'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 GMT, 3 April 2012 | UPDATED: 14:56 GMT, 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 childrenís 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 wasnít 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 wonít even stop my fuel warning light.
'One day we just decided that we couldnít afford it and we havenít looked back since.'
She added: 'The horses need feeding and exercising anyway so it just makes sense.
'In the current economic climate itís also very expensive keeping horses - but now they are definitely earning their keep.'
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 peopleís 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.
'Itís also a great way of making friends instantly around the village.
'The only problem weíve 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, youíre 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.'
Panic has overwhelmed the UK as gas prices at the pump sharply increased.
This family has then taken the right decision, riding a horse cart.
It is so much more romantic and one enjoys the landscape. In a car, nobody has time to watch around and enjoy the sight. Besides, horses are great fun.
It doesn't mean they have become Amish !
Here in my town many just use a bike. Whilst there are many buses, bus lines do not necessarily stop right where supermarkets are. Carrefour is half a mile from my home but if I want to get there by bus, it takes over two hours bus ride. So I bike my way to there and for that price I stay fit.
I think that contraption surrounging its eyes and ears probably has a CD player. Maybe even an I-Horseshoe app mp3 thingmybob that plays the theme from The Lone Ranger, Chestnut Mare from the Byrds or One trick Pony by Paul Simon while getting around. Or that old good 'un 'One Wheel On My Wagon' can't remember the singer;American guy.
Plod and HSE will be on to them soon though - the kids have no seat belts,the dog neither.What happens to the poor souls if some pissed frenchie that doesn't know the proper side of the road to drive on in any cases bangs into the back? This is the eu,mind.