German farm owner leaves his SUV at home for some real horsepower

SCHUPBACH, Germany (AP) — Stephanie Kirchner’s commute to work has gotten longer but, she says, cheaper: She left her truck at home and switched to real horsepower.

Stud owner and horse trainer Kirchner, 33, says she decided “this can’t go on like this” after fuel prices soared following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Since I also suspected that hay harvesting and everything else would become much, much more expensive, we said, ‘we need to save some money,’” she says.

So he has switched to traveling the roughly 6 kilometers (3 1/2 miles) from his home in western Germany by horse-drawn carriage. That converts a 10-15 minute one way trip to as much as an hour.

But Kirchner estimates that, given the fuel consumption of his Toyota SUV, he saves about 250 euros ($264) a month if he can use horsepower every day.

His carriage, drawn by two horses, is popular with children and a few others. But “of course, humanity is in turmoil and some people get upset if they can’t get past me fast enough,” says Kircher.

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

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

Horse breeder Stephanie Kirchner drives her coach along the main road through her hometown of Schupbach, near Limburg, Germany, on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, which has led to increased gasoline prices, Kirchner uses the bus or rides a horse to go to a small stud farm where he works whenever he can. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

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