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