Jill is at home on her own, save for her mother’s artist friend, Miss Webb. While Jill is sitting on a gate, Amanda Applewood, owner of the perfect pony Plum, appears and asks for Jill’s help with Plum, who is bellowing. Plum turns out to be bellowing with boredom. Jill stays to tea, and Amanda arranges for Jill (and Plum) to take her place staying with a family called the Locketts, who are entering a team competition and need Amanda to make up the numbers. Jill duly goes, only to find out that the Locketts have no idea Jill is coming, and think she is Amanda. Furious, Jill decides to pay Amanda back by being as ghastly as possible. She succeeds extremely well in making the Locketts loathe her, but in the end, for the good of the team, and because she finds keeping up the horrible Amanda act difficult, Jill is her real self.
There are a few hiccups in their preparation: Jill falls off Plum, Tom has a bad fall from Commodore, and Jane and Lolly fight. As the competition draws nearer, Jill is horrified when she realises that the program for the event has her down as Amanda Applewood, and she suffers agonies over the lie. The day of the competition comes, and they start well with the hunter competition; dismally in the junior showing, take all three places in the senior showing, do well in the games, and then Amanda turns up. To Jill’s surprise, no one is particularly bothered, and they carry on with everything cleared up. 10 year old Lolly ties for first place in the junior jumping, and Jill wins the senior jumping. By a whisker, the Lockett team wins the event.
Printing history of Jill and the Perfect Pony
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1959, illus Caney
Hampton Library, undated, illus Caney
Armada, 1964, illus Caney
Knight, 1969, cover Peter Archer, internal illustrations Caney
Knight, 1970s, cover W D Underwood, internal illustrations Caney
Knight, later 1980s printing
Author: Ruby Ferguson