Macgregor-Morris, Pamela

About the author

Pamela Macgregor-Morris was born in London in 1925. When she was five, her family bought a weekend house near Goodwood. Pamela acquired a pony and was ‘hooked on the horse’ for life. In 1946, the family moved to Dartmoor, where Not Such a Bad Summer is set. There Pamela wrote her first books, as well as starting to write for Horse and Hound. She carried on her journalistic career by becoming assistant to The Times’s equestrian and polo correspondent John Board, whom she succeeded in 1956. She bred hunters before running a stud of riding ponies with her husband. Pamela Macgregor-Morris had wide-ranging interests: her books include titles on circuses, the Hunters’ Improvement Society and many general equine titles, as well as her pony books.

Macgregor-Morris wrote eight pony books. Lionel Edwards illustrated most of them: Sheila Rose did Not Such a Bad Summer, and Clear Round is not illustrated. Her pony book career spanned 20 years, and covered most of the genre: the horse telling the tale of its life; earning a living through horses and the classic holiday story. She also rode widely on many equine subjects.

Finding the books
All her books, apart from Clear Round, which was reprinted as a Collins Pony Library edition, and Topper, have become difficult to find. Blue Rosette is particularly difficult.

Links and sources
Biographical information in History of the Hunters’ Improvement Society


Bibliography (pony books only)


Topper

Noel Carrington, London, 1947, 143 pp, illus Lionel Edwards

Topper is the life story of a Welsh pony, from his promising beginnings through the usual descent and back to caring and comfort.

Note: the first edition states it was published in 1927, but this is a mistake as the author was only two atthe time! The true publication date is 1947. Thanks to Caro Newland for pointing me in the right direction here.

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    High Honours

    Witherby, London, 1948, 154 pp, illus Lionel Edwards 154 pp.

    This is the story of an international show jumper, Bottom Draw. Told from her point of view, it tells her story from her birth in Ireland. She is bought by the British Army, and eventually ends up in Weedon, where she catches the eye of a Major Davidson. He realises the horse has the potential to succeed as a show jumper, and a show jumper is what she becomes, and part of the British Team. With the outbreak of war, Major Davidson goes off to war, and Bottom Draw is sold. Initially she is a happy hacker, but then the family start to jump her. She is reunited with Major Davidson, whose wife rides the mare to glory again.

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    Lucky Purchase

    Gryphon, 1949, 149pp. illus Lionel Edwards

    This snippet is taken from the opening of Lucky Purchase: “…if only she needn’t ever see another pony again, much less have to ride one. The trouble with Jane was that, ever since she could walk, she had had horses rammed down her throat until she was heartily sick and tired of them. Her father was honorary secretary of the West Sussex, her mother was known throughout the county as a bold and straight rider to hounds, and life was just one round of horses – hunting in the winter, showing in the summer, with point-to-point racing and breeding thrown in for good measure. How she hated it all!” Lucky Purchase is that very rare thing: a pony book about a girl who does not like horses at all. Pamela Macgregor-Morris must have seen many of these poor children, dragged along in the wake of family enthusiasm, without any attention paid to what they actually wanted at all. In the end, Jane does develop a love for horses, but she does it absolutely on her own terms.

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    Exmoor Ben

    Gryphon 1950, London, illus Lionel Edwards, 144 pp.

    Alas I haven’t managed to read this one. The following snippet is taken from the beginning ofExmoor Ben, and gives you an idea of what it is about. “This is the story of Benjamin, Ben for short– an Exmoor pony, bay, standing 13.2 hands high, and old enough to have been at the Manor longer than anyone else except Wood Bee, Colonel Kennedy’s old hunter, who is awfully old, even older than I…”

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    Blue Rosette

    Witherby, 1950, 303 pp, illus Michael Lyne

    The blurb says: “This novel presents the story of Terence Malone, a young man with a love of horses in his blood. At Dublin horseshow he is offered a job as a nagsman and he goes off to England and becomes involved in the exciting business of dealing in and showing hunters. It is the story of a man starting at the bottom rung in his profession, who is determined by any means to make a success of his life; a man who is loved by many women, accepts the love of only one yet finds his loyalties divided.” – which does suggest this book is aimed at an older readership than her other books.

    Many thanks to Hannah for the information on this book.

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    Not Such a Bad Summer

    Latimer House, 1950, 152 pp. Sheila Rose cover

    The pony element is pretty minimal in this book: it’s more of a holiday adventure, in which a villain (who repents, perhaps not totally convincingly) escapes from Dartmoor and has to be rescued from worse criminals. The book is set on Dartmoor, where Roger, Helen and Tom are holidaying with their nervous aunt, for whom I do feel a sneaking sympathy. The children fear nothing and hurl themselves about Dartmoor looking for the escaped prisoner (with some feeling for the nervous aunt, or at least for not getting caught: much of the action takes place at night).

    Clear Round

    Collins, London, 1962
    Collins, London, 1963
    Collins Pony Library, 1973, no 2, 192 pp.

    This was always my favourite of my Collins Pony Library titles. Fiona is a horse-mad London girl from a resolutely un-horsey family, sent to do her BHSI at the sort of finishing school purpose-designed for parents to approve of. French, flowers and cookery are also taught. Here she meets Gavin, son of the owners, and more importantly, she meets the difficult youngster, Lucifer. Relationships blossom with both horse and man, and all ends in a thoroughly satisfying manner.

    Great Horse Stories


    Arthur Barker Ltd, London, 1961, 223 pp, illus Susan Pares

    Chosen by Pamela Macgregor Morris, this is a selection of excerpts from children’s and adult equine literature.

    Excerpts from:
    Will James – Smoky, Anna Sewell – Black Beauty, Gordon Grand – The Silver Horn, Charles Dickens – The Pickwick Papers, Somerville & Ross – Some Experiences, Marigold Armitage – Long Way to Go, Travels of Baron Munchausen, Richard Ball – Broncho, Surtees – Mr Facey Romford’s Hounds, Surtees – Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour, Whyte-Melville -Market Harborough, Spider Jacobson – Huic Holloa!, Lewis Carroll – Alice, George Borrow – Lavengro, Sassoon – Memoirs, Thorburn – Hildebrand, M E Buckingham – Phari, Joan Penney – Melka in England, R L Stevenson – Travels with a Donkey, Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens, Blackmore – Lorna Doone, Surtees – Handley Cross

    Short stories

    Midnight Adventure, Pony Club Annual no 3, 1952, illus Harold Beards
    Donald is going to Cornwall to spend the school holidays with his uncle -he learns to ride, and rescues hounds.

    Harkaway’s New Home, Pony Club Annual no 6, 1955, illus Harold Beards
    Simon has trouble settling his pony into his new home.