Charlton, Moyra

About the author

Moyra Charlton (Yvonne Moyra Graham Charlton) was one of the earliest pony story writers, as well as quite possibly the youngest. Tally Ho was begun when she was just eleven. As well as her horse stories, she also wrote historical novels and a dog story. The books are all beautifully illustrated, two by Gilbert Holiday, who illustrated her The Midnight Steeplechase and Three White Stockings.

Her first book, Tally Ho, was started just after her eleventh birthday, and finished ten months later. The story came from her own experience – the only assistance she needed was apparently that of a dictionary. Moyra Charlton wrote several other pony books, but in later life wrote historical fiction. The Midnight Steeplechase was based on the H Alken prints celebrating the first Midnight Steeplechase in 1839, which Moyra learned about through her brother.

He went away to school and became fag for the Captain of his House, who had a set of the prints in his study. When the Captain left, he held an auction of things he no longer wanted (as was the custom at the school). Moyra’s brother at last plucked up the courage to ask how much the prints were, as he only had five shillings left. He bought the prints for five shillings, and hung them in his room, which was where his sister saw them, aged 12, on a visit. The book was started shortly afterwards.

Finding the books
All her pony titles are reasonably easy to find, and are not generally too expensive. The Midnight Steeplechase has crept up in price over the past few years. Echoing Horn is the most expensive of her titles.

Tally Ho, The Midnight Steeplechase

Bibliography (horse books only)

tally ho

Putnam, 1930, illus Lionel Edwards

Tally Ho is an Irish hunter, and the story follows him from a colt running wild with the herd on the hills, and it ends with the old broken winded hunter returning to freedom on the hills after an eventful life of hunting, racing and hacking.

For copyright reasons I don’t show covers by Lionel Edwards

the midnight steeplechase

Methuen, 1932, illus Gilbert Holiday

This is about the daily life of a group of children and their ponies living in the country. They hold a gymkhana, hunt, and have a gallop across country by moonlight, which is repeated 10 years later.


Putnam, 1933, illus Gilbert Holiday

Three White Stockings was based on a true story, and everything from the time Chum leaves the remount depot is true. He was a great jumper, once taking off from the bed of a stream over a three foot bar with a strand of barbed wire another foot above it; and he barely scratched himself.  He becomes a point to
pointer, but doesn’t always win

the echoing horn

Putnam, 1939, illus Lionel Edwards

The blurb: “The origins of Echoing Horn is suggested by the verses which are printed at the front of the book. They were written immediately after the crisis of September 1938. That crisis passed, as other crises have passed before, but in that mood the author wrote the narrative which follows… Each of its five chapters contains one of those never-to-be-forgotten experiences that are told when sportsmen get together, or are re-lived in memory when sporting days are over… successes and failures in the hunting field, and on turf and moor. In another sense, too, this is a book of echoes for, from year to year, conditions are changing and old sporting traditions can no longer be carried in from father to son.”

For copyright reasons I don’t show covers by Lionel Edwards


Methuen, 1948, illus Lionel Edwards

Set in Elizabethan London, this isn’t really a pony story:  there is some horse content, and the illustrations are by Lionel Edwards – always a bonus. This is the story of Venetia Mortimer and her brother Peregrine, sent down to Cornwall to spend the summer at Pendellion after their father is arrested. They ride and hunt,
and see something of the preparations for the Armada, and form a Fellowship of the Table Round.

For copyright reasons I don’t show covers by Lionel Edwards