Sailing, woolly jumpers and local herds: Shetlands go on exciting adventure

  • Love Shetland ponies? Then you won’t want to miss footage of Emma Massingale’s recent adventure on the BBC’s the One Show.

    The Devon-based trainer’s latest equestrian challenge involved taking her two ponies Albert and Ernie back to their native Shetland Islands in Scotland.

    During the month-long adventure the ponies travelled around the rugged islands with Emma, running free with local herds, sampling local knitwear and even taking a trip on a boat.

    Ernie, who Emma has owned for four years and rescued from Bodmin Moor, is related to one of the first Shetland ponies on the islands.

    During the trip, Emma met the Shetland Pony Society and traced the ancestry of her diminutive companions.

    In the past, working Shetlands on the islands were used to carry peat and seaweed.

    Albert tried out traditional baskets, which ponies wore to transport goods.

    “They’re the strongest of all our native breeds and are incredibly tough,” said Emma.

    Historically, Shetlands would be moved from one island to another by boat, so Albert and Ernie had a go at that too.

    “We had practised on a local lake beforehand to see what they made of it,” Emma told H&H.

    “The first time we tried, Albert got his front feet on the boat but left his back feet off, but they were really good by the end — Ernie had a little look but then hopped straight on.

    “It’s a wildlife haven out there with dolphins and orcas, quite weird alongside the ponies.”

    During the adventure Emma camped on the islands and between liberty work, Albert and Ernie were able to mix with the local herd.

    They also wore their very own knitted Fair Isle jumpers.

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    “An amazing lady, Dorrine Brown, knitted them,” said Emma.

    “It took her six weeks and they were made to measure.”

    Emma’s Shetland adventure will be showing on the One Show on 22 February.

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