Sisson, Rosemary Anne

Rosemary Anne Sisson has written many plays and film scripts, as well as scripts for television drama series: she wrote several episodes for Upstairs, Downstairs. Although she has only written one pony book, as far as I know, she seems to have been the writer of choice whenever a series about horses was planned. She wrote two episodes of Ride a Wild Pony, also for Disney, as well as the film of the same name, two episodes of Follyfoot in 1972 (Debt of Honour and The Hundred Pound Horse), and five episodes of Horse in the House, a rather loose adaptation of William Corbin’s novel.

Her one pony book was adapted by her from her screenplay from the Disney film of the same name, Escape from the Dark (US - The Littlest Horse Thieves). Set in Edwardian England, the action revolves around Lord Halifax’s mine at Elmsdale. The mine uses pit ponies, but the mine loses money. The new mine manager, Mr Sandman, has been brought in to make the mine profitable. It would have been easy to make him a cardboard cutout villain, but Mr Sandman is a man trying to do his best for everybody: to save the mine and therefore the miner’s jobs, even if it means the ponies must go. Unfortunately, in a poor village, there is no one who can afford to care for the ponies, and so they must die. The three children: two miner’s sons and the daughter of the mine manager, decide they must save the ponies.

Books adapted from films can be rather sticky affairs, but Escape from the Dark is a good read, well plotted with plenty of tension. There’s not a great deal of pony action, as the mechanism of rescuing them takes up more of the story.

Finding the book
Tthe book is easy and cheap to find in both its UK and USA incarnations.

Sources and links
Rosemary Anne Sisson writes on the differences between aristocratic behaviour then and now.
A list of the films for which she wrote