Petersen-Schaefer, Karin

About the author

Karin Petersen-Schaefer was born in Melbourne in 1955, and moved to Sydney, where her pony books are based, in 1982. She worked with handicapped children before working as a database manager in the Sydney Melanoma Unit, and has been involved with horses for as long as she can remember.

Her horse, Miss Moo, features in Dawn Ride, and many of the people and animals: Melody, Katy, Heather, Issy, Phillip and Debby, and Erin, are based on real people. Karin Petersen-Schaefer is more upfront about this than most authors: the cover of Dawn Ride says: ‘some readers will no doubt have ridden at the Horses for Courses riding school – you might even know some of the characters and animals in the story – they might even be you! If you do recognise yourself, Karin sends her special thanks to you – or a pat, or a carrot – whichever you prefer!’

Karin Petersen-Schaefer has also written an adult novel, scientific papers and articles for Australian Horse News. Besides horses (‘A life without horses is simply impossible to imagine,’ she says), she is also interested in Australian history, feminist poetics, children, and the bagpipes.

Finding the books
If you want to read her books, you are alas in for a struggle. Her adult novel (The Act of Love) is very easy to find, but neither of the pony books are: they are very rare indeed.

Links and sources
Covers of Karin Petersen-Schaefer’s books
Many thanks to Danyele Foster for the information in this section.

Bibliography (pony books only)

Dawn Ride

Hodder and Stoughton, NSW, 1993, 143pp. 

Melody and her mother are leaving England to live in Australia. Because of a family tragedy, Melody has not been able to ride, but when they move to Sydney, she starts riding at Horses for Courses. She and her friend Katy train for the dawn ride, but they have spoilt Bronwyn to contend with.


Hodder Headline Australia Pty Ltd, NSW, 1994, 171 pp.  

Melody and her friends are going to enter a gymkhana at the local riding school, but the competitive spirit takes over, and their lives change.