Country Life, 1960, illus John Lobban
This is the story of Tess Gaynor and her mare, Dancing Lady. Not that Dancing Lady really is her mare, because officially she belongs to the horse-dealer appropriately called ‘The Pig’. And ‘The Pig’ also owns Blossom Vale, the riding stables that Tess runs with her older sister, Faith. In fact, the large shadow of ‘The Pig’ hangs menacingly over Blossom Vale, increasingly so after Faith’s accident, which causes all the work and responsibility to fall on Tess’s youthful shoulders.
Luckily Tess is a girl of rare spirit and luckily, too, she has some good friends – Ralph and Heather and John (the rather awkward boy nicknamed ‘Patience -on-a-Monument’) and Alec, the self-possessed and spoilt daughter of the wealthy Ingrams at Hambledown House, whose elegant mother regards Tess as a rather grubby and horse-mad little girl who is no suitable friend for Alec. After all, their introduction had hardly been propitious, thanks to the deplorable behaviour of Theodora, the goat …
Tess is determined to make enough money to buy Dancing Lady and the only way she can do this is to win prizes jumping at shows. She has her moments of triumph and other moments of near-disaster, but she is kept going by the fact that she does indeed have something to jump for – her beloved Lady. The young author, Elizabeth Moore, has ridden since she was a child and has a deep understanding of horses and those who ride and love them. Young readers will learn something from her book while enjoying a lively and fast-moving story.”