Classic pony books
There are 17 titles out now, and coming up are:
- December: Joanna Cannan
I Wrote a Pony Book; Gaze at the Moon
January: Marjorie Mary Oliver & Eva Ducat
Sea Ponies, Ponies & Caravans, The Ponies of Bunts
February: Josephine Pullein-Thompson
All Change, Pony Club Camp, One Day Event
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Hazel M Peel
Darius the Three-Day Eventer
Hazel M Peel’s Leysham Stud books are notoriously difficult for the collector to find, and Darius has been one of the hardest. Renamed (yes, it was Gay Darius) it’s now available again as a paperback as well as an eBook.
Hazel M Peel didn’t come from a moneyed background. She knew what it was to be hungry, and everything she had, she’d fought for. In one stable she worked in, she ate the horses’ food because she was so hungry. She never lost her fighting spirit, and it survives in her books.
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Author Jane Badger
Heroines on Horseback
The pony book galloped onto the children’s book scene with a flick of its rosetted bridle, and has remained a fixture ever since. Brave girls and nervous ones, scruffy ponies and ornaments of the show ring cantered through pony tale after pony tale, all fallen upon by an audience desperate to read anything that reflected their own passion for the pony.
Like her sisters, Diana Pullein-Thompson (1925–2015) was best known for her pony books. Her first solo pony book was I Wanted a Pony (1946), which followed It Began with Picotee, written with her sisters.
Patricia Leitch (1933–2015) had a varied career, before she settled down to writing. Thanks to her Jinny series, she is a must-read author if you want to do a serious study of how the pony book genre developed.
Pony book authors don’t tend to do humour: perhaps it’s the undercurrent of morality that underpins most of the genre (you must take proper care of your pony ), but the pony book that makes you laugh out loud is rare.
Marianne Mjelva is a Norwegian author, who learned to ride when she was right. When she was 10, she wrote in her diary: ‘When I grow up I’m going to be a dog owner, a horse owner and a writer.’ She’s done all of those.
Books, Mud and Compost. And Horses. Read my blog here.
About Jane Badger
I’m a freelance writer, editor and proof reader. I’ve written Heroines on Horseback (2013), a gallop through the pony book in children’s fiction, and have written the world’s largest website on equine literature.
- My earliest horse memory is being bitten on the arm by a piebald who lived in the field at the end of our garden. It did not put me off.