We’ve already seen glittering fairies and lonesome penguins, and now we're delighted to unveil our fabulously festive Christmas advert starring two very talented miniature horses.
In the advert, which is promoting the H&C TV Everywhere online subscription service, the cheeky equine duo are found curled up asleep in a cosy stable. But soon the ponies are awake and off inside in search of Christmas presents. Under the tree they find the beautifully-wrapped Everywhere gift card, which offers a year’s subscription to the equestrian world’s favourite channel for a special discounted price.
The advert concludes with the pair watching H&C together on a laptop in their stable – showing off how easy it is to watch the channel whether you’re on the yard, at a show, or staying indoors during those long winter evenings.
The diminutive chestnuts are owned and trained by Emma Massingale, a renowned equine trainer and the star of upcoming H&C documentary Emma Massingale: No Limits. She is best known for working with her team of horses and ponies ‘at Liberty’ – in other words, loose, with no bridles or lead ropes to control them.
The ringleader of the pair is Albert, a three-year-old part-Shetland, while his counterpart is Ernie, a two-year-old miniature horse.
“When I was told about the idea I started to chuckle as I could see the ponies were going to be able to do great job with it,” says Emma. “We only had a couple of weeks of training before filming the advert, but they both had a fairly good understanding of liberty work already so it was a case of adding a few new skills to their repertoire.”
The clever pair of ponies soon had the routine perfected at home, but the challenge for them would be to deliver it on set, among all the distractions of cameras, a film crew and various Christmassy props.
“I did wonder if it would seem the same to the ponies, but when we started filming it couldn't have gone better, Albert and Ernie did everything I asked every time, without making any mistakes. I was extremely proud of them both and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do,” Emma adds.
The advert was created by the team from Equine Productions, who have worked with Horse & Country on a number of adverts, as well as the forthcoming No Limits documentary. “I saw a photo of one of Emma’s horses lying under a Christmas tree, and that gave us the idea for the advert,” explains Sam Fleet from Equine Productions.
“We particularly wanted to work with Emma’s miniatures, since they’re so cute. When we told Emma about our plans and asked if the various scenes were possible, she kept telling us it would be no problem, which was great.”
Sam describes the pony film stars as ‘super professional’, and thanks to them filming went without a hitch. However, the plans to film the advert on a scene-by-scene basis had to be altered because the ponies knew the routine so well and once they started, they wanted to continue and complete the whole thing!
H&C TV’s Managing Director Richard Burdett is delighted with the resulting advert: “We haven’t got John Lewis’ budgets but luckily we managed to secure the talent for our advert in return for a bale of hay and a few bags of carrots,” he says. “Our audience will know just how hard it is to train horses in this way so hats off to Emma and Equine Productions, as well as our two equine stars."
Until December 2013, Horse & Country TV had been available on Sky only (channel 253) but the launch of the Everywhere service has meant the channel is now available to a wider audience than ever before. The Everywhere app allows users to sign up to watch online via their computer, tablet or smart phone, via a live stream of the channel as well as On Demand programming and a 7-day catch up service.
Now thousands more equestrian fans are able to watch Horse & Country’s unique blend of equestrian and rural programming. The new Christmas advert is set to attract even more new viewers to join the H&C TV Everywhere service, with the special one-year subscription offer costing just £42.95.
Click here to take advantage of our special Christmas offer.
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