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Ruby Ferguson: Rosettes for Jill

Summer stretches before Jill, and she has planned it to the last degree, but then her mother announces that the Cortmans are coming to stay. The Cortman kids, Melly and Lindo, are dog people, not pony people. They are good at absolutely everything, particularly things Jill is not. When Jill tries to impress them with her horsy prowess by taking them to a gymkhana, it all goes wrong. Then the Cortmans decide they want to learn to ride. They are bought an amazing pony, Blue Shadow, and decide they want to compete. What, as they say, could possibly go wrong?

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Jill has plans for the summer – lots of intensive equitation – but then the Cortman kids come to stay. They are dog people, not pony people, and have brought their dogs with them. Jill already has an inferiority complex about the Cortmans – they can swim, dive, play tennis…. and she hopes desperately she does well in the Queen’s Tracey gymkhana to show them she can do something they can’t. It is not to be. Queen’s Tracey is a disaster for Jill.

After Ryechester Show, at which Jill does win some rosettes, and the Cortman’s dogs win too, Melly and Lindo become interested in ponies. Jill gives them their first lessons, and then Mrs Cortman agrees to buy the girls a pony, and not just any pony – this is to be one of the best. Mr Prescott, a friend of Mrs Cortman’s, finds them Blue Shadow. Relationships don’t improve between the girls. Jill accuses them of neglecting their dogs now they have Blue Shadow, and there is a furious row. Then, while Melly and Jill are out on a paperchase, Lindo decides to give Jill a surprise and paints the stables, and everything within range, bright blue. Jill practises Black Boy endlessly for Chatton Show, only for her hopes to be scuppered when Melly and Lindo take him out without asking and he is lamed. To make up, Melly and Lindo ask Jill to ride Blue Shadow in the jumping classes. Jill overhears a woman saying Blue Shadow was sold because she had taken to bolting out of the ring; and this is exactly what she does in the senior class (which Jill wins on Rapide). Melly and Lindo decide they are going back to dogs. Mr Prescott takes Blue Shadow to see if he can cure her.

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Printing history of Rosettes for Jill
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1957, illus Caney
Armada, 1963, illus Caney
Armada, later 1960s printing, cover uncredited, internal illustrations Caney
Knight, 1970s, cover W D Underwood, internal illustrations Caney
Knight, 1980s
Knight, later 1980s printing
Knight, 1990s



Author: Ruby Ferguson

Year published

London, 1949




Ferguson, Ruby


Jane Badger Books