Documentary Idea -- "Horses, hairspray and hysterics: exploring the world of children and show-ponies"

by Rosie Jones
(Sussex, UK/)

Children from 3 years up are paraded round on overfed, inbred, artificially kept ponies wearing make-up (the ponies AND the kids) in order to win that red rosette.

Its easy to see these pushy parents as simply living their own childhood dreams through their own kids, but how do they justify the physical and emotional pressure put on both pony and child? Exploring the preparation for the showing, and following families through a show season, what extent of pony or child suffering is too much? How do the 3am mornings, long lorry journeys and competitive spirit bring mother and daughter together as a team? Can we find something really, truly beautiful beneath the obvious and easy attacks we could make on the ludicrousy of the 'elegant sport?'

Part 1 of a 2 part documentary series looking at 'Animals on the Edge' - gritty but wholesome and thought provoking exploration of animals in unspoken areas of life.

Part 2: animal psychics
Animal psychics offer owners a chance to feel closer to their animals than their own language permits. Amazing cases tell of veterinary discoveries found based on animal psychic clues, but are these cases fluke? Are animal psychics making money out of owners desperation? Are they deluded, or intentional con artists? What role do they play in their clients lives, and, even if they are not capable of true psychic connection, can this role be a valid one?

Could be many more parts to this documentary series - I am not short of ideas.

I am a horse whisperer - its not as crazy as it sounds, and in fact just refers to a commitment not to use violence in training. I'm 24 and also studying social anthropology. My interest and natural understanding of 'bad' horse behaviour led me to a deep fascination with human behaviour, and especially in areas where the realms of animals and humans interlink.

My aims in these documentary explorations would be to gain a deeper understanding, certainly not to 'sugar any plums' - but ultimately to find something in these 'strange' or 'nasty' people that I (and the audience) can relate with, something that adds a level of understanding to their behaviour, without totally legitimising it. I'm not out to poke fun or victimise peoples way of life. We are all only doing the best we know how to.

I have been involved in several small key filming projects for Intelligent Horsemanship, both for DVDs, adverts and short programs on Horse and Country TV (UK Sky 280) and am more than happy talking to camera. I'm the first ever female demo rider for the world famous horse whisperer Monty Roberts - this job is usually too dangerous for girls, but I'm a rough and ready toughy of a girl! I get on well with everyone and plan on becoming an outdoorsy, female version of Lois Theroux - we need more girls in there!!

So if you like my documentary ideas, please consider me to present this.
thanks for your time

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Oct 28, 2010
lots of great ideas
by: Webmaster

Thanks Rosie for all your fantastic ideas. I hope you will be able to connect with a local filmmaker to help explore some of these ideas. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you begin capturing footage of these pony shows so that when the right filmmaker comes along, you'll already be one step ahead with having some of the footage. You can buy a camcorder these days for as little as $120US (Flip camera).

Check out the "Videography Tips" page on this website to get some basic pointers on how to shoot great footage.


Thanks again for the great documentary ideas!

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