Courtesy of Mo's Carriage and Trail Rides, Facebook
Carriage rides at the Preserve
Moses Gagakuma and Casanova outside Vecchia Pizzeria and Mercato, at the Preserve.
When Moses Gagakuma trades four wheels for four legs to get around town, Hoover residents tend to take notice. A lifelong horse lover and the owner of Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides, Gagakuma’s habit of riding his horses through Hoover has made him a popular sight.
Beginning March 31, Gagakuma is offering carriage rides through The Preserve on Friday evenings.
“My goal is to make this big and entertaining,” Gagakuma said.
A Hoover resident since 2002, Gagakuma discovered his love for horses while growing up in Ghana. His father was in the army and his family lived near the military stables. Gagakuma started out riding behind his older brothers, but soon he became the better rider. He also had a habit of replicating stunts in movies, with broken bones and bruises as a result.
“The dream started for me watching Clint Eastwood movies as a kid,” Gagakuma said.
He can still frequently be found wearing a cowboy hat and listening to the music of Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and other country stars.
He came to the United States in 1996 on a track scholarship to Troy State University. Through school and jobs, he kept finding people who loved horses too and were willing to share their knowledge and their stables.
“I always had the passion for horses, so everywhere I lived, I made friends around where horses were,” Gagakuma said.
Gagakuma began riding his own horses around Hoover as part of their training, getting them used to loud noises and unexpected situations. People who saw him riding by would frequently ask him to bring his horses to their homes or birthday parties.
After learning about how to handle a carriage by visiting Amish communities in Tennessee, Gagakuma started driving carriages for events like wedding showers and a Christmas party in a nursing home. Since he started Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides in 2016, Gagakuma has traveled around Alabama and Georgia, but his home base remains in Hoover. He even once rode his horse through a local Chick-fil-A drive-through.
The idea for a regular carriage ride at The Preserve came from a wedding shower he drove through the neighborhood. The scenery and homes make an ideal backdrop for a ride, and Gagakuma said he hopes the rides will appeal to families and friends dining at the restaurants in the Preserve. Young kids may also get the chance to ride in the driver’s seat.
The carriage, pulled by a horse named Casanova, will give tours beginning at Vecchia Pizzeria and Mercato between 5:30 and 9 p.m. on Fridays, though Gagakuma said he may add extra days if it becomes popular. The tours will last 10 to 15 minutes and cost $60 per group.
“I think it will bring them a lot of joy,” Gagakuma said.
Find Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides on Facebook for more information.