Monday, 31 December 2007

Ride By Night Christine Pullein-Thompson


Another entertaining read by the undeniable 'queen' of the pony books. I cannot think too many authors have had more works published than CPT (especially of this genre)?


A camping holiday in the Highlands (presumably) on ponies turns quickly in a battle against adversity to save the lives of two Romanian asylum seekers fleeing the Russian fleet. A little far fetched maybe but nether the less entertaining. However I can't help thinking it just an adaptation of her first novel We Rode To Sea. It is a long time since I read it but it also concerns a holiday in the Highlands (widely thought to be set between Fort William and Inverness) although this time it's a family rather than a group of friends and rather than being persued they end up persuing some Germans, who have two of their ponies, quite literally to the sea.


I am still mulling over the setting for this one too. Immediately Fort Augustus (Fort Angus) sprung to mind but there was a mention of it being by the sea and a beach so that cannot be. Mallaig (Collig) was also a thought and then they could have rode to Ayisaig maybe but I don't think this would provide a large enough town so I am a little perplexed. I know the sisters held great affection for Scotland and were frequent visitors so can't help thinking the town and village mentioned are real and most likely in the Highlands.


The story begins when Sheila and Desmond, who are bored and seeking some excitement, first think of organising a mounted camping expedition. Never did they imagine what drama and excitement was to follow! First the trekkers get lost, then they lose a horse and end up saving the lives of two Romanian asylum seekers, amid a barrage of gun fire, who are fleeing Russian Fleets.


In true CPT style it is quite dark in tone and not without it's casualties. One of the Romanians is shot, the children generally suffer from hunger and fatige and poor Jennifer has a nasty fall and breaks her nose. Tom Thumb, Ian's borrowed potential dressage horse, is injured but it is poor 'rich girl' Leslie, (whom turned out not to be spoilt and stuck up, as they had imagined prior to leaving, in the least) who suffered the most. Ching Poo (what a brilliant name!), her Peke, falls to his death down a prepice while escaping the Russians while her pony Raspberry also ends up becoming lame too.


Although I have pictured the the first edition with the beautiful Sheila Rose cover, I read a Pb copy which I have owned, but never before read, from childhood. I have found that there are a number Of Christine's books , which I own that fall into this category whereas I have read (and more often than not devoured) both Diana's and Josephine's books as soon as I have got my hands on them, in fact the childhood ones that escaped my mums recycling sprees were/are now rather tired and dog eared! The reason was summed up perfectly however by Jane Badger, some time ago in this excellent post on her blog, where she described some of her works as being outside her comfort zone. I had not really given the reason why, despite commercially being the most successful of the sisters, I had never liked her books as much as her sisters that much thought prior to reading this post. On reading the post it fell into place, as it was also outside my comfort zone. I didn't like the doom and casualties a lot of her books carried but also the subjects were sometimes out of the comfort zone of a pony mad youngster, after all I wanted to gallop on beaches and win rosettes and not be worrying whether I would escape from Russian Fleets!


Dark Champion Arthur Waterhouse


I seem to be having a run of choosing really good reads at the min and this one, although not in The same league as The Milkman's Cob, is also a well written enjoyable story. I have also come to the conclusion that although I like school stories, apart from No Ponies For Miss Pobjoy, school stories and ponies don't mix that well, which was further confirmed when I read the (in my opinion) rather forgettable Ponies At Westways recently. The blurb stated you want to read it at least twice, or words to that effect, but I think once was enough for me!


Now I've gone somewhat off track and must point out that Dark Champion is not a school/pony story. The Author Arthur Waterhouse, appears to have written a number of children's books, including some under the pseudonyms Vera Painter, but this seems to be his only foray into the world of pony books. I would hazard a guess that he did not really know one end of a horse from another as, as I found with Peter Greys Kit Hunter series also, although the story/ies are great there are rather large and gaping blunders where the horses are concerned, in this one the main thing is how the children gallop and jump Jim straight from the stable and cold. Warming up is never given a second glance and like Peter Grey's books it is assumed/taken for granted that all horses need regular good gallops and can be jumped day after day after day without getting fed up/soured. Another thing that struck me is how very much times have changed, this book having been first published 60 years ago next year (tomorrow...scary yet another one gone). I couldn't help but think all the time I was reading it that there was something rather sinister in Mr Martin and his son Colonel Martins interest in two young (ish) children, especially the extra interest in Brenda, but this is clearly a sign of the times and is rather sad really that the first thought is that the sad lonely old man must be a paedophile. I guess in it's era it was perfectly acceptable but I fear now he would have been persecuted.


The story struck me as almost two stories in one, one of which was a pony story. It begins as a lovely pony story, Framer Webster inadvertently buys a poor bedraggled black horse at an auction. When the mistake is realised, he agrees to keep the horse and condition it ready for the next auction in a months time. So Connemara Jim comes to live on the farm and immediately wins the heart of Farmer Websters daughter Brenda. In true female style Brenda can wind the opposite sex round her little finger and with David's help persuades her father they would like to keep Jim. He soon looks a whole lot better and it's time for the next auction, Farmer Webster tries to pay for Jim but the auctioneer won't hear of it so to please Brenda, David takes drastic measures and goes into hiding with Jim until the coast is clear.

Shortly after this episode their Father agrees to them riding Jim, and old Farm hand Danny, who saw his potential as soon as he arrived, becomes more and more convinced he is an Irish hunter and it is he who suggests the name, Connemara Jim.

One Gloriously sunny morning however a shock is in store for Brenda and David, as Jim is missing from his paddock. He is later traced as having made his way (via some rather fearsome hedges it would seem) to Red Hall the home of a rather fail old gentleman Mr Martin. Old Danny is delighted as it would seem his surmise of Jim had been correct. Brenda and David set out to fetch Jim home and this is where the story opens out and almost has a second storyline running Pararell with the pony one woven around Jim and his new life. The children meet Mr Martin and Brenda, usually quite shy, takes an instant liking to the old man and shocks David by her talkativeness. Brena also shows a peculiar attraction to a photograph of a young woman on Mr Martins wall and a strange friendship occurs between the old man and the children. In between training Jim for the whitenside show, where David is to jump him, they regularly visit Mr Martin and Brenda's fascination of the picture continues. It is around now the reader learns that unknown to the children Brenda is in fact adopted.

