wheel horse

ceyar

Member
turkish, turque
The wheel horse is synonymous with "wheeler" according to the dictionaries, which is "a horse or other draught animal nearest the wheel".
It doesn't quite make sense in the text I'm reading. Can it be just a spare horse running at the side of the coach ( to replace one of the harnessed horse as needed)?
 
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  • ceyar

    Member
    turkish, turque
    Le guin, Malafrena.
    A post coach traveling in a fictional country in middle europe, during early 19th century.
    A boy (a "wheelboy" helping the coachman) who rides the wheel horse.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Why doesn't "wheeler" make sense in the text? We still need a clear quotation from the text so we can assess what it means.
     

    ceyar

    Member
    turkish, turque
    It is just my ignorance about the coaches.
    Why an extra load on the harnessed horse? Why the wheelboy is not on the coach. What does exactly a wheelboy do?
    Actual sentences don't help much, as this is not a significant feature of the narrative; just glimpses of the hero. Anyway:
    "A boy of nine or ten mounted the wheeler."
    "The boy riding the wheelhorse pulled his cap down over his eyes and sang."
    "He could see the wheelboy's hat and the sky by the narrow slit of front window."
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    As I understand it, if a coach was drawn by four horses, the two in front were the leaders and the two nearer the coach were the wheelers. A coachman sat on the box of the coach and drove it, but they also had a postilion riding on one of the horses. I've never been entirely sure how this worked, but this was for a large, slow vehicle like a coach, which would perhaps require two people to control the horses. A gentleman driving himself fast in a lighter carriage would do all the controlling by himself, flicking his whip. In the stories I read (set in around 1810), usually the coachman is an older man and the postilion is a boy, so the boy probably just provides a little bit more control.

    I haven't heard the term wheel boy before; I suppose it's what I know as a postilion.
     

    ceyar

    Member
    turkish, turque
    Thank you very much entangledbank.
    So, the wheelboy is a "postilion".
    I still don't understand the advanced driving technics of the 19th century coaches, but this solves my textual riddle...
     
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