Van der Veer, Judy

About the author

Judy Van der Veer (1912–1982) was born in Pennsylvania. She began writing after she was confined to bed on her parents’ 240 acre ranch in California after she broke her leg. Many of her books, including her poetry and fiction, were about animals and life on the ranch.

Her works were well received during her lifetime; the New York Times called her book The River Pasture “full of…. a deep sense of beauty and a keen vitality.” She wrote at least two horse books (quite possibly more – if you know of more, please contact me). I have included her non fiction The Gray Mare’s Colts here as it sounds such a charmer.

Finding the books
Hold the Rein Free is very easy to find, and cheap. The Gray Mare’s Colts is a little more expensive, but still very easy to find. Neither book was published in the UK.

Links and sources
Judy van der Veer’s papers are at the University of California
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987

Bibliography (horse books only)

Hold the Rein Free

Golden Gate Junior Books, San Carlos, Calif, 1966, 243 pp, illus Pers Crowell
Scholastic Book Services, 1966, illus Pers Crowell

Mr Richie’s Thoroughbred filly Mia disgraces herself and mates with a scrub stallion. Mr Richie orders them both to be shot, but Amy and Kiko decide to try and save them both.

The Gray Mare’s Colts

Golden Gate Junior Books, San Carlos, Calif, 1971, 131 pp, illus Bernard Garbutt

Non fiction: reminiscences by the author about the horses she’s owned throughout her life, from a gray mare and her colts to others she’s known. “Her account of these creatures – from the little filly, Colleen, ‘gay as a stick of peppermint candy,’ to Buc, the trickster, whose life was devoted to outwitting
his riders – comprises a rare ‘portrait gallery,’ presented with insight, humor, and the charm that is uniquely characteristic of all Miss Van der Veer’s writing.”