The Whitsentide show brings disappointment as David's nerves cause Jim to run away with him in the jumping but at the same time everyone is delighted at the potential Jim shows and the next goal is set. At this point he auctioneer rears his head again offering to buy Jim but Farmer Webster refuses his offer to the children's delight. The Children also make another new friend in the form of Mr Martins son Colonel Martin, again David is baffled by Brenda's unusual behaviour/attraction to another stranger. He owns a fine mare Ladybird and allows the children use of her and Brenda rides her to victory at the September show in the riding class. David jumps Jim to a clear in the first round of jumping but then a freak fall injures his wrist and it looks as though Jim will never get his chance to prove his worth. However it is finally agreed that Brenda will take Davids place in the jump off (something that would never happen nowadays) and she rides Jim to victory. On entering the ring the commentator makes an error and announces her as Brenda Martin, which rather confirmed what the second story line already had me thinking and also what Mr and Mrs Webster had been thinking. It comes out shortly after in conversation between the Websters and Colonel Martin that Brenda is in fact their adopted daughter and this leads to the colonels own sad story being told. While away in the army his wife and daughter had vanishes, presumed killed in a train crash....the same train crash the orphanage had found Brenda at the scene of. He immediately sets out to visit the orphanage to see how plausible it is that Brenda could be his long lost daughter. Within her records a locket is found, that had not been noticed before then, and in it a picture of Colonel Martin, suddenly her attraction to the two men and of course the photo are instantly explained. If this is not unbelievable enough the fact that both children hardly batter an eyelid at the news and all go off to live happily ever after rather spoilt the ending for me, as in reality I am sure it is not so simple. However don't be put off as Connemara Jim's story is a lovely one, abet a little over shadowed by the adoption story towards the second half of the book.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Santa returns!


Hooray....Santa didn't forget me.....he brought me this little beauty yesterday. Better late than never and I promise not to sell it this time too!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Milkman's Cob June Mary Groves


This is the best book I have read in a very long time! It is not a book I had heard of previously but and having seen (and lost) a couple on eBay, it was one I was on the look out for, then on actually winning one it has taken several months to get round to reading it, but boy was it worth it!

It is reasonably unique in that the story is told by four different characters, all of whom play a major role in the story, Not unlike DPT’s Pony to School actually as they share the story telling throughout, although Katy has first and last (well last proper) say.

The Main character, in that I mean whom the story focus’s on, is Kathleen (known as Katy). The story begins with Katy jumping her very good jumping pony Larke in the leading Junior show jumper at Hoys. She is here with two other central characters (who also tell the story) John, also competing with his jumping pony Greystones and international show jumper Jane, who is also the local pony club DC.
Larke collapses during her round and a heartbroken Katy shies away from contact with horses for a whole year, save a passing interest in Larkes Dam, Gay, (a new Forest pony living in the forest) and the Milkman’s Cob, Happy, whom she first met (and grew to love)as a 7 year old child.
On hearing the Dairy are to change to vans, and Happy will be sold, Katy decides to buy him. With Jane’s help they buy Happy (the Happy prince, as Jane calls him) at auction and Katy sets about schooling him under saddle once more.
A day out hunting proves to all Happy scope and jumping ability as while bolting with Katy he clears a 5ft 3 hedge the rest of the field have spurned in favour of a lower gate…however Katy, not expecting him to jump, is thrown and concussed, and although happy to ride after finds she has lost her nerve where jumping is concerned. Jane is rather a strong, harsh character and finds Jane loss of nerve irksome and has little patience but Jane’s brother Andrew (who also joins in the story telling) proves a more mellow and sympathetic character and it is he who helps Katy regain her nerve, even if one of his methods is somewhat unorthodox) and soon Katy and Happy, as always accompanied by John and greystones, are ready for their First Show. After an initial setback with crowds, happy proves that he may have been a Milkman’s cob but now he is a real force to be reakoned with in the jumping ring and despite a few adventures along the way, including rescuing Gay’s foal from a bog, Happy jumps his way (with a little help from Katie) to the Hoys. Here he helps Katy achieve what Larke died trying, albeit we find out with a little help from Katy’s guardian Angel, Andrew.


A beautifully written book and a real rags to riches story, and after all we love an underdog don’t we? June groves characters are very well developed and it does leave you wondering if they are based on real people as they are incredibly real, maybe it’s the writing style of telling the story in the first person (or persons in this case). The Authors dedication gives away there was a real Happy, but whether or not he too was a milkman’s cob is not stated.
Find a copy and devour it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
On a negative note the illustrations do not do the lovely story justice what so ever unfortunately, but do not let this put you off.

Friday, 21 December 2007

A Pony Of Gold, Avril C.R. Knott


From the DW,


This is the most absorbing story of Fairest, a beautiful little golden chestnut pony, and her devoted 15 year old mistress.


Sorry but couldn't think of a better introduction for this book than the one it was given at publication.


The story begins with Sandra returning home from being abroad, convalescing, and her pony fairest being stolen by Gypsy's (of course!). Fairest's first new home is short lived as tormented by Kenneth, she turns on him and is branded vicious......thus sending her to a new home and job as a hireling. Bad riding and management turns the sweet mare into a difficult and moody animal and an accident involving a client puts her on dicey ground home wise again. Fortunately Sandra, home and heart broken, manages to trace her mare and buys her back for a song. Fairest remembers her old mistress and quickly forgets her unpleasant experiences. Sandra sets about schooling her once more and getting her fit to hunt. It is during a fittening hack that Sandra and fairest stumble across an orphan foal, later named Pixie, and take the little fella home with them. He is weak but pulls through and when his owner is traced he gifts the foal to Sandra, to her utter delight! Meanwhile Sandra and fairest have some wonderful hunts, including one eventful day where she Perseus a loose horse for many miles but makes a new friend. This new friend later first puts the idea in Sandra's head that her little mare, despite being under 15hh is fast enough and a good enough jumper to Point to point. An idea Sandra embraces with relish! After a successful day at a local gymkhana, Sandra sets her sights a little higher, on the open jumping and Ladies race (point to point) at an upcoming horse show and begins training in earnest. Initially she keeps it a secret from her parents, afraid of their reaction, but a fall during training, arouses suspicion in her Father who later gives his permission to enter. He also allows her to drop her studies in favour of the intensive training she will need to partake in to get fairest fit and ready. A potentially fatal incident occurs during a beach trip but gallant Fairest saves the day and the storey culminates on the glorious show day when Sandra not only wins the open jumping but also the ladies race against renown and very experienced competition.


