Ponies, ponies, ponies
Signet, pb, 1990
19 year old Diana Winston can ride, but doesn’t have the money to train or compete, so she
works at a show stable, until the owner’s daughter, jealous of Diana, makes her lose her job by
making it look as if she injured a valuable stallion. A stable hand, Steve Rodriguez, is convinced
of Diana’s talent; buys the stallion, heals him and trains Diana to ride him. She triumphs on the
Grand Prix circuit; is pursued and pursues various men and at last finds love with a surgeon who
leaves his wife for her.
Ainslie Sheridan was born in Long Island, New York, and was horse mad pretty much from the word go. Although she didn’t have a horse of her own, she managed to learn to ride, and leased a horse called Red, owned by the family of the manager of Bethpage State Park’s grounds: at least she did until she and Red galloped across the park’s golf course. Educated at Hamilton College, she was also a keen photographer, which she carried on while she worked as an English teacher in Japan. Returning to the US, she joined the US Navy, and served in Japan, Hawaii, Boston, West Point, and Newport. She adopted a little girl, married a professor, had a son and decided it was time to stop travelling. Her first novel, Tropies, was published in 1990. To date, it is her only adult novel.
It features an Andalusian, as Ainslie herself began breeding them. She became interested in Natural Horsemanship after attending a John Lyons Symposium, and now runs Windflower Farm on natural horsemanship principles, teaching riding and sorting out problem horses. She also works as a professional photographer, and has written a children’s horse book.
Publisher’s Weekly said of Trophies: “Gaps in logic, portrayals of women other than the heroine as shrewish, and an undercurrent of class envy and snobbery sap this debut novel. Sheridan's most plausible writing concerns horses generally and Grand Prix jumping in particular, but this is the least part of the book.” The heroine, Diana, eventually finds love with a surgeon who leaves his (infertile) wife for her. Publisher’s Weekly, said “his wife's infertility exemplifies a "perverse and destructive nature,” which sounds deeply offputting behaviour in someone presumably we are supposed to admire. Or perhaps not. I will have to read the book and find out.
Finding the book: no longer in print, it’s reasonably easy to find in the USA, but can be tricky in the UK.
Links and sources
Biographical information on Ainslie Sheridan
Ainslie Sheridan on Fox Kit Press
Fox Kit Press, Acton, Massachusetts, 2006
A children’s book
Hayley has just moved from sunny California to cold New England, and finds a starving pony
in a field behind her house. She cares for the pony, but just as he’s getting better, she is
hospitalised after an accident, temporarily blind. A mysterious stranger gives her a kaleidoscope
with which she can see magical images of the pony.