Horse drawn carriages were most popular from the late 18th century until the invention of the motor car in the early 20th century. They came in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the public stage coach to the most elegant private vehicles. The original carriages of the 17th century were basic vehicles without springs.
By the Regency era, more comfortable horse drawn carriages were in use. Some were a luxury only the wealthy could afford; others were available for hire complete with the horses. I mentioned the following three carriages in Dangerous Deceit.
The Post-chaise was lighter than the stage-coach and was normally drawn by two or four horses. The carriage had curved springs and leather straps. It was regarded as being superior to travelling by public coach, but only the well-to-do gentry could afford to run this carriage. Post-boys took charge of the horses, with one boy riding each pair of horses.
Lord Sheldon first meets Lydia when driving his sporty Phaeton. Lighter and faster than a coach, the phaeton was an open, 4-wheeled carriage drawn by one or two horses. It was popular in Regency times with aristocratic travellers who drove this carriage themselves. Young men used it for sport or speed, much like today's expensive sports cars.