Quite absorbing and beautifully written. You won't be surprised to hear the author was only 15 years old when she wrote this and it shows in the story, I would hazard a guess that this book was all of Ms Knott's horsey dreams come true? Not many people are lucky enough to trace their stolen animals, let alone have the good fortune to find and be given a foal (who incidentally has no relation really to the story at all, apart from I would guess the young author wanted a foal). The hunting, showing success, jumping and point to point win are also all very much a youngsters idealistic dream of owning a horse. And being able to give up her studies...well wonderful as a child...but as an adult you quickly realise how important education is! So this just has to be another childhood dream?


One thing that really does jump out at you is how times have changed. Sandra goes off to persue a runaway, out hunting, and finds herself invited to stay over, when darkness fell, at a fellow followers family home. This overnight stay the following day turns into a few days. Can you imagine in this day and age a child stopping at the home of a complete stranger overnight let alone for several days. Also she is taken home and dried off after her beach escapade by another complete stranger (male...sadly in this day and age I am sure it would be only too sinister to consider) and again this is considered quite the norm. In fact the character is shocked she has not stopped and knocked on anyones door to get dried off etc.....imagine now even knocking on a door in your street and the response you would most likely get.
The book is further enhanced by one of my personal favourite dust wrapper illustrations. The pony is exquisite, it is a shame the rider, very nicely drawn, is rather ham-fistedly holding the reins incorrectly with her foot right at home in the stirrup. Unfortunately the inside illustrations are rather a let down more often than not and it's hard to believe the same person is responsible for them all......illustrator is uncredited in my (presumed) 1st ed so i would be interested if anyone can shed any light on to whom deserves credit (or not)?

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Settled in


I can't believe that a year ago today Jadey was spending her last night of a 3 month stint in the kennels with the RSPCA. Why no one wanted to give her a home is almost an even bigger mystery than her past but on the other hand she wouldn't be with us now if someone had wanted her so it's swings and roundabouts I guess.

I think it's safe to say she feels at home and has her feet well under the table....we had to laugh at her the other evening......she came into the back room, after a day at mums , where we tend to watch TV, eat etc.....we have a 'posh' living room we never go in but that's beside the point (and it wouldn't stay smart for long!)....she walked over to her bed, stood there a few seconds, fair shook her head and no doubt muttered to herself 'Jadeygirl what you doing!' did a prompt u turn and took up residence in her favourite spot.


Only problem it's a two seater and she often requires one and bit!

Monday, 17 December 2007

School days heaven????


No Ponies For Miss Pobjoy


This was recommend by Jane Badger, as 'it's mad'. And mad it is!


However, Canterdown sounds like my sort of school. The most important lesson of the day being...why ponies of course....that is until Miss Pobjoy (The killjoy, the hobbledehoy, Miss Mighty Academic Pobjoy) takes over the reins. A fast car, rather than horse fanatic, she delivers the ultimate blow, that is to be the last term the girls may bring their ponies to Canterdown and banishes Bella the donkey from the ponies fields. Being reasonable human beings, and somewhat obsessed with equines, the girls decide something must be done about it and rebel with quite hilarious (and totally off the wall bonkers) results. Ponies in the dormitories are only the start!


However there is a twist in the tale and in true pony book fashion there is a happy ending all round. I think 'it's mad' is probably the only way to describe this somewhat unique school/pony story.......seeing as it came from an author who created the wonderful Bogwoppits it's hardly surprising!


Now why aren't all schools like Canterdown?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Good day

Well it was better than yesterday and started with an xmas play so can't be that bad really!

Plus my copy of the Mandrake arrived, Sabre arrived saturday so only need Crab now. Was very happy as Mandrake is in immaculate condition and as a bonus came with a good jacket when I wasn't expecting one! Lionel Edwards illustrations are just stunning...I am deeply jealous of anyone who can draw...I struggle with stick people.....his horses could just stroll out of the page and he also draws people well too as some authors seem to do one or the other.
Then i have just found a reasonably priced copy of Unforgettable Fifth at Trebizon to top it off. But have been here before and last time it had sold but have seen another reasonably priced copy and there is one on ebay tomorrow too so hopefully one of them will have my name on it! Getting a bit worried actually as although buying pony books, it's the non ponies I am reading. Currently doing Bogwoppit before it moves to a new home. I might try her pony books next as had forgotten what a good story teller she is. Ah but which one.....?

Friday, 7 December 2007


I'm a happy bunny. I've just bought copies of Sabre the Horse From the Sea and the Mandrake....just need Crab now! To think I passed over one about a year ago because it was £20....and one just made £50 on EBay. Never Mind.


Posted a book to Japan, of all places, today (a PT sisters one), which got me thinking about pony book collectors around the world. I cannot imagine there being much of a market for vintage pony books in Japan, but could be very wrong. I know there are loads of collectors in Australia and America, and both these countries like the UK have a high volume of home grown, if you like, pony book authors past and present. However it does seem that the vintage English books fill a high percentage of spaces in the most collected books category, along with Elyne Mitchell's Brumby books of course. There would appear to be or have been a large German market for English pony authors too as many of our scarcer titles are available in German for pennies (if only they'd take pay pal that is?) and I have seen Swedish editions of Primrose Cumming and Elyne Mitchell books but do we have any translated works ourselves? I cannot think of any off hand. I am intrigued now as to whether any other nationalities around the world have a passion for children's pony books too.



Just thought...of course we have at least one translated book...A Pony In The Luggage, which I loved when younger. Winning a pony in a lottery, if I remember correctly, and then hiding it in hotels and on a train....before it ends up residing in the garage.......utter madness but very enjoyable! I think the characters were called Nicholas ans Anna and the pony Danny, but whether these were changed or not is debatable. Danny in particular dosen't appear very Swedish to me?



Must say it's the vintage English books for me every time, although there are some wonderful Austrailian stories, not least Elyne Mitchell's but also Mary Patchett and I like Eugeme Lumbers Blue Ribbon and Waminda (Helen Barratt?) too. The American books on the whole didn't do it for me although there again I love Can I get there By Candlelight by Jean Slaughter Doty.


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Same Book, Different Title

Two of the offending titles


Have got this from a post about books with same titles on Jane Badger Books Forum, on replying to the initial topic It got me thinking about the times I have thought I'd discovered a new book by an author to find it was re-titled or an American title. Why do publishers do this...one suggestion was to get us to buy all the different copies to raise sales...which sounds about right to me.


