Rural Mobility

All the world is talking about e-mobility – expecting wonders ahead by self-driving cars and ‘computers on 4 wheels’, as some assume. The truth is: these visions are created by urban people, and they are valid only for a special segment of society, even if the biggest one: urban and wealthy people.

But there is a part of society that nobody talks about. Living on the country-side and living from what they have and earn from their land. They do agricultural work and have a few animals of their own. They do not have bank accounts working for them, their interest is not in %, but in using their livestock and soil for living. The principles had been valorised by the UN (2014 and 2015): background of family farming and diversity, doing no harm to the soil.

Their mobility solution is embedded in their means, as well. e-cars would not be a suitable. High-end technical solutions would not fit at all. Here is what works for them.

In Romania there are, depending on source, approximately 700.000 horses. Assuming 80% of them are working horses leads to hundreds of thousands of such rural horse cart drivers on the roads.

But their way of living is endangered by a growing motorization and fast road construction, following the development path of Central Europe after WW II: getting rid of animal power and manual work, producing and using industrial products instead.

Who is standing up for protecting and fostering those people and their needs?


Author and photo credits: Therese Grosswiele
Article first published on

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European Mobility Week 2017

Again European Mobility Week. This year from 16-22 September. And again, the focus lies on cities and urban areas. How come, the country side and rural areas are not even mentioned?

This year’s focal theme is “Clean, shared and intelligent.” And we have a special view on that, see below:

European Mobility Week 2017 car plus horse upd

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Breaking News

One year ago, we first reported about the EU’s „Do The Right Mix“ campaign. Their logo still is without horses. This could change.

In October 2015, Ismail Ertug, Member of the European Parliament and Coordinator of the S&D Group in the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), has put a Parliamentary Question forward to the Commission. Referring to the subject “Incorporating travelling by horse into current and future EU transport strategies” the Commission and DG MOVE is asked

  • whether they are giving thought to the concept of travelling by horse?
  • whether they intend to incorporate travelling by horse into their plans for a sustainable and efficient transport strategy?

For details read more here:

We’ll keep you informed.

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It’s holiday season. Tourists come to visit the beauties of Bavaria. One of the highlights is ‘Schloss Herrenchiemsee’, one of the castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria on Herren-chiemsee, an island in the beautiful lake Chiemsee. It is situated in a wide park area with spectacular gardens and fountains.

Herrenchiemsee - Royal CastleVisitors can enjoy a car-free time during their visit. First, the trip to the island is done by ship with stunning views.

Chiemsee viewOnce on the island, people either walk to the castle or take a ride on one of the horse-drawn wagons which are available right at the landing pier.

Horse shuttle serviceThere is a long and continuous tradition for this transport mode on the island. Even during the 1950s and 1960s, when it was en vogue in Germany to get rid of horses and carriages, and the knowledge in working with draught horses was fading away more and more, they didn’t give it up. So today, on Herrenchiemsee one can proudly look back on a long history of horse-drawn mobility and collaboration with horses. It is extraordinary, because there are only a few places in Germany, where the horse-based approach is applied in such consequent manner.

On Herrenchiemsee, it is embedded in nature completely. Of course grass and hay from the island is used to feed the horses. But also wood for the carriages – from specially selected ash trees, harvested, processed and built completely on the island by the island team. And the preparation of the horses, mainly South-German coldblood: after initial basic education at 3 years’ age, they spend a year on the island’s pastures, afterwards a year in ‘new-on-the-job’ employment. And only after that the regular work begins. What a gentle up-bringing of young horses!

It pays off. Having a physically and mentally healthy horse, clear in mind, good to handle, makes a great deal of a safe carriage team. And after such an initial investment, the horses work as reliable partners for about 15 years – without physical damages, as healthy and content working horses.

P1210266To lead a draught horse stable in such high quality, experience and good organisational skills are needed. On Herrenchiemsee, Helmut Meidert is the long-time chief-on-duty. He knows not only about horse care and feeding, education and training of men and horses, equipment, material and carriages, but also about team management and service presentation – and last but not least financial management. Not only the sold tickets for the shuttle service, but in addition horse boarding and cattle on the pastures contribute to the stable income. This is necessary to run the stable with 28 horses, 10 carriages and the team of carriage drivers economically.

So the overall attributes: precious living heritage, environmental-friendly, sustainable.

P1210320For those interested: the shuttle service between the boat pier and the Royal castle is offered from mid-April until the end of October (depending on the seasonal weather).

For further information please visit

Author: Therese Grosswiele

Photo credits: 1. Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung, 2.-5. Therese Grosswiele

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What a success story

It’s been 23 years that Ernst Rommel-Kronmiller, a Swabian horse carriage driver, offered a few days’ test run of horse-drawn flower watering service in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a town of 60.000 inhabitants and lots of green spots in its historic town centre. And since then, he receives the public order each year to take over the maintenance of green areas and flowers in public parks and the city with his horses during the season from end of May through October. The watering is done with a self-built horse-drawn irrigation cart with a tank of 2.000 litres and with additional room for tools and waste.

The service turned out to be not only an environmental-friendly solution, but a magnet for pedestrians and city walkers as well, especially children and tourists. “What a good idea,” is the often heard feed-back. With the horse cart he is able to reach all places – from the parks to narrow streets which are shared with the pedestrians.


The working tour starts at a barn outside the city, where the carriage is parked during the season and the horse-on-duty is prepared for its work. From here Rommel-Kronmiller starts his daily route with one of his Percherons – 7 days a week when sunshine or on dry days. No work during rainy days. The economic risk is at Rommel-Kronmiller’s, but it works out with a work-load of 500-600 hours as average per year.

