AN 'INSPIRING' student who is trekking from Germany to Scotland with her Shetland pony has made a pit stop in sunny Ascot.

Johanna Maria is hiking her way to Dundee to carry out some dissertation research for her University degree.

Being a student, 22-year-old couldn't afford pay £2,000 to take her horse Hechizo with her and fly over, so she decided to walk the journey instead.

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Stopping in Ascot for a rest break, Johanna said: "I can't live without my pony and I needed to find a way there. I couldn't easily save £2,000 so I spend Spring time in Spain working there. My dad helped me by driving me to the South of France and then on to the ferry across to the UK.

"From Great Britain, I continued by journey on foot with a cart of my luggage so it doesn't add weight on the pony's back."

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Johanna said her experience has so far been enjoyable and she has met some 'great friends' along the way.

Her pony Hechizo, which means Magic in Spanish, was bought when she was 18-years-old and he is her best friend.

Speaking about her travels, she said: "I have met some really great people and it has been enjoyable. I think it was just a three or five people who told me the pony couldn't do it. But I follow his rhythm of walking and when he can't go anymore we stop.

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"The heat was bad and we stopped after 7 miles but normally we do about 12 to 15 miles a day. We have also avoided big cities and have are doing a circle around London as we don't trust the city."

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The student said travelling has been one of her "best experiences of her life", but it isn't the first time she has ventured into the big wide world by herself.

Three years ago in Germany, Johanna backpacked for three days on her own and loves the sense of freedom.

She added: "I want to spend time with my horse, get to know agricultural practices along the way and just enjoy and take every moment as it comes. It's my agricultural life's journey/ pilgrimage.

"In 50 days hiking I didn't make any real bad experiences! All challenges turning out for the best... We always met the right person at the right time. It's like magic!
...the magic of my amazing pony!"