Emma Massingale from Holsworthy, Devon, has arrived home safely after cycling across Europe with two ponies and a dog as passengers in her purpose-built trike.

Completing the journey of 1033.5 kilometres in just over three weeks, she says she is now delighted to be safely back in the UK.

Emma said: “Percy and Stanley, Inca and I have had a great adventure, travelling back from Switzerland and roughly following the River Rhine through Germany, France and the Netherlands. I must say that it was very different to how I had expected it to be and generally the roads and paths were much busier!

"Also in Europe you don’t see many horses or ponies out hacking on the roads, so when people came across an English girl with two ponies and a dog as passengers, we tended to cause quite a stir!

“I had this idea of cycling across Europe to bring a smile to people’s faces. Despite the language barrier, I’m please to say that it was really cool, as everywhere we went people were smiling and laughing and I could clearly understand that many were saying words to the effect of “Haven’t you got that the wrong way around?”, meaning that they expected that the ponies should be pulling me!

"At one point I was in a city with a bus driver and all the passengers on my left filming and photographing us and a tram on my right with the driver and commuters doing exactly the same!

“The ponies were amazing and soon took even fast moving freight trains in their stride, although when we started our journey they literally hadn’t been even been out on a road. Our routine was to cycle for an hour or so, then stop for two, so the ponies could get out, eat and have a walk around and I could recover!

"They seemed to spend much of their travelling time eating from their haynets or dozing. We also went on about 15 different ferries and it was always amusing to see the double take when I cycled onboard!

“When I was planning the trip I decided to raise money for Brooke, Action For Working Horses and Donkeys, in honour of all the working horses, ponies and donkeys that have been beasts of burden throughout the ages, including millions who lost their lives in many wars. I am pleased to say that we banked the money just today and it was £2000, all collected along the way.”

Emma concluded: “Particular highlights of our trip included meeting the new friends who flew in from across the globe to come and ride with us for a day or so on this mad adventure; cycling past windmills in Holland; seeing the wild Konik ponies grazing the marshes and taking Percy, Stanley and Inca swimming to a man-made lake in the middle of an industrial area - quite an experience!

“I just love spending time with my animals and feel that there is so much more to life than training in an arena, which is increasingly becoming the norm in the UK, as it already is in much of Europe. My motto is ‘One life – live it’. I always come back from these adventures feeling a bit deflated on re-entry, but when I look back in the years to come, I know that I will have such great memories.”

Emma received sponsorship for the journey from organisations including Mole Valley Farmers, Equestrian Cavallo Hoof Boots, NAF, Dengie Horse Feeds, Natural VetCare, and Ariat Europe.

Julie Edwards, Head of Communications for sponsors Mole Valley Farmers said: "Well done Emma. We truly admire your spirit and the fact that come what may, you always see these things through. You are an inspiration to all horse owners and bring a real element of fun to whatever you do.”

Brooke is an international animal welfare charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules, and operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The charity was started in 1934 for ex war horses abandoned abroad. In 2019 Brooke’s President is HRH Duchess of Cornwall and its Ambassadors include dressage Olympic Gold Medallist Charlotte Dujardin CBE and US horse whisperer Monty Roberts.