of them succumbed in car accident injuries.  

The crown prince of France’s July Monarchy, Ferdinand Philippe d’Orléans, diedA skull fracture caused by a horse carriage accident occurred at 31 years old in 1842. Pierre Derbigny was a French-born Louisiana governor. diedHe was in office when he fell from an unmoving horse-drawn carriage in 1829. Thomas Jefferson’s grandson diedHe was killed in an accident involving a horse carriage in 1875. Frances Cleveland, the future first lady diedThat same year, he was involved in an accident involving a horse-drawn carriage.  

MonumentNew York City celebrates Charlotte Canda who, in 1845, was killed in an accident with a carriage horse. Charlotte was taken out of the carriage when the horse ran off as she returned from 17th birthday bash.

Charles Dickens is the daughter-in law of an Australian novelist. died in a similar accident in 1878. She was killed when the ponies got scared and ran wild. The accident left her with two young children, one of whom survived but was traumatized from witnessing the death of their mother. Prince Albert of Saxony was born in Germany, 1900. diedAt age 25, an open carriage collided into his, turning it into a ditch.

The old newspapers are a treasure trove ManyThere were many instances of horses getting out of control and causing damage to the cars they pulled. Horses were frequently the victims. Victorian streetcar horses lived an average of 6.5 years. It is very rareIt will be two years.

When we consider other horse-related injuries than those caused by horse-drawn carriage crashes, there are many victims. Numerous kings. William of Orange died in 1702 from an illness that was exacerbated when his horse fell on a molehill. He took a 12-mile carriage ride after having his bone fixed. This jolted it out of its place, and required resetting. It must have been horrendously painful.

Instead of romanticizing horse-drawn transport, you can say, next time, “Oh, what fun it’s to ride in an open-sleigh one-horse!” remember that the lyric is somewhat sarcastic—and with good reason. As you journey to visit family for holidays, be sure to take the time to notice the advancements in transport safety.