Akrill, Caroline

About the author

Caroline Akrill began her career writing for Pony Magazine, spilling the beans on the showing world and proving to be one of their most successful columnists. It was while she was writing for Pony that she started her first novel, Caroline Canters Home, based on her own experiences in the show ring.

She soon struck out from showing, and her books are based in the worlds of dressage, eventing, and film work. Her eventing series is one of the most successful horse series of all time. As well as writing, Caroline has run a riding school, bred show ponies, run a country pub, and been an antiquarian horse book dealer, as well as working for J A Allen, the horse book publisher, for over 20 years. She and her husband, James, ran a hotel in North Wales until they retired. She has now moved back to Suffolk, where she edits and prints the local community magazine and observes the horse world from a safe distance.

Go to finding the books

You can read my interview with Caroline here: starting out, the Fanes and much more.

I have done another interview with Caroline: Caroline Akrill on The Silver Bridle series

You can also read Caroline on writing the long-awaited fourth book of the Eventers series, Courses for Horses

Finding the books

Go to titles available from Jane Badger Books

The good news is that most of Caroline Akrill’s books are quite easy to find, and she has re-issued the Eventers series, Silver Bridle series and Flying Changes ebooks. Jane Badger Books has released the Showing series as eBooks, and the Eventer’s series as paperbacks.

It’s still difficult to find the original hardbacks of I’d Rather Not Gallop, If I Could Ride, and Caroline Canters Home. Flying Changes is easy to find in paperback and hardback; all the Eventer’s hardback first editions are now hard to find. The Silver Bridle trilogy is reasonably easy: the paperback and hardback editions less so but not impossible. The non fiction titles are easy to find. Not Quite a Horsewoman is still in print.

Links and sources
Correspondence with Caroline Akrill
Not Quite A Horsewoman (Allen 1995, 3rd edn)

Many thanks to Bettina, Hannah, and Dawn for all the scans


The Showing Series
Caroline Canters Home
I’d Rather Not Gallop
If I Could Ride
Inside Pegasus
Note:  this is the reading order, not the publishing order.  

Eventer’s Dream
A Hoof in the Door
Ticket to Ride
Courses for Horses

Silver Bridle
Make Me A Star
Stars Don’t Cry
Catch a Falling Star



Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1975, illus Elisabeth Grant
Knight, Leicester, pb, 1979, 119 pp
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, eBook, 2019

It is time for Caroline to show The Small Hunter – “a nice horse, but not naughty. Not deliberately so.” An added problem is that Caroline’s cousins think that the best way to show The Small Hunter is sidesaddle, and so that’s what Caroline has to learn, under the tuition of Mr. Marmalade, who “teaches all the best people”.

If I Could Ride

Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1976, 144 pp, illus Elisabeth Grant
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, eBook, 2019

Caroline is on a Studwork Course, but misses riding, and Simon, Sarah and Becky “persuade” her to leave. The stud has been hit by Contagious Equine Metritis: most of the mares are now barren, and the stud is finished. So, they will become a riding centre, and Caroline will be the Secretary. Against all the odds, the centre struggles on, and Caroline finds she likes teaching. This leads her to a
dilemma – whether to make a break from her cousins at last, or stay on and run the centre.

Caroline canters home

Hodder & Stoughton, 1977
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, eBook, 2019
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, paperback, 2021

NB: despite the publishing date, this is the first story in the series: it’s basically the series as first published in Pony Magazine.

Caroline has decided she wants a career in show ponies, and her cousins decide she is the ideal person to show Clytie, their show hack. Caroline is not so sure. Then Benjamin, the Show Pony from Hell, is stolen, by thieves who have not the faintest idea of just what they have taken on.


Arlington, London, 1981, 167 pp
Granada, 1984, pb
Armada, pb, 1990
Caroline Akrill, Suffolk, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2014
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, paperback, 2022

Elaine is determined to compete in three day events after she finishes her training. However, she ends up in the Fane sisters’ livery yard, and although she is
at first appalled, and determined to leave, the Fane sisters have a strange attraction. They, and Harry Sabin’s bay gelding, and the lethal grey bolter, the Comet, all conspire to keep Elaine where she is.

