Douthwaite, Wendy

About the author

Wendy Douthwaite also wrote under the name Elizabeth Wynne. She has written at least one Animal Ark title under the name Lucy Daniels – Donkey Derby. Her Polly series is about an Arabian mare, the Polly of the title. The books are good reads, and it’s a pity they’re no longer in print.

When I read Wendy Douthwaite’s autobiographical snippet on the back flap of A Very Special Pony, I was in awe. It says: “As well as managing a business, and writing, Wendy Douthwaite paints and draws, plays the flute, rides, runs for the local Athletic Club, sails and plays badminton, practises photography and, of course, reads.” This run through of her life failed to mention that she was also bringing up a family of a son and two daughters, and that both daughters had ponies. I admit it: I am an inferior being. I don’t do half that, and quite a proportion of that isn’t done well.

Wendy Douthwaite had always enjoyed writing, and when she decided to write a book, chose to make it about ponies. She wrote everywhere she could, including on trains and in bed! She still runs the book-selling business with her husband, but I’m not sure how many of the other things she still does. Maybe she has added more.

Finding the books
Not impossible to find, but they don’t crop up that often. They are generally, apart from A Very Special Pony, quite reasonably priced. If you want A Very Special Pony, keep looking. It does turn up at a reasonable price every now and then.

Dustjacket of A Very Special Pony



Other People’s Ponies
All Because of Polly
Polly on Location
Running Free


A Very Special Pony

Hutchinson, London, 1979, illus the author

Fernwoods Riding Stables is going to close, and all the ponies, including Sue’s beloved Candy, are going to be sold. Sue’s mother suggests she starts a Pony Saving Fund, and she does. It looks as though Sue will be able to buy Candy after all, but then everything starts to go wrong.

A pony at moor end

Blackie, 1984, illus Gavin Rowe
Republished under the title The Lost Pony, Macmillan 1997

When Sarah’s Dad is made redundant, the family has to move, and Sarah’s pony Franny has to be sold. When they move, Sarah makes friends with another pony mad girl, Sally, and they look after the neglected pony Danny. Then Sarah hears Franny was very badly injured in a hunting accident, and then when Sarah is out riding Danny she finds Sally’s favourite pony struggling for his life in a water filled ditch.

The christmas pony

Blackie, 1985, illus the author
Macmillan 1990, pb.  Not illustrated.  90pp.

A gentle story about 11-year-old Lindy, who is finding it very difficult to adapt to having a new stepmother, now her father has remarried after the death of her mother.  She and her mother had a plan for Lindy to save for a pony and buy a foal. Eventually, Lindy has saved enough to go to the local sale and buy a foal, but she gets rather more than she bargained for!

Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for the picture.

other People’s Ponies

Macmillan 1989
(appears as Summer Ponies in the Polly anthology, 2001)

Jess thought she’d never have a pony of her own – all she did was look after other people’s ponies. Then she looks after Polly, the beautiful grey mare…

Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for the picture.

All Because of Polly

Macmillan 1990, reprinted Piper 1993
(appears as Dream Pony in the Polly Anthology, 2001)

Jess now has her own pony, Polly, a grey Arab mare. However, it is not all plain sailing,
as Polly goes down with tetanus and hovers between life and death while Jess nurses her. Even when she’s recovered, Jess is out riding Polly and tangles with a runaway trailer. She is rescued by her friend, Beckie, who is confined to a wheelchair.

Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for the picture.

Polly on Location

Macmillan, London, 1995, pb, 92 pp. Cover photo Kit Houghton.
Later Piper reprint.

Jess suggests to her friends in the Edgecome Valley Riding Club that they audition for a
film.  It needs riders and poies for a nighttime scene of smugglers coming back from the coast. However, it all goes quite differently from how Jess dreams, and she and Polly play the starring roles.

running free

Macmillan 1997

The Edgecombe Valley Riding Club, including Jess and Polly, are going down to Devon for a riding holiday. There they encounter badger baiters, and it is up to Polly and Jess to save the day.

Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for the picture.

The Orange Pony

Macmillan 1998

Kate is worried that she will not be able to ride the orange pony, who is very difficult, particularly with other ponies, but she soon works out what she needs to do.

A Horse Called Polly (The Polly Anthology)

Macmillan 2001


Summer Ponies (Other People’s Ponies)
Dream Pony (All Because of Polly)
On Location