- Dancing Shetland pony has racked up millions of YouTube hits
- Ad for mobile network 3 described as ‘best thing ever’ by fans
- Mari Williamson, the owner of the stallion Socks, told of her pride
By Kerry McDermott
Daily Mail (UK)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 9:29 p.m. EST
As the government’s austerity programme rolls on, and the UK tightens its belt, Britain is a nation in need of something to smile about.
And it seems a Shetland pony moon-walking to the strains of an ‘80s pop tune could be just the thing.
An advert for mobile internet firm 3, which sees a pony tapping its hooves to “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac, has been lauded as ‘the best thing ever’ by fans on Twitter.
The quirky clip has racked up more than two million YouTube hits in less than a week.
‘Seeing the dancing pony advert brightens up my day,’ said Twitter user @_5ophie, while @Lozzaap tweeted that it would ‘always be my favourite advert’.
Another fan, @Anthonyshaw_, posted: ‘Love that dancing pony in the new 3 advert’, adding ‘It’ll probably be in a lasagne by next week though’ — referencing the recent horse meat scandal.
Mrs Williamson, 42, who runs the Benston stud farm on Shetland, said she was amazed at the five-year-old’s new found fame.
He was even given the VIP treatment during the shoot by having his own hairdresser who attached 40 clips to his locks for each day of filming.
Mrs Williamson was approached last year to supply the ponies for the advert, which was filmed on the cliffs of Eshaness on the islands.
She said: ‘The reaction has been incredible. We have had phone calls and emails from all over the world. I thought they did a terrific job with the advert and it was surreal watching it for the first time.
‘Socks is a plucky pony who just loves attention and I think that’s why he was picked out to be the star. He spent a week filming the advert and he took it all in his stride.
‘It’s gone viral now with millions of people watching him but he is blissfully unaware and is keeping his hoofs firmly on the ground.’
Socks was prepared for his starring role for two weeks by local animal trainer Elaine Tait, who told how she taught him to ‘moonwalk’ by giving him carrots as gifts.
She said: ‘Since I only had two weeks in order to get Socks ready to moonwalk, I had to work quickly to gain his trust.
‘I had to encourage him to go up on his rear legs as well – usually this is something that a trainer tries to get his horse or pony not to do, but because of the choreography of the ad, it was something we had to do.
‘In order to get him to paw the ground, which is probably one of the most important parts of the moonwalk process, I placed a facecloth to the ground that he would paw.
‘Eventually, he would know to paw the ground without the facecloth being there.’
The moonwalking Shetland horse advert was filmed by award-winning filmmaker Dougal Wilson, famed for his tear-jerking festive films for John Lewis.
Local hairstylist Bjoern Larson fitted Socks with extensions and used luxury products on him for the shoot.
One of Mrs Williamson’s other ponies, Hugh, also starred on the advert, which launched during Coronation Street last week.
However, she insisted that despite his fame she will not be cashing in by selling Socks.
She added: ‘He has never been for sale and I won’t be selling him no matter what the price. ‘He’s a very special little pony.’
Mash-up versions of the popular advert have also been cropping up on YouTube, including one in which the Fleetwood Mac song has been replaced by Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and another which sees the pony trotting to the sounds of “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones.