Stafford, Ann

About the author

Ann Stafford was the pseudonym used by Ann Pedlar. She wrote two pony stories in the 1930s, and many other titles, some of them historical fiction. It might be that some of her other early works are pony-orientated. As they are almost impossible to find, I haven’t been able to find out yet.

Five Proud Riders is a good read: the villains are those traditional pony book baddies, the gipsies. It is probably the earliest example of the trekking story, which became a popular vehicle for pony book authors over the decades: it did after all make a change from the usual girl gets pony and wins the gymkhana plot line (Ann Stafford managed to get a show in, but does it at the beginning of the book.)

Finding the books
Five Proud Riders is very easy to find in its Puffin incarnation; easy to find in its American printing, and almost impossible as the UK first edition. Pony for Sale is also easy to find as an American edition; the Reindeer UK edition isn’t impossible, but the UK first is very hard to find indeed.


Five Proud Riders

Hamish Hamilton, London, 1937.  Illus Bobri.
A A Knopf, New York, 1938, 291 pp.  
Puffin Story Books, pb, 1953, illus Charlotte Hough

Jill and Andy Meadows, their cousin Nigel, and their friends Gay and John set off on a trek across the New Forest. This trek is supposed to teach them, and their cousin Nigel in particular, to fend for themselves, which they certainly do. The usual alarums and excursions happen:  Nigel’s pony is stolen, and they manage to thwart a cunning bit of espionage.

Pony for Sale

Hamish Hamilton, London, 1939, 306 pp. Illus Bobri.
A A Knopt, New York, 1939,
Hamish Hamilton, Big Reindeer Books, 1963 – revised.  Illus Marian Bryant

This is a story about Duster, a real New Forest Pony owned by the author’s son.

“Felicity, Peter, and Meg Morton, along with a school friend John, spend their holidays with
an aunt, who runs a kennel. The Morton children own their own ponies, but each holiday, John rents a pony named Duster from a local farmer. When the children arrive for the summer holidays, they find there is a new rival kennel, undercutting Aunt Mary‘s prices, run by an unscrupulous man named Mr. Hinkler. When John goes to collect Duster, he is told that he is about to be sold to Mr. Hinkler. The children then have to try and earn enough to buy Duster themselves. Time is running out, and their last chance rests with Aunt Mary’s top Scottie, Hamish, who is sure to win prizes at the upcoming show. But right before the show, Hamish goes missing.