The Island Project – surving in the habitat of the Connemara

“Normally we bring horses to survive in our world, now it’s my turn to survive in theirs”

You are about to read about an adventure that will appeal to the pony girl inside us. Free riding trainer and equine behavourist Emma Massingale will live for one month on an uninhabited island off the coast of Ireland.
Just her and her 4 Connemara ponies.

I will live a solitary existence – with just my ponies for company. My challenge – and its huge – is to be able to work with, and ultimately start, (back) two unhandled Connemara’s completely at Liberty. (Without the use of any tack / enclosures or help).
This project will test and challenge every part of my determination, courage, patience and tenacity. There will be highs but – without doubt – many lows too.

Imagine – a 70 acre island – no inhabitants – no places to catch the ponies – no help – no home comforts, just me, the ponies and our relationship. It’s not going to be plain sailing – it will test me to the limit, it will test my ponies’ trust, it will test my ability to live totally alone – on a wild exposed island.

With obviously no facilities on the island Emma will live in a tent and cook on a camping stove.


Horses give you an incredible perspective on life. Starting a horse at Liberty is the perfect challenge, there is nowhere to hide, you can either do it or you can’t, there is no cheating, no shortcuts, no easy wins.
You can challenge your self every day and at every level. When you take the knocks it’s simply a case of picking yourself up, going out and having another go. The way I see it is, life is a pretty short, one time offer. When I’m old and looking back, I want to have great stories, I want to have inspired others to do incredible things using their own passion and imagination – always for the love of horses.

The project will be filmed. We are already looking forward to the result!

Connemara pony

island project emma massingale

Read more here.

Source and images: The Island Project with Emma Massingale.