Family swap their Land Rover for a horse and cart

‘We’re no fuels’: Family of five swap their car for a horse and cart to beat rocketing petrol prices

By Eddie Wrenn
PUBLISHED: 10:47, 3 April 2012 | UPDATED: 14:56, 3 April 2012

A family of five has avoided feeling the pain at the pumps – by swapping their Land Rover for a horse and cart.

Lisa Wilde became so frustrated at the cost of petrol that she now leaves the car in the garage and instead uses her trusty horse and cart for everything from the school run to trips to the shops, and even the local pub.

The mother-of-three, 37, and partner Dean Wiles, 38, of Feering, Essex, say the change has already saved the family hundreds of pounds.

Everyday sees them complete a seven-mile round trip to their children’s schools – saving them a small fortune.

The carriage is pulled by a mix of their four white and grey Lipizzaners – Charlie, 12, Boycie, 12, Chinnie, 10, and Steffi, 10,

They are bred specifically as carriage horses but can also be used for dressage and showjumping.

Lisa said: ‘The price of fuel these days is extortionate – it wasn’t that long ago I could put £20 in the Land Rover and it would fill it up to a quarter of a tank, but now it won’t even stop my fuel warning light.

‘One day we just decided that we couldn’t afford it and we haven’t looked back since.’

She added: ‘The horses need feeding and exercising anyway so it just makes sense.

‘In the current economic climate it’s also very expensive keeping horses – but now they are definitely earning their keep.’

Who needs a Rover when you have a horse? Lisa and Dean have virtually dumped their old vehicle, preferring lower horse-power but cheaper mileage

The family – who make and repair horse boxes for a living – have been using the old-fashioned form of transport on-and-off for the past six months.

But it became a permanent fixture after Chancellor George Osborne refused to cut fuel duty in the Budget.

Their daily routine includes setting off from home at around 8.10am, when Lisa gets the children in the car and heads three miles north to drop Benjamin, nine, and Oliver, six, at the local primary school, St Peter’s Church of England school in Coggeshall.

They then head another half-a-mile up the road to drop daughter Eleanor, 15, off at The Honywood School.

The round trip takes around 40 minutes in total – twice as long as the equivalent car journey in rush hour – but Lisa says it saves her time as she does not have to find an hour in her day to exercise the horses separately.

She also stops off to get groceries and pick up supplies and the change of lifestyle has made the family popular amongst the locals.

Lisa added: ‘Whenever we are out and about in the carriage it causes quite a stir but it seems to put a smile on people’s faces and definitely beats the usual rat race in a car.

‘The schoolchildren love it when we stop outside with the horses so we never have a problem finding a parking space.

‘It’s also a great way of making friends instantly around the village.

‘The only problem we’ve had so far is that Eleanor cringes every time we pull up outside her school as everyone is staring – but she still never turns down a lift.

‘Her school is five miles away and even the school bus stop is quite out the way so I just say: “Well, you’re welcome to walk to school”.

‘She always comes along for the ride – if a little begrudgingly at times.’

Proud Benjamin added: ‘I love riding in the carriage every day as people at school always come up to me and say “wow Ben – was that really you?”

‘My mates love getting to stroke the horses and are always asking me for lifts home.

I look forward to it every day.’

Leave a Reply