My Writing

I was a writer before I ever began publishing. As well as what feels like a billion and one blog posts, I’ve written articles, and books, and here’s a list of what I’ve done.

Recent writing

Happy Horsidays recommended reading: an interview with Jane Badger, HippoCampus (journal of the Equine History Collective), Winter 2023, email interview; questions by Miriam A Bibby

Playing chicken: the early history and modern revival of an ancient game, co-authored with Dr Timothy Dawson, Historical Practices in Horsemanship and Equestrian Sports, Trivent, Budapest, 2022.

I like writing about horses and history, and this came about because I’d done some research on a 1930s riding school in Roehampton, London. As a riding school child, I know this is as close as a lot of people are going to get to a horse, and I find how they developed fascinating. The National School of Equitation was a fairly short-lived affair, but its manager, Captain Waldene Edgar Bredin, was there at the introduction of polocrosse in the 1930s. When researching, it’s the people who get me. What were they like? How did they get to where they were?

Black Beauty, IBBYlink, Summer, 2021

Really I could sum this up by saying this book was, from my earliest childhood, part of my life. I wept over it, and the more I read it as I get older the more I am in awe of what Anna Sewell achieved.

My books

Heroines on Horseback: everything you want to know about the pony book in its glory days.

Heroines on Horseback came about because I wrote this website. The publisher, Girls Gone By, as well as republishing books, also commissioned non fiction on classic children’s literature, and they asked me to write a book on pony books and their history. I was very honoured to be asked, and had fond thoughts that the whole process would take me about a year. It took me years, and a very, very, very patient editor – the wonderful Tig Thomas.

One thing with writing a blog is that to a very large extent, you’re writing what you want. Writing a book was a completely different experience. I had to take what I knew and put it over in a format that was reasonably intelligent as well as accessible.

I almost gave up entirely when my chapter on Patricia Leitch, which I’d just finished revising and of which I was quietly proud, got eaten by my temperamental computer. The chapter was re-written but it was never quite as good and it remains one of these things that makes me quietly cry inside.

I am absolutely dreadful at selling my own books, I know, but Heroines has had pretty good reviews, and I am glad that people continue to enjoy it.

It’s available as an eBook on my PayHip website and via the usual sites.

Ruby Ferguson and the Jill Books: a look at Ruby Ferguson and her books, packed with info on the books, the characters and the controversies. A five-star Goodreads title, the book is only available via my Payhip website (and it’s free).

Jill and the Lost Ponies

There used to be a forum attached to my old website, and we would do things like start off a story and people would take it in turns to contribute a sentence/paragraph. That’s how Jill and the Lost Ponies started.

I am not a keen writer of fiction at all, but that awful decision that was foisted on Jill and Ann and the end of Pony Jobs for Jill to go off on a secretarial career had always made me sad. When I first read it, I had what I’d now describe as a gut reaction to it. How could this be? How could Jill, my heroine, the girl who didn’t conform, who went her own way, do this? I think if she’d always meant to study things secretarial, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but like many pony-mad girls, I wanted to work with horses. So did Jill. She was even offered a job by Captain Cholly-Sawcutt (who changed horses, the rat).

I have to say that my own decision to do a secretarial course when I emerged from university with a degree in history but no practical skills whatsoever, still didn’t make any difference to my reaction to Jill when I re-read the book.

The book sat there on my forum for quite a while, until someone on social media decided they would make it an eBook themselves. They were dissuaded from this course of action, and I thought I might as well do it myself.

I was very nervous about putting it out as an actual book because, well, it’s Jill, and she’s iconic. And yes, some people have hated it, but most people haven’t, and I’m glad about that.

It’s available as an eBook on my PayHip website and via the usual sites, and you can order it as a paperback too.

Jill and the Unexpected Horses: a free short story about what happens when Jill goes to stay with the Cholly-Sawcutts.

Jill and the Pony Club: in which Jill returns to Chatton (out of print)

Some reviews

Heroines on Horseback

thoroughly enjoyable ….. great read … the go-to pony book reference (Goodreads)

… not only is it put together with obvious love for the genre of the pony book itself but also for the authors who chose to write within it. Badger has a real knack for making the people behind the pages come to life and drawing the connections between them and their heroines without trying to superfluously interpret between the lines. That is where in my opinion the book truly shines – when it leaves the path of literary studies in a historical sense and looks at the authors’ biographical influences on their books. Anna, Goodreads

Jill and the Lost Ponies

Jill’s voice comes through as it ever did, and fans will thoroughly enjoy this … A great read for fans of the original series, but also for pony-loving children who are yet to discover Jill. Horse and Hound, 15 November, 2021

Last night I finished reading your Jill and the Lost Ponies. I can honestly say that It is one of the best sequels I’ve read… I love the way you tie in previous events from the Jill books and the way you weave the various characters into the plot. I love the way Jill talks to the reader, the comments she makes and the language she uses, because they are all so “Jill-like” and feel authentic to such an extent that it really feels as if RF is actually writing it… Thank you for a wonderful book. Kate, via email

This book is just amazing! If I didn’t know it wasn’t written by Mrs Ferguson, I would’ve thought she had written it. But more than being an impressively faithful sequel, it’s such a great story. Please, please, please bring on more of these books! And it would be fantastic if there were illustrations. Mousie, Goodreads

Jill and the Unexpected Horses

Short story but very cool, Jane Badger is carrying on where Ruby Ferguson left off, and for those of us who were pony mad kids whose heroine was Jill Crewe, this is heaven. Jane writes Jill just as Ruby did, its quite uncanny! love these short stories she writes of a late teenaged Jill, just fabulous. Kay, Goodreads

And also

Ten of the Best Horse & Pony Books, Books for Keeps, January 2012

The Peculiarities of Child Growth in Chatton, Folly Christmas Special, 2009

Introduction for reprint of Six Ponies, Josephine Pullein-Thompson, Fidra Books, 2007

Introduction for reprint of Silver Snaffles, Primrose Cumming, Fidra Books, 2007

How to Write a Pony Book, Folly Magazine, Summer 2004