Patricia Leitch’s Jinny books are Marmite: you either love or loathe. I only met the first two, For Love of a Horse and A Devil to Ride as a child, because the others all happened along once I had supposedly grown up. But I love them. It took me decades to catch up on them all, and for me, Patricia Leitch is one of the absolute best of pony writers. I particularly love The Magic Pony, with its unsparing look at love, loss, and letting go.
My own collection is frankly a bit of mess of different editions. In my bookselling career, I had all of them through my hands at some point or another, but managed not to hold on to a complete set of any of them. The good news for people looking for the books now is that they’re all available in paperback from Catnip Books.
If you want to collect a particular edition, I hope these blogs will help by having all the editions in one place. I’m planning another on the Catnip editions, the hardbacks and the omnibus editions.
The piece will concentrate on the three different Armada editions.
There are twelve books in the series, and not all books appeared in all editions, which isn’t a help.
First paperback style: banner title style
The first editions of all the books were published in paperback by Collins’ paperback edition, Armada.
As far as I know, only the first seven titles appeared in this format. The Magic Pony has a blue background and a larger font style for the title, and was the last title I have seen which appeared in this format. The titles weren’t numbered. The first six books all featured the same red-headed girl and the Arab with the wide white blaze. The seventh, The Magic Pony, has a grey pony as Easter.
This one is my Jinny – I think she had that look of skinny twitchiness that I imaging her having when I read the books.
The horse who modelled for Shantih was an Arab gelding called Sharukh, from the Harwood Stud.
Second paperback style: white horseshoe cover
All the titles appeared in this style, which introduced numbering on the front covers, enclosed by a white horseshoe. Oddly, the same horse and rider combination don’t appear on all the titles. They are there up to number 10, but number 11 is a painting, and number 12 is the Jinny and Shantih from the original printing.
The equine model for Shantih was an Arab stallion called Prince of Orange of Combe Farm Arabians.
Third paperback style: gold horseshoe cover
Again, all the titles appeared in this style. It is numbered, and each cover has a gold horseshoe. This was the first edition to use the same horse and model right the way through.
The model for Jinny is, ironically, much closer to my mental picture of Clare Burnley.
Part 2 coming soon …