Student walks pony from Germany to Dundee to save on travel

Johanna Maria's pet pony Hechizo is carting her belongings on the epic 2500-mile trek to Scotland.

Student walks pony from Germany to Dundee to save on travel SWNS

A student and her pet pony are on a 2500-mile trek from Germany to Scotland, so she can keep him by her side while she studies.

Agriculture student Johanna Maria, 22, is heading to Dundee to research barley breeding for six months as part of her dissertation.

She couldn’t afford the £2000 flight costs for her 14-year-old Shetland pony Hechizo and couldn’t bear to be without him for such a long time.

So she set out from her home in Halle, Germany, in February, with Hechizo dragging all her belongings on a cart.

Her father drove her to Spain for a work placement – and from there the pair have walked around 15 miles a day, through rain and shine.

Staying with strangers, or camping in churchyards or parks, the twosome will have walked a staggering 1300 miles when they reach Dundee in October.

Johanna and Hechizo <strong>Image credit: SWNS</strong>” /><span class=

Johanna, who reached Northumberland on Friday, said: “I just love it. I’m taking every day as it comes. I really enjoy walking with my pony; just us two.

“I am not thinking too much about what has happened or especially what could happen, I am just trusting in the journey.

“It’s like six hours of walking I think or sometimes more, it really depends on the weather and our mood.

“If I meet someone who offers a place to stay and we are already tired I just stop, I think that’s the best way for us to just react spontaneously to whatever comes up.”

Johanna bought the pony – whose name means magic in Spanish – for her 18th birthday and has spent “nearly every day” with him since.

She is in the middle of an agriculture degree at the University of Halle, and her dissertation involves work on Dundee’s barley breeding programme.

The pair had done one previous six-day trek in Germany three years ago – but decided to embark on this adventure on February 28.

The pair have travelled extensively together. <strong>Image credit: SWNS</strong>” /><span class=

Her father drove her to Segovia, Spain, where Johanna worked at a farm for a number of weeks and from there, she began the walking part of her journey.

“We then went up to the French border and spent two days walking along the south west coast of France where I met my dad again and stayed there for a week,” she said.

With the help of her father and his converted camper van, they crossed the Channel and arrived in England on July 13, starting their hike again in East Sussex on August 1.

Strangers have given her places to stay, repaired her broken cart, given them shelter from the rain, paid for her to stay in B&Bs and given her meals.

Johanna hopes they will reach Dundee by October. <strong>Image credit: SWNS</strong>” /><span class=

Farmers have opened their barns to the pair and given them space to camp.

They hope to reach Dundee by the beginning of October where they will stay for six months.

“The whole thing has been pretty spontaneous,” she said.

She hasn’t yet found a place to stay in Dundee – but is confident it will be a place with comfortable stables for Hechizo to take a well deserved rest.

She’s hoping her dad will pick them up in the car, with a trailer, for some of the return journey.