A Hoof in the Door

Arlington, London, 1982, 154 pp
Granada pb 1984
Armada pb 1990
Caroline Akrill, Suffolk, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2014
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, paperback, 2022

Elaine has her event horse, The Legend, but she still can’t shake the Fanes off. They are trying everything they can think of to raise money for Elaine to compete, and then Nick Foster, whipper-in , suggests Elaine apply for a scholarship. The process towards this, via the grey bolter The Comet, Lala Thornapple, and of course the Fanes, is far from simple.

Ticket to Ride

Arlington, London, 1983, 224 pp
Granada, pb, 1984
Armada, pb, 1990
Caroline Akrill, Suffolk, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2014
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, paperback, 2022

Elaine has at last managed to win a place on an eventing scholarship course. She leaves the Fanes with some bitterness once she finds out they still think they have a stake in her horse. Elaine’s father meets Lady Jennifer, with surprising results, but at the end it looks as though Elaine might have found her dream.


Arlington, London, 1985
J A Allen, London, pb, 1989, cover Jennifer Bell
Caroline Akrill, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2015, cover Jennifer Bell

Oliver Jasny has star quality by the bucketload, and it takes him from gymkhanas to the heights of the dressage world. However, his sister, Kathryn, finds that there is a dark, and ultimately destructive, side to all this success.

make me a star

Grafton Books (Collins), London, hb, 1986, 107 pp
Dragon, pb, 1987
Armada, pb, 1988
As part of Silver Bridle trilogy, J A Allen, pb, 1993, 305 pp
Caroline Akrill, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2015

Grace, an actress, gets a role in a TV series. She’s supposed to be able to ride, and she can’t. So, she has to learn, as well as convince her back home boyfriend and her family that she can act.

stars don’t cry

Collins, London, 1987, 109 pp
Armada, London, 1988, (this is stated as first edition)
As part of Silver Bridle trilogy, J A Allen, pb, 1993, 305 pp
Caroline Akrill, Suffolk, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2015

Grace arrives at Moat Farm Stables for a four week riding course. Her instructor seems on another planet, and the farm’s owner has met Grace before and didn’t like what he saw.

catch a falling star

Armada, London, 1988 (stated first edition), 111 pp
As part of Silver Bridle trilogy, J A Allen, pb, 1993, 305 pp
Caroline Akrill, Suffolk, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2015

At last the production of The Hooves of the Horses, the TV series in which Grace has a leading role, has started filming. The production is hit by one disaster after another.

the last baronet

Caroline Akrill, Suffolk, eBook, Amazon/Kindle, 2016

What could be nicer than a traditional English house party at a beautiful baronial hall in deepest Suffolk? Prospective guests may dream of giant log fires, squashy leather chairs, fine dining, twinkling candles and the chink of decanters, but will the transformation of a crumbling ancestral pile into a comfortable hotel be completed in time (if indeed at all) given the emotional and financial turmoil that has accompanied the renovations? And how can the guests possibly know, having organised their holidays for their own personal reasons – some sad, some desperate, some amusing and some plain murderous – that their lives will be changed forever by the experience.

Inside pegasus

Originally published in PONY Magazine, 1980
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, eBook and paperback, 2021

Her cousins’ equestrian centre wasn’t enough for Caroline. It wasn’t what she dreamed of. And so she strikes out. She will train to be a riding instructor. It is much, much tougher than she thought it would be. The siren call of her cousins is still there – will Caroline resist?

As well as rounding the Showing series off rather nicely, this book is an interesting dive into the authorial process. Much of it was re-used as Ticket to Ride, part of the Eventers series.

courses for horses

Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, 2022, pb
Caroline Akrill, 2023, eBook

There is trouble at Havers Hall. The house and stables have been refurbished and now the money has run out. Lady Jennifer and Elaine’s father are turning the the house into an upmarket B&B. Elaine and the sisters have been told they must make the stables pay or the horses must go. Something has to be done and Elaine has a plan involving a momentous decision about her future with her beloved event horse. But things do not turn out in quite the way she imagined. Only one thing is certain – there is more trouble ahead…