It's not so bad if the change is suitable such as CPT's The Doping Affair becoming The Pony Dopers, which made sure the audience was aware it was a child's pony book. Dream of Fair Horses and it's American counterpart The Fields Of Praise are okay if you have actually read the book, on the other hand if you have you probably won't part with it for 'a quarter horse' (or your equivalent) so wouldn't be looking anyway. I have just found out Janet Young Rider aka Horse For The Holidays is also aka Last Summer To Ride, which I was rather pleased to find out about as it was in my shopping basket to purchase tonight! What either subsequent title has to do with the first is beyond me? I was also caught out by the Kestrels/Horseshoe's series. I imported the Horseshoes from USA to find I already had them as Kestrels. I should have known really as some have same title and some have very subtle differences like The Perfect horse/The Special Pony and Jumping lessons/Pony To Jump.

I admit to buying several editions of the same book, sometimes, because I like all of them and can't decide which one to have but it's so infuriating when you've spent rather too much on one to find you've had it years (and aren't that fussed about it to boot!).


Saying all this one of my favourite books is K M Peyton's Free Rein/Last Ditch. I spent far too much buying Free Rein, as I loved the cover, knowing full it was the same book I had spent a small fortune the year before as Last Ditch. But at least I knew and it wasn't a surprise. Not all suprises are good.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Random Ponies On Covers

Having just taken the below picture of the photographic cover edition of Christine Pullein-Thompson's The Horse Sale, It got me thinking about Random pictures (mainly seems to be photographs) on Pony books. I could not quite work out where this pic relates to the characters human or equine in the book, however it is a long way from the worse I thought of.
But it did get me thinking about what is going through the publishers mind at the time, I am assuming as they tend to be reprints the author has no input, even if not horsey individuals you would think they would try to match the ponies to the story at least. It is not too dissimilar to having a football pitch on the front cover of a tennis book really.

This one really has to take the Golden Carrot for worse cover.


Magic and Moonshine were grey Shetlands so how someone came up with a palomino welsh to star on the cover is anyone's guess. Maybe the guide dog chose?
And the Lions reprints of the Brumby books are not far behind as they feature Goldie, star of the Silver Brumby Movie (or should they have re-titled it The Golden Brumby?)
Elyne Mitchell was present at some of the filming and was involved with the film so clearly she gave her consent to changing the colour...I have not had chance to read my copy of the movie book yet so will have to see if an explanation is given?

There was also an illustrated edition of a pony to school featuring the rearing in front of the car episode where the pony was steele grey/black but on the whole illustrated covers tended to match the contents, maybe illustrators bothered to research the subject. There is also a line of thought that Knight changed Ruby Ferguson's Blackboy into a piebald after new illustrator Bonar Dunlop interpreted him as a piebald. So some publishers clearly considered the details of correct cover pic important.
On the other hand some did manage to get it just right! Here are Magic and Moonshine again, in an earlier re-print, and they are grey shetlands, just as described in story with handlers who could easily be Ian and Angela.

And they got it more than right for this, my favourite non illustrated cover, Welsh Tristram and Connemara Saffron along with Nettie and Alice are represented to perfection by this pair of ponies and riders. Pony Club Cup is also excellent with Alice and Saffy agin and an Asian model to play the part of Hanif. So what happened with Trek????? The bay is far too big to be the only bay pony partnered by a girl, Bowie, could be Ferdinand but then whom was the mystery rider?
Can't be Sea king and Jennifer as they did not feature after part way through Challenge.

Lot's more did get it right and the Jinny books spring to mind also making sure the model had long red hair. Shame they chose a stallion to play the mare Shantih in the 80's editions! But you can't have everything.


Saturday, 24 November 2007

How many rugs do two horses need?

I am just pondering the above having realised in the last 5 days my two boys have worn between them no less than 7 different turnout rugs (British weather has a lot to answer for). While pondering this thought I am also still debating whether Harry needs a super heavy rug or not to add to his warbrobe? They are so much better dressed than I am but the scary thing is I think the 7 rugs they have worn this week is only the beginning as there are at least four other turnouts in shed, an under combo, about half a dozen (ish) or so fleeces, coolers etc and 4 exercise sheets. Even more scarey I sold all the stable rugs a couple of years back and several exercise sheets recently or the amount would have been even greater. I do hope OH dosen't read this as fortunatly he does not appear to notice the rugs the boys are wearing change colour daily!

So back to one of life's great questions how many rugs do 2 horses need?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Dancer (A Novel) Shelley Peterson


Hilary James (Mousie) is just 16 when she wins The Fuller Trophy at the Royal Winter Fair, with her stunning horse Dancer. Her triumph is rewarded by an invitation from the Queen (of England) but it also attracts the attention of Samuel Owens, who will stop at nothing to acquire Dancer for his niece. Rebuffed in all attempts to buy Dancer he sets off down a more sinister path by instructing his employee, a somewhat colourful character, Chad Smith, to get Dancer at whatever cost! Mousie is injured in a fall, a sabotage attempt by Smith, and while she is rushed to hospital, Dancer is stolen. This plot is thwarted by Rory and Sandy Casey, a father and son with an ulterior motif of the love variety, coming to the rescue and recovering Dancer. But before long smith strikes again this time with fatal consequences. With Smith out of the picture Christine (Mousie's widowed mum) and Mousie think that their troubles are over and set off for England, where they stay at Clusters built by the fourth Duke of Dewsbury, in the room belonging to his wife Arabella.

Sam Owens is a dangerous, not to mention angry man, he has set his sights on Dancer and intends to have him....dead or alive.....This is where the book goes a little 'odd' and almost off the plot. Mousie has another dream of a lady riding side saddle who warns her Dancer is in danger, just as she did on the night Chad Smith died. She rushes to the stables and sure enough another kidnap attempt is in progress and adverted. Meanwhile a vintage hunting whip belonging to Lady Arabella mysteriously appears where ever Mousie and Dancer go. Before they leave England Mousie is given the opportunity to hunt Dancer where they are joined by the mysterious side saddle rider and narrowly escapes tragedy when another, not so lucky combination, plough into them. On arriving back at Clusters Mousie comes face to face with the side saddle lady (okay in a portrait) and it's Lady Arabella! It appears she died in an hunting accident just like the one Mousie and Dancer narrowly escaped from. Why she appeared the others times was never really explained (or if it was I didn't pick up on it). With another nemesis out of the way they return home, positive that nothing else can go wrong. The budding romances between parents and children continues to blossom until Christine, after a visit from her dead husband Peter, gives in and decides to marry Rory. Before the happy ever after ending disaster strikes again. Sam Owens decides if a job needs doing right, do it yourself and has one last attempt at Dancer. Rory's young sister is hurt in a riding accident and while Mousie and sandy attend her and get help he strikes......and Dancer is left fighting for his life........


