Ponies, ponies, ponies


British Pony Books Home

Lucy Daniels is a publisher’s construct: the epic (and very popular) series of Animal Ark books for which the name is best known were written by several different authors. Like other successful series (Heartland, for example) it was created by Working Partners Ltd, who create a series concept and author identity and then farm it out to several different writers.

Ben Baglio, an American book packager, and Rod Ritchie, managing director of Hodder before it merged with Headline, were responsible for the concept after Baglio had in mind an “idealised setting that harked back to those non-existent golden days when everyone knew each other, but nobody pried. I also had in mind a middle-American view of England as thatched cottages, but without the caricature, as I thought this might attract US sales."

The name Lucy Daniels was chosen because they wanted a woman author: Lucy was the name of a Hodder editor, and Daniels was chosen so the books would sit next to Colin Dann’s successful Farthing Wood books.

The Animal Ark series’ heroine is Mandy Hope, who lives with her veterinary surgeon parents. This situation means there are always new animals appearing, with interesting stories to be told: there are at least 60 titles so far.

There is plenty of information out there about the Animal Ark series; what I’ve done in this section is pulled out the titles which are specifically about horses and ponies. There have been several spin offs from the main series: Little Animal Ark is aimed at younger readers; Animal Ark Hauntings capitalises on the current desire for the supernatural in children’s books.

One of the Lucy Daniels series is just about ponies: the Perfect Ponies trilogy features Josie Grace, who has to find homes for the horses at her family’s riding school now it has closed.

“Lucy Daniels” has a biography on the Hodder site: I assume this is because Hodder don’t want to upset their readers by admitting Lucy doesn’t actually exist. It is possible to identify who wrote individual titles in the series by checking the copyright page of each book: “Special thanks to....” refers to the author. It would be an interesting project to trace every title and check the authors. Some American titles (eg Mustang in the Mist) appear under the name Ben M Baglio rather than Lucy Daniels.

Finding the books: many are still in print. All are easy to find, and generally reasonably priced. Some titles were changed for the American market.

Sources and links

Hodder on Lucy Daniels, and the Animal Ark site

An interview with Lucy Daniels

The Lucy Daniels authors, The Guardian, 22nd March, 2000

Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood and Annette York for their help with the photographs.

Known Animal Ark authors:

Helen Magee

Jennie Walters

Jenny Oldfield

Sue Welford

Ben M Baglio

Lucy Daniels

Animal Ark

Donkey on the Doorstep

Horse in the House

Pony in the Porch

Shetland in the Shed

Foals in the Field

Mare in the Meadow

Animal Ark Holiday Specials

Ponies at the Point

Pony in the Post

Stallion in the Stable

Little Animal Ark

The Party Pony

The Friendly Foal

Perfect Ponies



Animal Ark Pets

Pony Parade

Donkey Derby

Foal Frolics

Animal Ark Pets
Summer Shows

Horse Hero

Animal Ark Hauntings

Stallion in the Storm

Colt in the Cave

Foal in the Fog

Other titles

Racehorse in the Rain

Colt on Christmas Eve

American titles by Ben M Baglio

Mustang in the Mist

Stallion in Spooky Hollow

Pony in a Pumpkin Patch

Foals in the Field

Hodder Children’s Books, 1997, illus Jenny Gregory, 152 pp.

Hachette Partworks, 2006 (middle)

American edition, right

Author - Helen Magee

Twin foals are born on Drysdale Farm, and Mandy and
James care for them, as their  owner has no time to look
after sick ponies. Nick, the owner, has to make a
success of the farm, or it, and the foals, must be sold.


Horse and pony titles only

Shetland in the Shed

Hodder Children’s Books, London, 1997, cover art Peter Warner, 152 pp.

Author - Helen Magee

When Polly’s father goes into hospital, she goes to stay with the Hope family, and she takes
her Shetland pony too. Unfortunately, Polly is terrified of horses.

The Party Pony

Hodder, London, 2001, illus Andy Ellis, 63 pp

A party with pony rides is planned, but then one of the ponies is stung by a bee.

Donkey on the Doorstep

Hodder, London, 1995, illus Shelagh NcNicolas, 156 pp.


