Stephanie Kirchner’s trip to work has got longer. But, she says it’s cheaper: The German farm owner and horse trainer is leaving her SUV at home. She’s made the switch to real horse power.
Kirchner, 33, says 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 says.
So she has switched to traveling the roughly three and a half miles from her home in western Germany by horse-drawn carriage. That turns a one-way trip from 10-15 minutes to as much as an hour.
But Kirchner calculates that, given how much fuel her Toyota SUV consumes, she saves about $264 per month if she can use horse power every day.
Her carriage, drawn by two horses, is popular with children and some others. But “of course humanity is hectic and then some people are annoyed if they can’t get past me fast enough,” Kircher says.
She acknowledges that her answer to rising fuel prices isn’t for everyone. Kircher already had the horses—and all the expenses that go along with equine maintenance. Besides that, “I can’t put a horse in a parking garage,” she says. “I think a lot more horse riders would do it if opportunities were created for the horses.”
(Horse farmer Stephanie Kirchner steers her coach on the main road through her hometown of Schupbach near Limburg, Germany, on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Since the war in the Ukraine caused rising gas prices, Kirchner uses the coach or rides a horse to work whenever possible. AP/Michael Probst)