Trainer’s horseboarding adventure with rare ponies and a sausage dog

  • Trainer Emma Massingale’s latest equine adventure involved exploring the Outer Hebrides with her two Eriskay ponies.

    Emma, Noah and Storm travelled across the Scottish island chain, where the rare breed originates.

    Rather than riding or driving the ponies, Emma used a horseboard to get from A to B.

    Accompanied by Emma’s dachshund Inka, the trio explored the remote islands over a month, meeting the native Eriskay herds which live on the hills and negotiating the varied terrain.

    Emma spent time training the five-year-old ponies in horseboarding in preparation for the challenge and she said they took to the new experience easily.

    “The trip was about immersing ourselves with where the ponies come from,” she told H&H.

    “Eriskays are the most endangered of all the UK’s native ponies. They do a bit of everything — they ride and plough and they’re not so big that they need lots of foot but they’re bigger than Shetlands.

    “Historically they were a necessity, like a quad bike. They’re really tough and hardy and look like a Connemara crossed with a Highland.”

    During the Hebrides trip, Emma camped, catching fish from the sea for her dinner, and she said it was a fantastic experience despite the wet weather.

    “There were only two dry days, but it didn’t affect the ponies, that’s the benefit of having natives,” Emma added.

    “The islands are really exposed but beautiful. Some areas were tourist hot spots and I felt like a bit of a tourist attraction with the ponies and Inka in my bag.

    “Horseboarding is a bit like driving but you can go on your own. We covered about 12 miles a day — it was really tough on your knees.”

    Footage from Emma’s Eriskay adventure will be aired on the BBC’s The One Show later this year


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