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vehicle that moves by sliding. A sledge is typically a heavier, load-carrying sled drawn by a horse or dog, while a sleigh is a partially enclosed horse-drawn vehicle with runners that has seats for passengers.
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a common type of vehicle without wheels, usually equipped with runners. Sleighs without runners include certain types of travois, the toboggan of the Canadian Indians, and Lapp sledges. Sleighs pulled by horses, deer, or dogs include drags and narty (drawn sledges used by northern peoples). There also are various kinds of sleighs with bodies; open sleighs with a hood include the Russian balochok and kibitka.
Sleighs predate wheeled vehicles and were known in both southern and northern countries. Many peoples whose civilization already had wheeled transportation, such as the peoples of ancient Egypt and Rus’, customarily used sleighs in their burial rites. Until the end of the 17th century Russian tsars and patriarchs used sleighs as ceremonial vehicles even in the summer, as it was considered more of an honor to ride in a sleigh than in a carriage. In regions without roads in the Far North and in parts of Southern Siberia sleighs were often used in place of wheeled vehicles in the summer.
Sleighs are used in rural areas of countries with snowy winters. They are also used in sports. Some sectors of the economy use aerosleighs.