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Ruby Ferguson: Jill Enjoys Her Ponies (Jill and the Runaway)

Jill is sunk in gloom. All her plans have been utterly ruined. She cannot ride at Chatton Show because she has hurt her wrist swinging the hen bucket. But although she has to miss the show, Jill doesn’t remain downcast for long, because the summer holidays stretch before her and her friends. They’ll help organise the fete at Blossom Hall, for a start. Then Dinah Dean appears: a neglected child who is desperate to ride, and who produces some very conflicted emotions in Jill. Jill’s conscience tells her to help Dinah, but Dinah is, frankly, embarrassing. But despite herself, Jill helps Dinah, which results in some very unexpected events.

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Jill has hurt her wrist, and cannot ride in Chatton Show. She decides not to go at all, and has a thoroughly miserable day. When the Lowes drop Mrs Crewe off from the show, Mrs Lowe tells Jill a friend of hers will be in touch: the letter duly arrives, and is propped on the coffee pot, which spreads its contents over the table. Jill is invited to Blossom Hall. She goes to Mrs Darcy’s to practise, and meets Dinah Dean when she gives her a lesson, for which Dinah cannot pay. After being initially horrified, Jill feels sorry for Dinah, who has to keep house for her father, and gives her her outgrown riding gear.

Mrs Whirtley wants Jill and various horsey others to organise a fete and gymkhana at her home, Blossom Hall. At the next meeting, Jill’s cousin Cecila turns up. Jill is to ride Mrs Darcy’s Sandy Two in the Hack Class. Jill has another fit of feeling sorry for Dinah, and takes her on a hack into the woods, where she shows her a secret glade. Dinah then disappears, but she has taken some ponies with her. Jill realises where she must have gone, and takes her some food: it turns out that Dinah has rescued the ponies from slaughter. Jill visits the Cholly-Sawcutt establishment, and is offered a job by the Colonel when she finishes school. The Blossom Hall gymkhana goes well; Jill wins on Sandy Two. Just after the closing speeches, Dinah rides into the ring with the three ponies. Dinah’s father sees the error of his ways, and she is to go to boarding school, about which she is delighted. This book was re-titled by Knight in their late 1980s version. Why I am not quite sure: maybe they felt the new title was more exciting.

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Printing history of Jill Enjoys Her Ponies

Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1954, illus Caney
Super Hampton Library, date uncertain, illus Caney
Armada, 1963, cover Mary Gernat, illus Caney
Armada, 1970/1, cove uncredited
Knight, 1970s, cover W D Underwood, internal illustrations Bonar Dunlop
Hodder, 1974, hardback with photographic cover, frontis Elisabeth Grant
Knight, 1980s (date uncertain), cover David Cox Studios, illus Bonar Dunlop
Knight, later 1990s printing, uncertain date
Knight, 1993
Hodder, 1996, cover Adrian Lascom
Fidra Books, Edinburgh, 2013, illus Caney





  Author: Ruby Ferguson







Year published

London, 1951




Ferguson, Ruby


Jane Badger Books