I was thrilled to see this one. And I was fascinated by the perch. The driver needed a place to brace his legs if he pulled on the reins to make a sudden stop, I suppose. I've also been told you wouldn't want to hurt a horse's mouth, so you do have to take care.
When I walked up to the carriage, the guide reminded me that carriages needed more maintenance than just a fresh coat of paint. The roads could be rugged, and hard on the wheels. They really could break.
So when the character in It's Marriage or Ruin is delayed by the carriage getting stuck in a puddle...well, it could have happened. Servants could have been that tricky...particularly if they were paid well.
Note: The carriage above is a photo I took at the Mount Vernon estate.