I have probably spoilt it already but i will leave you guessing.


A lovely enjoyable book, which was very well written. I am not a royalist, afr from it, but as other Country's appear to have a fascination with our Royal family, I can forgive the Author that and it is a little ott and unbelievable in places but on the whole very well done. I am a little less sure about the 'supernatural' element and in the case of Lady Arabella what bearing it really had to the story (okay it warned Dancer was in danger but why? What was the connection between Lady Arabella and a Canadian horse?) We are told in the blurb that this story began as a dream, Shelly Peterson was in Prague when one night she awoke from a vivid dream about a girl and a horse and wrote it down...maybe this explains the 'odd' bits.

The characters were super, well developed and likeable and the budding romances were done in an unobtrusive way while remaining central to but not over shadowing the plot. A somewhat unique pony book and my first Canadian pony book (as far as I am aware).

Highly recommended to all!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

A Shallow Sort Of Post

Yesterday I received a 'new' (to me) copy of one of my favourite pony books. It was a first edition of Prince Among Ponies by Josephine Pullein-Thompson. I have a somewhat battered paperback I have had since a child (and read hundreds of times hence battered appearance) but have been after the first ed for a couple of years now. One because I am trying to replace all my paperback copies with first ed's HB's where applicable and two because it has the most beautiful dust wrapper illustration. I read a post on another blog quite recently about best and worst covers and receiving this book made me remember it and also got me thinking how my favourite books in my collection (story wise) are not necessarily my favourite books (as in ones that look good on the shelf!).
So this a somewhat shallow post I admit.

I love the fact that this one is so PINK....and from a pre Jordan era. I also like the fact that is an extremely rare title (although I saw one go for a starting bid on eBay recently).

Being a cowgirl at heart I had to pick this one. Norman Thelwell's cartoons are hilarious and sum up our relationships with our equine friends perfectly. I am also biased owning Harry who is straight out of a Thelwell cartoon (not to mention his antics).

Again I am being shallow and love the rarity of this one but also the stunning golden pony who reminds me very much of a horse in a book I had as a child, a stunning Akhel-Teke in the most amazing shade of palomino you ever did see...just like polished gold.

I do like this story, especially as it's a true one and this picture on the jacket is stunning. The CBC edition for some reason went with a hunting pic that is not a patch on this. I also like the photo of the real Rosina Copper that can be found inside the flap on this dust wrapper.

The next few covers I couldn't choose between, so included them all, as I think they are stunning....the pictures are so simple and I love the minimal use of colour which features on a few of the PT jackets of this era...(Show Jumping Secret, Trick Jumpers, Horse Sale to name but three as well as the books below).
My favourite JMB and a book I had on constant renewal from the library as a child.
This is particularly delightful due to the adoring look on the dogs face as he looks at his mistress, as well as being a lovely story.
I
Anne Bullen's drawings are mind blowing at the best of times but I think this book contains some of her very best. I also like the rarity factor again of this one and the fact it is in pristine condition still.


Adonis is equisite on this one with his lovely 'breedy' Araby head....most little girls dream pony I think.
Sadly no wrapper for the next one but the jewel in the crown for all Pullein-Thompson fans and collectors.
Another truly stunning but simple pencil line drawing, so much more effective than many of the gawdy colourful wrappers. I have yet to come across an M M Oliver not illustrated in this style (apart from the photo ones). Whether it was the era or the authors choice I would love to find out.
Now I am being very shallow indeed, don't like the cover at all but I don't know of anyone else who owns a copy of wild echoes Ringing so it has to be there for exclusivity. (And yes I am aware I will get hundreds of emails saying I have it too!)
And saving the best for last
I can hardly leave out the Jewel in most pony book collectors crown a first ed (even if in a little pre loved condition) of Silver Snaffles. Now if it had a wrapper..............







Thursday, 8 November 2007

haffygirl

Meez 3D avatar avatars gamesDo you like my new Buckskin? He has finally finished trying to buck me off and is now behaving in a reasonaable manner. Comes highly recommended as requires no feeding, feet trims, vet fees, does not roll in mud and does not even poo!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Expensive Pony Books


Having just spotted a book I sold a few months back up for sale again at over £100, it got me thinking...do people really buy these three figure sum books? You may have guessed but yes it is Silver Snaffles and I was happy with the price I got (more than double what i paid) but it got me thinking. I must admit I have been quite lucky regarding my collection...the most I have paid for a book to date is £35 and I have bagged a few bargains along the way including both the copy of SS i sold and a first ed for less than £30 for both and Brumby Racer for about £7 to name but two. The fact I love ferreting around in old book shops helps I think...the messier, darker, bigger the health risk the better in my opinion...I hate the neat, orderly and light ones (all the spines sunned and no gems to happen upon under a pile of boxes!). But this leads me to my biggest regret.......having bagged Brumby Racer I decided to Put it on Amazon and it sold....I know that's the point of putting it on but i never expected anyone to stump up the cash....now how will I ever get hold of it again at a reasonable price?



Saying all that if anyone has copies of Mystery On The Moor by JPT or Caroline Canters Home by Caroline Akrill I may be prepared to up my price for most expensive book I have bought.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Riding With The Lyntons




Is the latest pony book I have read, having now run of of Trebizan titles. I have had a copy of this since I was a child (I think it was my mums) but don't actually re-call ever reading it. The story was certainly not familiar so if i had, I had only read it once. Maybe it's the uninteresting cover that put me off, as I discovered I have 3 different copies and all have pretty uninspiring covers in particular the 'photo' edition. I haven't been able to get hold of a first edition but the cover (as with all books of this era) is stunning and looks like possibly a Sheila Rose? The Collins Pony libs, come to think of it, all have uninspiring covers without any exceptions I can think of whereas the crown pony library books have stunning jackets (I especially like Grey Arrow). Maybe it is because the Collin's were made as 'cheapies' and of course the matt boards the covers were made from didn't help the pics one bit. Thinking about it some of the Collin's Seagull libraries had pretty dire covers too!
On the other hand I bought Mary Gervaise's Belinda books on the strength of the covers and look where that got me!!!

