German woman swaps SUV for horse carriage to save money on work commute

Horse farmer Stephanie Kirchner steers her coach on the main road through her hometown Schupbach near Limburg, Germany (AP)
Horse farmer Stephanie Kirchner steers her coach on the main road through her hometown Schupbach near Limburg, Germany (AP)

German woman has swapped her SUV for a horse-drawn carriage to save money on her commute.

Horse trainer Stephanie Kirchner, 33, said she decided “it can’t go on like this” after fuel prices jumped following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Since I also suspected hay harvesting and everything else will become much, much more expensive, we said, ‘we have to save a little money’,” she added.

Ms Kirchner’s three-and-a-half mile journey from her home of Schupbach in western Germany to work has gone from being 10-15 minutes to as long as an hour as a result.

But she said she had saved around £212 per month by making the switch.

Horse farmer Stephanie Kirchner with her horse at a small stud farm in Oberweyer near Limburg, Germany (AP)
Horse farmer Stephanie Kirchner with her horse at a small stud farm in Oberweyer near Limburg, Germany (AP)

While the horse-drawn carriage is popular with children in the local area, she said “some people are annoyed if they can’t get past me fast enough”.

She acknowledges that her answer to rising fuel prices is not for everyone.

“I can’t put a horse in a parking garage,” she said. “I think a lot more horse riders would do it if opportunities were created for the horses.”

Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy exports, has seen a sharp rise in gas and oil prices following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Energy prices as a whole were up 87.3 per cent compared to April 2021, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Friday.

Power plants had to pay four times as much as a year before, and electricity prices rose by 87.7 per cent year on year, the data showed.

Germany is Europe’s biggest natural gas consumer and apart from Russia, receives pipeline gas from Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark.

Meanwhile in the UK, the price of fuel at forecourts hit record highs on Wednesday.

The average pump price for petrol reached 167.64p a litre, the RAC said – above the record of 167.30p set on March 22.

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