The Island Project with Emma Massingale

The Twelve Bens in Connemara - Photo credit: Author
The Twelve Bens in Connemara - Photo credit: Eleanor Mannion

Last week, for a mobile journalism project, I met the impressive Emma Massingale. Emma is from Devon and is an equine extreme trainer and a self confessed Roman-riding addict. Emma also practises liberty training which means training horse without use of equipment, bridles and saddles. You can see here in action in the clip below.

A couple of years ago Emma suffered a serious riding accident and broke her back. She took this as a big wake-up call and decided she needed to find a pony with a temperament that better matched her own.

Emma had encountered Connemara ponies before and decided to jump in her lorry in the UK and drive all the way to the west of Ireland to Connemara’s capital Clifden. She came to buy a Connemara pony and by the time she was making her return journey to Devon she had bought five Connemara ponies at the Connemara Pony Sales.

Emma has since found Connemara ponies to be sturdy, level-headed but also very intelligent and eager to learn and interact. This led Emma to the idea of The Island Project.

Emma will come back to Connemara in May and buy two new unbroken Connemara ponies to add to her team of five. In June, Emma and the seven ponies will be brought, by ferry, to a remote, exposed and uninhabited island off the Connemara coast. Emma will spend four weeks camping on the island and has set herself the challenge of liberty training the two new unbroken ponies – hopefully welcoming them as part of her team in the process.

Emma will film her progress with Gopro cameras while on the island. There will also be a webcam on her blog for the public to follow her progress.

I spent a wet and very windy Connemara Sunday filming with the very capable and passionate Emma Massingale. My preview mobile journalism report can be viewed below.

I can’t wait to see how Emma gets on in June – best of luck Emma!

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