I've gone off on a tangent now so back to the Lyntons. Lesley, pony mad but pony less, and her family move to the country. Maybe based lightly on Diana's own upbringing - having an author as a mother , then moving to the country and having a pony at last? - For Lesley's father is an, initially struggling, Author who strikes gold, so to speak, right at the end of the story. Lesley thinks it will be lonely in the country until she realises the nearest house is home to pony mad family the Lyntons. All is well and after finally meeting them she ends up riding out happily, for a short while, with the family. However disaster strikes when Lesley feeds two of the ponies, who then shortly after escape onto the road where 1 is hit by a car and PTS. Of course the Lyntons blame Lesley (I'm sure I would to be honest in same situation), who is not sure herself if she shut the gate and that is the end of that friendship shall we say. Lesley's parents then buy her her own pony, who develops strangles but turns out to be a right little cracker, and by and by some history surrounding the mysterious Lyntons emerges as does a very important fact...Jangle (or was it Jingle...I only finished it last night and have already forgot) can open gates with her teeth. The Lyntons, who are a decent bunch really, all apologise and the story ends with them all riding out together and the sale of the TV rights of Lesley's father's book.

Not I feel one of Diana's best books (this honour is firmly reserved for Janet Must Ride) but much better than the covers would suggest. As ever it is well written although at times I did wonder if parts of the story were really necessary as they had no real impact on the story such as the mystery around the Lyntons and the changing of their name and even the pony developing strangles. All in all very readable and more enjoyable than I expected, which is always a bonus as so many of the very 'hyped' up books just don't 'offer the goods'.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Disgraced woofhound!


A doggy post today. My naughty Woof hound is rather a fan of chasing fluffy creatures. Being part hound we put it down to having a strong hunting instinct and it is usually reserved for squirrels, small dogs, who look like squirrels in the distance, the odd larger dog when she hasn't got her glasses on (she is getting on in years) and cats who dare to come in the garden. She will regulary vanish while out in woods for lengths of time but this morning went a little too far. She was in the fields accross the road and spotted a cat.........which legged it straight out onto the road (what would you have done if you were the cat) at this point the selective hearing (even worse than that of young children) cut in and the cat was persued by Jade (hobble forgotten as usual in the excitement) down the road........with the noise of a bus approaching round the corner. Fortunatly on this occasion the cat ran up a nearby driveway and a few seconds later a rather sheepish hound appeared, hearing restored!, but the other possible outcomes don't bear thinking about. The pic shows her feeling very sorry for herself (because she was naughty or because the cat got away is yet to be decided).


By the way theres a new Forum just starting up, mainly dedicated to pony books. I'm sure it will be great when it gets up and running properly so we all need to get posting!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

What a muddle? Please help!!


Still not finished Trebizon, but will have by tomorrow as reading Fifth Year Friendships and haven't managed to get hold of other two, so can't update on Pony Club Camp yet.


But I do have another plea for help...on putting away my new purchses that arrived yesterday....after only two + weeks in transit!!!...I found one was a dreaded 'B'. Now before you get totally the wrong idea I only keep my books in alphabetical order so i can easily check if I have it or not when I spot nice ones on ebay etc. Honest!!! Needless to say the rest of the house is not quite so neat and orderly. I was avoiding the dreaded cleaning by putting them away in the first place. The theory being my other half may think I did some if table is less cluttered? Worth a try anyhow!


Back to dreaded 'B'. Well that is the section where Judith Berrisford falls and is the cause of endless misery. No her books arn't that bad, I rather like them but what is the correct order for the Jackie series....does anyone know? Does anyone know JMB? Does she know herself?


Mine are currently in published order but this itself has flaws. As you can see from the pic my own collection houses several different 'runs' and duplicates of a few titles add to this so I have pictured a selection. I have taken the published date from my first editions wherever possible but I don't have them all so have had to take first published date for some from reprints, so there is a possibility of inaccuracy. Mine are ordered


1 Jackie Won A Pony - 1958- (simple)

2 Ten Ponies And Jackie - 1959 -(getting harder as two published this year but based on fact Babs had no pony)

3 Jackie's Show Jumping Surprise - 1959 - (now the real problems start - Babs owns Patch and Aunt Di marries Steve Rowland....her 'adopted' son Lenny turns up needing help as his father has let out of prison .......no probs yet but read on)

4 Jackie's Pony Patrol - 1961 - (Now Aunt Di lives alone and Patch is her pony and she gives him Babs, we learn the story of Lenny and his father and he goes to live with Di and his father goes to prison)

5 Jackie and the Pony Trekkers - 1963 -(this was badged no 2 when republished by Hodder in the 90's...I don't think full series was published)

6 Jackie's Pony Camp Summer - 1968 -

7 Jackie and the Pony Boys - 1970 -

8 Jackie and The Misfit Pony - 1975 - (Armada badged this as no 3 in the 80's reprints....I think the whole series to date was printed )

9 Jackie On Pony Island -1977 - (Hodder badged this 5 in 90's)

10 Jackie And the Ponby Thieves - 1978 -

11 Jackie And The Phantom Ponies - 1979

12 Jackie and the Moonlight Pony - 1980 - (actually badged 12 by Armada too...from this point they fall into place as Armada's are badged according to date order published and Jackie finally gets a little older.)

13 Jackie and the Pony Rivals -1981 -

14 Jackie and the Missing Show Jumper - 1982-

15 - Change Ponies Jackie - 1983 -

16 Jackie's Steeple Chase Adventure -1984 -


Please, please anyone know the order and or got any more numbered editions to throw into the confusion?


Maybe not as polished or an as likeable character as say Jill but I do think these books deserve recognition amongst the best pony books. They are very wholesome and different from a lot of pony books in that in the early titles there is often a mystery to solve or a baddie involved while still firmly being a pony book. The last few titles are much better, in my opinion, the writing style is slightly different and the mystery element tended to be replaced by a more 'horsey' theme.
The other thing I think it's hard to get your 'adult' head round is how many summers Jackie managed to have while keeping the youthful age of 13 to 15ish? As a child I never thought about it but as an adult you just wishe you knew her secret.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

It Finally Came.....