The horse-drawn cart is a well-accepted and integrated traffic partner in the inner city and slow-traffic zones, and Rommel-Kronmiller abstains from driving on speed lanes causing potential conflicts with car drivers. A key to success also is to keep the horse and vehicle clean and neat and collect horse droppings from the street – and have a well-educated horse as reliable partner, of course.

Photo credits: Family Kronmiller

Author: Therese Grosswiele

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2 Versions of Winter Pleasure

(1) fossil energy based in Bavaria

P1200147 fossil energy based

(2) fossil free in Switzerland – visit

Schulpause 2

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Relax and enjoy the jingling bells– in horse bus shuttles in winter landscape

What to do when cars are forbidden or impossible to drive? … but you have to transport ski equipment? Avoriaz in France is a place where you not only can see the alternative but enjoy it, too.

In this mountain situated ski area at 1800 m a.s.l. people not only want to ski. There also is the demand for comfortable mobility between hotel and skilifts, clubs, cinemas a.s.o. and to reach other tourist attractions. Since cars are forbidden, horse drawn sleighs are the right choice. There is a regular and constant service offered at Avoriaz during the ski season to carry luggage or drive people.

Avoriaz1 Avoriaz is populated during 5 months of winter. During this period not only the whole tourism branch staff lives up the mountains, but the horses as well.

Avoriaz2Crédit photo: E. Durand

To get an impression visit more interesting pictures at

And here you can see the horses in action

About 70 km south of Avoriaz, situated in the Chamonix area, the community of Megève also offers horse drawn transport services for their winter guests. Though horse carriages are a common view in the area, the specially installed horse shuttles build a new dimension of service. They connect the areas of the ski resorts of Rochebrune , Mont d’Arbois und Jaillet. It is not only an environmental friendly transport solution, for Evasion Mont Blanc – card holders it is a free service.


Tourists consider it as relieve not to be dependent on a car and spend time driving and looking for a parking lot in traffic jam, but take the ride between the ski locations as a fun part of their holiday and relax.


Crédit photo: D. Durand

The Megève community marketing has realized the attraction potential of this kind of vehicles. Humans love horses – and they enjoy the stress-free mode of transport in fresh, clean air.

Stress-free mobility – relaxed tourists.

For further information visit

Author: Therese Grosswiele

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Natural Horse Power drives out of Traffic Trap

Conventional problems when dropping and picking up kids at school or kindergarten: congestion by private cars, peak consumption of fossil energy with stop-and-go traffic, air pollution. La Chapelle-Gaceline in Britanny, France, shows another way.

In 2009 Nayak, a tall, friendly draught horse, was set on duty, in order to route children of the nursery school up to school canteen near the city council and to see them out to school. But that was only the beginning. Today Nayak is a famous full-time ‘public service worker’, together with two council workers, he not only transports the children of the school to the canteen, every day since January, 2010, but to the multimedia library or for promenade as well. Further examples of nowadays horse aided tasks are watering of public green areas, cleaning, transport of waste, distribution of the local newsletter etc. For rests during their tours, rings were fixed in several places of the market town to allow the tie of horses. What had begun as an experiment, has led to a long-term engagement.

transport scolaire Chapelle-GaelineSource: Jean-Leo Dugast

Since in 2011, when UNESCO inscribed French traditional equitation as intangible cultural heritage, the Britanny Region, driven by the ambition to preserve the Breton cart horse, has become a platform of creative ideas around horse supported community services. Thereby the village of The Chapel Gaceline acts as a center of ideas and initiatives, based on its will to become a true équi-city.

But Chapel Gaceline is not the only French community using natural horse power for mobility and transport tasks. A number of communities have set up horse-drawn services, such as Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, Maxéville in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Vendargues in Hérault, Thury-Harcourt and others. They have gathered experience in not only how to set up local horse-drawn ‘school-bus service’ but how to handle organisational, security and financial issues as well.

A 077Photo: Jean-Leo Dugast

For more details visit this FECTU blog from time to time and visit

Author: Therese Grosswiele

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Horse-drawn mobility in Europe – clean and sustainable

Starting from this year FECTU – as an alliance on European level dealing with natural horse power – wants to contribute to the EU endeavours to boost sustainability in mobility and transport. There is the admirable and stimulating campaign ‘European Mobility Week’ each year which was held as an urban campaign up to 2014.

Do the right mix‘Our streets, our choice’ – the EU slogan is valid not only in urban areas, but for rural areas and small cities as well. So we want to show examples especially from rural areas, where horses belong to the natural environment and where most of them are held. Their ability to draw all kinds of vehicles and equipment shall become a notable part of the ‘right mix’: the EU slogan ‘Do the right mix’ wants to help out of today’s car addiction and focus instead on combining different modes of transport – which choice wherever appropriate. Horses shall be part of it.

Taking this as a very inspiring approach we will use this blog to present solutions – all based upon natural horse power. Clean and sustainable.

So look up this page from time to time to find interesting stories about horse drawn mobility – transport of goods and persons – from various countries in the EU. They belong to the broad variety of non-technological actions in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in Europe.

We will start the series presenting a horse drawn school-bus in France.

Author: Therese Grosswiele

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Fectu at PferdeStark´15


PferdeStark7PferdeStark Mobility1
29 and 30 August 2015 in Wendlinghausen (Germany)
The PferdeStark is the European Version of the US Horse Progress Days.
Nowhere else in Europe you will find more modern horsedrawn machinery and equipment than at PferdeStark, and this not only in displays but also under realistic working conditions.
Read more:  (English, French, German)
PferdeStark at facebook:



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