Andi and his family have to move, which means his donkey Dorian will be homeless.

Pony Parade

Hodder, London, 1997, illus Paul Howard, 121 pp.

Mandy’s new neighbour Paul gets her help in choosing a pony from a local sanctuary. Because
the pony is in very bad shape, people get the wrong idea and think Paul is responsible.

Pony in the Porch

Knight Books, London, 1994, illus Shelagh McNicholas,

Cover Peter Warner, 150 pp.

Hodder Children’s Books, 2001, pb, 150 pp. (Right)


The only thing Mandy Hope likes about Susan Collins
is Prince, her pony. Susan is stuck up, and determined
to win at show jumping at all costs. Can Mandy rescue

Ponies at the Point

Hodder, London, 1998, 160 pp.

The Hopes and their friend James are on holiday in Ireland, where they find wild ponies on the
beach. A foal has on a headcollar, cruelly cutting into her head.

Horse in the House

Hodder, London, 1998, illus Jenny Gregory, 168 pp.

Mr Bennett has to sell his riding stables. It is turned into a campsite, but the holiday makers
report seeing a ghostly horse.

Donkey Derby
Hodder, London, illus Paul Howard, 128 pp.

Lightning, the fastest donkey in Welford, has just had a foal and so can’t race. Mandy has plans,

Perfect Ponies

(Faith, Hope and Charity)

Hodder, London, 1999

Single volume containing all the stories in the Perfect Ponies series.

Pony in the Post

Hodder, London, 1999, Ann Baum, 156 pp

The surgery gets an unwanted miniature pony, and Mandy has to try and find out who she
belongs to.

Stallion in the Storm

Hodder, London, 1999, illus Ann Baum

American edition, right

Folan’s Racing Stables is in trouble as people think it is haunted:  can
Mandy and James prove it one way or the other?

Sweet Charity

Scholastic, 1999, illus Tristan Elwell, 132 pp.

Scholastic, 2002, pb

Hodder, London, 1999, illus Ann Gowland, cover Richard Jones,
374 pp. (Includes Keeping Faith,
Last Hope & Sweet Charity)

Author - Jennie Walters

Josie has to find a home for the horses at her family’s
riding school now it must close. Charity is beautiful but
then she vanishes from the stables.


Last Hope


Hodder, London, 1999, illus Ann Gowland, cover Richard Jones, 374 pp. (Includes Keeping Faith,
Last Hope & Sweet Charity)

Author:  Jennie Walters

Hope has a lovely nature, but is very plain, so Josie doesn’t think she’s going to be easy to re-home.

Keeping Faith

Scholastic 1999

Scholastic, 2002, 135 pp.

Hodder, London, 1999, illus Ann Gowland
374 pp. (Includes Keeping Faith,
Last Hope & Sweet Charity)

Author:  Jennie Walters

Faith is the Grace’s oldest pony, and will need peace
and quiet in her new home.

Mare in the Meadows

Hodder, London, 2001, illus Ann Baum, 160 pp

Mandy and James are finding it difficult to give the mare Camomile the attention she needs.
Angharad should be the answer, but she doesn’t seem keen, and they don’t know why.

The Friendly Foal

Hodder, 2003, London, illus Georgie Ripper, 61 pp.

Mandy’s friend Helen has a new foal called Fern. They are just about to move
house, and Helen is worried Fern will be lonely.

Foal in the Fog

Hodder, London, 2001, illus illus Ann Baum, 151 pp.

Mandy is pony trekking in Devon and gets lost in the fog.

Stallion in the Stable

Hodder, London, 2002, illus Ann Baum

Horse Hero

Hodder, London, 2002, illus Paul Howard, 116 pp.

The police horse Marlow does a wonderful display, and this gives Mandy an idea for helping
her friend Lucy, who is worried about getting her pony Honey ready for Welford Show.

Colt in the Cave

Hodder, London, 2000, 151 pp.

Mandy and James have a school trip to an old mine. Mandy thinks about what life must have
been like for the pit ponies who worked there, and then she sees ghostly eyes....

Racehorse in the Rain

Hodder, London, 2003, 153 pp.

Mandy’s Dad wins first prize in the Christmas raffle;  a racehorse for the day.