Peel, Hazel M

About the author

H M Peel (Hazel Mary Peel, 1930–2013) is one of the lesser known pony book authors, probably because only two of her books were printed in paperback in the UK (Jago and Fury, by Armada in 1973). Both these stories are set in Australia, and are tales of racing and wild horses. Jago in particular is a powerful story which gives a strong sense of what it is like to be a horse. Jago, who starts life as a race horse, is made into a rogue by thoughtless treatment. He breaks out and starts to live life in the wild. His conversion into a horse in harmony with his harsh new environment is brilliantly described.

go to finding the books

go to bibliography

H M Peel’s other titles form a series (though they do in fact join up with the Jago story in Untamed). The Leysham Stud series features a grown-up couple, Ann Henderson and her husband Jim, and the stories are aimed at an older readership than the usual pony book, which is possibly why Armada did not publish any titles from it.

The first book featuring Ann is Pilot the Hunter, in which Ann buys the piebald Pilot at auction. He is, as she says, ‘difficult at first’: in fact most of the horses in the series are difficult, but for very different reasons.

Finding the books

Go to the titles available from Jane Badger Books

Finding the originals

The hardback books are very hard to find (though the two Pilot books were also printed in America – they are reasonably easy to find there); the Armada paperbacks do turn up fairly often.

Links and sources
Interview and correspondence with Hazel M Peel
Many thanks to Sarah Beasley and Jacquie Aucott for their help with the pictures.

You can read my interview with Hazel Peel here.


Leysham Stud series
Pilot the Hunter
Pilot the Chaser
Easter the Show Jumper
Night Storm the Flat Racer
Dido and Rogue
Gay Darius

The Jago pair



Harrap, London, 1959, 152 pp, illus by Joan Kiddell Monroe
Franklin Watts, New York, 1959
Armada, pb, 1973
Giete, 2011, 152 pp, pb

Fury is a Thoroughbred/Brumby cross, born into the Australian outback. He is captured and tamed by Jim and Mary, survives a fire which almost ruins the station, and then saves them all by winning the Melbourne Cup and then standing at stud.


Harrap, London, 1962, 172 pp, illus Keith Money
Franklin Watts, New York, 1962

Ann’s family think she is mad when she buys Pilot, a mean-tempered piebald, at a sale. She thinks he has possibilities, and with the help of Jim Henderson, she trains Pilot to be a hunter.

Pilot the Chaser

Harrap, London, 1964, 151 pp, illus Keith Money
Franklin Watts, New York, 1964

Ann has now married Jim and they have bought a farm they want to turn into a stud, but at first they concentrate on teaching Pilot to be a chaser.

Easter the Show Jumper

Harrap, London, 1965, 180 pp, illus Michael Lyne
As The Show Jumper: Franklin Watts, New York, 1965
Fidra Books, Edinburgh, 2009, 179 pp

Easter is Pilot’s piebald sister. Ann wants to show jump her,but Easter is tricky, to say the least, despite her undoubted ability. Then their lovely colt Night Storm is let out of his field by Magic the Shetland, and disappears.


Harrap, London, 1966, illus Sheila Rose
Armada, paperback, 128 pp, 1973
Giete, 2011, pb

Jago is a Thoroughbred racehorse, intended for the track, but he has a wild spirit and is sold on to an outback station. There he kills a man who tries to tame him, and Jago escapes into the bush. He eventually learns to live as a wild horse.

NIght Storm the flat racer

Harrap, London, 1966, 176 pp, illus Clyde Pearson
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, 2020, eBook and paperback

Night Storm is Easter’s foal, now recovered from his ill treatment while he was stolen. Night Storm is sent for training to Henry Matthew’s training stables, which have just opened up near the Leysham Stud. If Night Storm is a winner, he will be kept by the Stud as a stallion, but his temperament makes him difficult to race, and then before the St Leger, for which the colt is entered, there is a plot to dope him.

Dido and rogue

Harrap, London, 1967, illus Phyllida Legg, 174 pp.
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, 2020, eBook and paperback

Rogue is one of Ann and Jim’s breeding, but he is horribly vicious and they are almost in despair over what to do with him. Eventually they decide to harness race him, which seems to suit his temperament. The mare Dido becomes a polo pony.

Gay darius

Harrap, London, 1968, illus Robert Hodgson, 175 pp.
Jane Badger Books, Northamptonshire, 2019, eBook and paperback

Gay Darius is a welcome addition to Ann and Jim Henderson’s stock at the Leysham Stud Farm, but beautiful though the palomino is, he creates problems. He’s a star gazer, which doesn’t meld particularly well with Ann’s desire to train the horse for dressage. Added to the equine problems, O’Hara, father of their groom, has now escaped from prison, and is intent on revenge on the person who put him there: Ann.


Harrap, London,1969, 133pp, illus Mortelmans

Ann and Jim have gone to Australia. They see the wild and beautiful horse Jago, and eventually Ann forms enough of a bond with the horse for the couple to think of using the horse for breeding.


The Revised Pocket Dictionary of the Horse
Tabb House, 2000, illus Michael Bowkett & Susan Cutting
(Previously printed as Pocket Dictionary of the Horse, Abson 1978)