After waiting nearly 3 weeks for it to arrive and just about giving up any hope (Don't you just love Royal Mail) I have finally got (or at least think so) my final Pat Leitch title to complete my collection...unless of course she writes any more that is. I have been trying to find out a little about the author but apart from the short bibliographies in the front/back of a few books...mainly Jinny's and American editions of Kestrels series (they call them horseshoes and changed some titles....which i only found out after spending a fortune on a set from states). The only other info I could find was from a vegetarian society site.....she is a vegan and big on animal rights...themes which are strong in many of her books in particular the Jinny series...I wonder if Ken was based on herself maybe? Celtic/Arabic/Buddhist mythology and philosophy are also often referred to. I also found out that the horse on the front of most of the 80's covers (as in the top pic) is Coombe Farm Arabians stallion 'The Prince Of Orange', which they have confirmed.





The most interesting thing for me is as to whether Pat Leitch is her real name or not...I assume so.....and why she wrote her first 4 books under the (assumed) pseudonym Jane Eliot? Most people assume the Collins pony lib editions of Jacky Jumps to The top, Afraid to Ride and First Pony are first editions but they were all released in the late 60's under the pseudonym as paperbacks by Spitfire books. There was also the extremely rare title Pony club Camp, which is the one I have just managed to acquire. As far as I am aware no others were wrote under this name and Pony Club Camp was never released under Pat Leitch, unlike the others. I have not read it yet so am hoping it hasn't had a name change. More on that next time........I am having a break from pony books and reading Trebizon at minute but need to get my hands on unforgettable fifth and secret letters, if any one can help.
















Sunday, 14 October 2007

Sheila Chapman...Continued!


I have just finished Pony from Fire, still not worked out the strange title though, and took a while as I kept putting it off!!! Not exactly as I had predicted but I was pretty close. Firecat arrived a wild and dangerous pony who had killed a man. Yoland, still very nervous, ends up saving him from a fire - Is this why it is titled Pony from Fire? - and of course from that moment on she and she alone can manage the beastie! Her, quite frankly, awful dealer of a father keeps blackmailing her (as if the poor girl hasn't been through enough all ready) and at first it's if she doesn't ride Firecat he will be destroyed then because she won't compete him he is sold........along the way just like Carmen she has to make a desperate ride to fetch a vet, during which she falls, bangs her head, voila - memory begins to return. As can only happen in a pony book the pony no one but her can handle turns up a show and she is asked to ride him (who was originally riding him is anyones guess as when her brother tried him he went 'loopy'). But anyhow she does because she thinks it will stop him being destroyed, but is it too late? (Thankfully) she didn't win the class but did enough so as on her return home she finds Firecat is grazing in their field. Cue happy ending.


Better than I thought it was going to be and a definite improvement on The Mystery Pony but did leave me a little disappointed as these titles are so hyped up.


I still cannot find an author who is a patch on Josephine Pullein Thompson and Caroline Akrill but the search will continue. ( NB I have not included Elyne Mitchell in this as her books are so different from the average pony story.)

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Poo Picking and Sheila Chapman





Back to poo picking in the dark already.....or i am the only person out there stupid enough to do this? Last week it was sort of light, yesterday morning...BANG....it was pitch black and only just coming light when I had to get off to work. Peeing it down too this morning...oh the joys of having horses!

On the other hand the funny little things they do never fail to raise a smile...how Harry gets on his knees (but never when I brandish the camera) to eat grass under the electric fence and how as soon as it's off he tries to lift out the fence posts with his teeth (grr...just love them don't ya) or simply leans over it. How today Murphy meandered down to have a drink in a 'dozen looped serpentine' sort of fashion, then promptly galloped back up he top like his bottom was on fire.




Sheila Chapman, by the way I was not likening her books to poo picking, is a very little known author but very collectable too! Her books, in all honesty, I do not think are the best but they are rare and command good prices and I guess when you consider her first was written and ready to be published by the time she was 15 you can forgive the 'immaturity' of the writer and her plots. As far as I am aware there are 4 books of which I own 3. A Pony and his Partner is probably the best of the three. It Introduces us to Carmen (an orphan - dead parents seem to feature highly in her books, as do badly injured lame ponies) who goes to live with her cousins. Carmen is a very talented horsewoman (naturally) and by and by acquires a nervous and difficult pony Oberon who she works miracles with and wins at HOYS! Along the way it's actually an okay (if not predictable - but very young girls dream) kind of story. It isn't all plain sailing for Carmen and at several points we are told how she 'masters' Oberon, which rather spoil it for me but I guess that was how it was (and by most folk still is perceived the way to treat a horse unfortunately). It also has the, what seems to be obligatory in my reading at the min, N**** reference. this time in the way of an unpolitically correct joke. Having been reading Kathleen Mackenzie recently too, it would seem quite vogue of this period to include some kind of reference. The book ends happily with the win at HOYS and Carmen being adopted by famous show jumper Joe Trent. I was rather confused as to whether he was her uncle or not, I am not sure if the Author knew, or maybe it was dead clear but I missed it? The sequel The Mystery pony, was disappointing to be frank. Oberon is lamed by her cousin, Carmen doesn't want another pony until she spots the mystery horse. She catches him without much fuss but he is difficult and rather a mystery as well bred and highly schooled. The book drags a bit in the middle then there is a flood and he escapes with the mares while Carmen is saving the day by fetching the vet. A rather boring search is performed and of course the horses owner turns up. During the search the horse meets his doom too, nobody seems bothered that much, happily ever after........ Pretty pointless story really but never mind. It is easy enough to read and looks good in the collection! I have just started Pony From Fire and this is a little predictable too. Yoland, again super young rider, loses her memory in crashing fall, which lames pony permanently. When she comes round she is too scared to ride. Oh and her mum dies too if she had not been through enough already. By and by she does ride and I have just got to the bit where she comes face to face with the pony she fell from Tremor.




I am guessing at memory now returns, re trains a difficult pony and wins a big competition? I will have to wait and see........

Friday, 5 October 2007

Setting a bad example?

Sorry but a bit of a rant today. After a generally lovely day at HOYS yesterday, a little incident left rather a bad taste in my mouth. Ellen Whitaker, such an inspiration to young riders, fantastic rider on the crest of a wave, but setting a thoroughly bad example at the same time. Yesterday on entering the ring she, as many competitors before her had, she showed her horse a difficult fence, almost a stile in width and on a tricky angle to boot. Fair enough, I have not worked out where the line between showing a horse a fence and 'not' is drawn but that is not the issue. Why on showing the fellow the fence did she feel the need, for no reason what so ever I can think off and only visible to my area of the arena, to give him a good smack behind her leg too???? What purpose did this serve???? I was both amazed and angry at the shocking example she is setting to youngsters aspiring to be like her. I'm glad to report, although she cleared the fence in question, she did not jump a clear. Although it left me wondering what may happen to the poor 'os' once outside the ring. It certainly didn't receive a pat/thank you for trying on the way out. What harm would a little acknowledgement of his efforts have done to her????

