Sykes, Jo

About the author

Jo Sykes was born in American Falls, Idaho, and lived near Livingston, Montana. She bought her first horse in her teens, and worked as a ranch hand on and off for ten years. Anything which had to be done on the ranch, she did. She also managed to attend college, going to MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana. To make ends meet, she also worked tieing dry flies in a fishing tackle shop, was a children’s librarian, an extra in a Western movie and a rodeo clown. She also wrote two books about dogs, and bred Smooth Fox Terriers. Her greatest love though was writing about Montana and horses: she hoped, through her books, to make her readers appreciate the virtues of the Western stock horse.

Finding the books
None of her titles were published in the UK, but all are easy to find in the USA, and generally reasonably priced.

Links and sources
The Stubborn Mare, dustjacket
A review of Saddle a Thunderbolt on The Pony Book Chronicles

Bibliography (horse books only)

The Stubborn Mare

The John C Winston Company, Philadelphia, 1957, 183 pp.  Illus Manning de V Lee

An aged man and a troubled youth fight desperately to save the courageous mare, Joey. When Justin breaks his leg in a hunting accident, Andy cares for the two invalids. During the bitter winter, the two lonely men develop a close bond of affection and respect which grows out of their love and concern for Joey and her newborn colt. But trouble still stalks Andy, and he is gone as swiftly as he came. In an effort to lessen his sorrow, Justin turns to Joey and discovers she is a natural-born cutting horse.

Chip on His Shoulder

Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1961, 186 pp, cover art Ernie Barth

Hamilton Roark was a troublemaker. Then he met a policeman he could respect, and dropped out of membership of his gang. Then he was arrested with the gang, and instead of being sent to reform school, offered the chance to go to Montana and start a new life. He goes to stay with Cal Stuart, a horse dealer, and there meets an outlaw red and white gelding with whom he
instantly feels a bond.

Trouble Creek

Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1963, 217 pp, cover art Brinton Turkle

Sixteen-year-old Ten Holland resents his stepfather, Dick Greer. Hired to help find young Alvin Brighton, who disappeared on a hunting trip near Trouble Creek, Ten is soon involved in a series of strange and hazardous incidents, including the unexpected discovery of a gang of poachers. The questionable behavior of Alvin’s brother, George, adds to Ten’s growing suspicious about the lost hunter’s fate.

Saddle a Thunderbolt

Funk & Wagnalls, New York 1967, 192 pp, jacket design the author

Click here for a review on The Pony Book Chronicles.

Bruce Hubbard is alone, and with his father in the hospital and bills mounting, his responsibilities are those of a man. He fights to  save the ranch from the clutches of Clifford Walterbaugh. Bruce’s one hope is to win the annual Cowboy Race, a gruelling test of a horse’s speed and endurance over four miles.


Wolf Dog of Ambush Canyon
Rinehart & Winston, 1959

Leashed Lightning
Rinehart & Winston, 1969