About the author
Diane Redmond is a prolific author: she writes books in the Bob the Builder, Tweenies and Watership Down series, and also wrote Fireman Sam titles. Her pony books seem to have been at the start of her career. Cara’s Dream appeared as part of the Rosettes series published by Hodder in 1994, and the Pony Club series was published in 1995 and 1996.
The Pony Club series is about Polly, who moves from London to Cambridgeshire and finds there are ponies across the road from her new house. Her family can’t afford riding lessons, so she works for rides. Miss T, the owner of the stables, teaches Polly and soon realises she has real ability as a show jumper. During the series, Polly moves from pony to pony as she grows (not something that happens to all pony book heroines), and ends the series with her own pony at last. It’s an enjoyable series: the characters are well drawn, and the ponies and situations are realistic. If I had to pick a pony book author out of the 1990s, I think Diane Redmond would probably be it.
Finding the books
The Pony Club series is not now in print: it’s not hugely easy to find, but tends to be reasonably priced when it does appear.
The Pony Club series
Pony on Loan
A Rider’s Year
Cara’s Dream (Rosettes 4)
Hodder (Knight), London, 1994
USA: The Most Beautiful Horse in the World, HarperCollins Publishers 1993
Cara can’t afford her own horse, so is delighted when she gets the chance to ride the gorgeous Lucas. They do very well together, but their success means Lucas is sold and Cara encounters a whole raft of problems.
Hodder, 1995, Illus Linda Boddy
The first of the Pony Club series, Polly and her family move to Cambridgeshire. There Polly finds the stables and starts helping out. Moon Dancer is a new pony bought by the stable’s owner, Miss T. He has been badly treated, and the book deals with Polly learning to ride better and understand Dancer. Their success creates jealousy with the rich girl at the stables, Jessica
Pemberton, but in the end Dancer and Polly triumph and Jessica flounces out of the stables.
Hodder, 1995, illus Linda Boddy
Polly is still riding Moon Dancer, and the book opens with her losing a competition to Jessica Pemberton when Moon Dancer stumbles. It is more than just a simple stumble, and Moon Dancer is diagnosed with tendon damage. Polly is distraught. A new loan pony, Charlie, arrives at the Stables, but just after it is announced Moon Dancer needs to go away for an operation, Charlie’s owner takes him back. Miss T then buys neglected palomino Moly at auction. Eventually Polly takes to the pony and they do well together.
Pony on Loan
Hodder, 1996, illus Linda Boddy (badged as Pony Days)
Polly is having a wonderful time with the palomino Moly, but then she outgrows her. She is then found loan pony, Maia, a wonderful jumper. Polly’s attempts to compete Maia seem fraught with disaster, and in their last competition, she doesn’t manage to finish as she has to rescue another rider. Maia is then reclaimed by her jealous rider, and Polly is left yet again with no pony to ride. The book ends with Miss T
about to go off to the sales to look for a larger pony.
A Rider’s Year
Hodder, 1996, illus Linda Boddy
Polly has outgrown her earlier rides, but Miss T takes a gamble at the local sale and buys the skinny and terrified Jack the Lad. Jack turns out to be a bolter, but Polly conceals this from Miss T, as she is desperate to prove that Jack can do well. The inevitable happens, and Polly is careered off with down the High Street and ends up in hospital. Everyone says Jack must be sold, but Polly is given a few weeks’ grace to work with him. She works hard at giving Jack experience with nasty traffic, and it pays off.