Good job I'm not a horse she would have been flat on her face with a hoof (or two) in her back!!!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Blind Beauty


An epic horse story the cover proclaimed! And epic it was, one of the most enjoyable books I have read for a while. Not since I read the Man From Snowy River I and II have I 'devoured' a book, as I did with this, I just couldn't wait to see what would happen next. It took a few chapters to really get going and get into this book, but once again K M Peyton proved what a fantastic author she is. Several of my books about her quote 'There are few born story tellers but K M Peyton is one of them' How true this is.

Initially I was not sure of Tessa and quite where she was going, but you couldn't help but warm to this mixed up young girl, how many real Tessa's are there pleading for help out there you wonder? As for Buffoon, the raw-boned and ugly TB, well everyone loves an underdog and the clever way his past and present were linked to Tessa, another under dog, was fantastically portrayed. I guess some people would liken this to both Free Rein (Last Ditch) and Darkling, and indeed it does have elements of both these wonderful stories - Battling against adversity and a difficult family life and the obvious comparison to Free Rein of running a horse in the National.
But unlike Free Rein we were taken on a journey with Tessa and Buffoon and shared the highs and lows and although somewhat predictable (or it would have been for any other author) and a little unbelievable I was willing Tessa and Buffoon to win and did hope for once a happy ending. Fortunately on this occasion K M Peyton did not disappoint. Not that she ever does but I like the fact her books are usually very realistic and not always happily ever after, in fact hardly any of her books end how one predicts which is why it was nice in this case that she chose to run with the predictable ending. After all Dogwood died trying, and this ending would not have been fitting to Buffoon; Jenny and Darkling part company at the end and even her younger books such as Swallow trilogy and Poor Badger do not have the ending you were expecting them to have.








Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Can Anyone Help?

This is more of a plea than a post but can anyone help me. I was just chatting with my mum earlier and she reminded me of a book I loved as a young child. It was called Penny and Sue (i think), at least these were the characters. It was a green board picture book for younger readers. Penny's favourite pony was a skewbald called Pickle but one day she arrives at the stables and Sue is (shock, horror) grooming him. She tells Sue she 'Can't use those brushes or groom Pickle because she always does', to which Sue responds that she is riding him that lesson. Penny is relegated to boring old ? (Henry?) 'who's as big as a house, I'll never be able to mount him'.
Of course Penny wishes Pickle to be badly behaved and in true form Sue is deposited at a jump and breaks her arm. Penny haunted by remorse decides they can be friends and they agree to share Pickle. Happily ever after.
If anyone has any idea of Author and title, if it's not Penny and Sue, or knows of a copy please please contact me. Cheers



Sunday, 16 September 2007

Throw away society?

Back to work with a bang! Had little time to do anything as just can't get back into swing of things. I did however finish Heronsbrooke Gymkhana and can confirm a happy ending all round and the corners well and truly rubbed off the unpopular and stuck up one (every good pony book has one...think June Cresswell, Sarah Rook, Celia Grunter etc etc to name but a few).

I also found time to read K M Peytons High Horse Trilogy, which lead me to the title of this post. I am a great fan of K M Peytons work, especially her pony books, her books are beautifully written with believable and very real characters both human and equine. She is also not compelled to have a happy ever after ending and her books cover a wide range of subjects and ages. So many authors churn out the same but different time and time again, or 'borrow' a plot from several other books and chuck them in a blender (am I allowed to say that I wonder...well free speech and all that, I didn't mention any names did I ; )!
Back to Swallow books....At first when I realised the character was quite young I did wonder ( as I love her more grown up characters/books) but after a few pages I was hooked. Here is a book about a girl with a dream to own a pony, who yes does indeed get her dream pony. This is where it stops being like any other pony story of this subject as yes again she perseveres but to no avail. I though, ah yes but in Swallow Summer she will get there, but was wrong and was quite surprised by the twist the story took in Swallow The Star. I must say I was a little disappointed in how quickly Rowan got over the loss of Swallow and replaced him with Birdie but I guess this is a reflection of the throw away society we now live in and maybe how the author meant it to be perceived? I believe you offer a horse (indeed any animal) a home for life but sadly this is becoming less and less the case and the old cast off is quickly forgotten and replaced, as Swallow was. I guess K M Peyton was maybe also making the point that sometimes you have to realise a partnership is not going to work, however much you want it to and I guess there had to be consequences as the pony was not really ever Rowan's anyhow. For an author who deals with emotions and feelings so well usually i felt Rowan was a little cold and callous but maybe 12 year olds are? I wonder if there will be a spin off, so to speak, featuring Charlie, as I feel he is a character with great potential to fill another book or two.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Worst Pony Book Ever?

I have just read my first pony book and not enjoyed a single bit of it! Usually they have some sort of redeeming feature but not this one I'm afraid. The offending title A Pony For Belinda by Mary Gervaise. I just could not get into it at all...I didn't like Belinda, or her pet Blackbird....whoever would have a wild bird as a pet anyhow?......she was a thoroughly dislikable character and the story was a complete non starter. I had started Another Pony For Belinda, hoping it would be better but have given it up as a bad job after the first two chapters. I bought these and Belinda wins her Spurs on account of the lovely dust wrappers and it just goes to show...never judge a book by it's cover....maybe the originator of this saying had had the misfortune to come across Belinda too? I have not read the Georgie and Spot books yet so hope these are not dire too?

On the plus side I am now reading a lovely book by a lesser known but excellent pony author Catherine Harris. It's title is The Heronsbrooke Gymkhana. Quite different to many pony books as it centres around one day and is split into three parts - before the gymkhana, during and after, which i am yet to get to. Before we are introduced to some of the competitors and find out a little about them before they all come together with mixed fortunes at the Gymkhana. It is a voyage of discovery for several of them and until I get chance to read further am unsure of the outcomes but would imagine everyone lives happily ever after, which is more than Belinda would if I had my way.

Thanks for your comments by the way......I think posting is possible now but they are still not compatible between here and the other site but who cares anyway.