King, Lesley

About the author

Lesley King wrote just the one book, as far as I know. It was written while she was fifteen, and still at school. The title, The Horse from the Moor, is a bit of a puzzle: I assume it comes from the fact that one of the equine heroes, Starflleet, is a moorland breed, but I couldn’t swear to this. The plot is pretty straightforward: the club members aren’t much good, but under Colonel Maxten’s tuition, they get better. There are a couple of flies in the ointment: spoilt new girl Christa Maclaine, and Pam’s complete inability to ride her horse Starfleet. There is a cast of thousands in this book, but unlike Josephine Pullein-Thompson’s Noel and Henry series, also with a cast of thousands, there is very little to differentiate the characters. Josephine Pullein-Thompson has the gift of making the most minor character memorable, but that isn’t true of Lesley King. Only three characters: Ginette, Pam and Christa, emerge with any clarity, and the Colonel is just a cipher. No Major Holbrooke here.

Much of the action is fairly run of the mill too: with the exception of Pam, everyone progresses at their riding quite steadily, and much of the book is simply a recitation of who came where in various gymkhana events. There are a lot of events in this book, and none of them are, alas, particularly exciting. The thing I found most interesting was the fictional breed of Minderley horses, but they’re only mentioned in passing.

Finding the book
It’s relatively cheap and easy to find.


The Horse From the Moor

Brockhampton  Press, Leicester, 1965, illus Christine Bloomer
Children’s Book Club edition, 1965 (shown)
White Lion, 1976

A group of children in Polnesten have decided that they are pretty hopeless riders, and together they form a Riding Club to improve themselves. Then lots of newcomers move into the district, first among them being Christa, who thinks a lot of herself and her riding. As well as lots more new club members, Colonel Maxten and his wife also move in, and the Colonel offers to instruct the riding club. Under his tutelage, they all improve, particularly Pam on her wild Minderley horse Starfleet. Christa at last mellows, and the club holds several successful events: hunter trials and a gymkhana and a one day event.