Thursday, 30 August 2007

I was recently asked who is my favourite author of pony stories? There are so many greats out there it is really hard to choose but I have narrowed my own favourites down to two whom I cannot choose between.

I grew up on Josephine Pullein Thompson, especially the Woodbury Pony Club books, and these along with the West Barsetshire books remain firm favourites. Six Ponies and Pony Club Camp are real classics, a mix of fantastic characters, who develop throughout the series, good instructional advice, an underline of humour and of course lots of good old fashioned (and innocent) charm, that I never fully appreciated until an adult. The modern pony books and even the lovely books that Josephine wrote in the 80's seem to lack this charm.

The other author is Caroline Akrill, I adore the Eventers Trilogy and she managed to capture the charm that no other more modern books could. The Galloping Fanes are surely amongst o the best book characters ever created (ah...Rupert Campbell Black springs to mind) and 100 books could have been written about their hilarious exploits. Such was the strength of the characters in this series, is it only me who still wonders if Elaine and Legend ever made it to the top and what became of the Fanes and their riches. I am sure if a sequel were published it would still, over 20 years later, sell by the lorry loads.

Now I have chosen two I feel almost guilty as there are so many other authors equally deserving. Primrose Cumming (on the strength of Silver Snaffles) should and is well up there, although apart from Silver Snaffles so far her books have disappointed me. Patricia Leitch is a wonderful author and the Jinny books have a huge fan base as do Ruby Ferguson's Jill books, I doubt any horse mad girl since the 50's has not grown up with Jill and they are still extremely popular, with Mums buying them for daughters, as indeed my first Jill book had been my mums before. Elyne Mitchell's Brumby books are almost legendary with a real cult status and Judith Berrisford, Gillian Baxter, Joanna Cannan, Diana and Christine Pullein Thompson should not be forgotten for their contributions.

The modern pony books I have read are on the whole very disappointing and I do feel pony mad youngsters are missing out on proper pony books, unless of course they are provided with vintage classics. I Just don't get Heartland, Chestnut Hill, Thoroughbred, Half Moon Ranch etc. Don't people go the pony club any more? On the other hand characters such as Jill and Jean are a little 'Smug' (sorry Andrea, pinched that one didn't I) by modern standards and are maybe beyond comprehension for youngsters today? I think the nearest thing to a good modern pony book is Samantha Alexanders Riders series. She clearly knows her subject and I guess has tried to bring the pony book into the 21st century by adding the now all important love interest. Underneath she does manage to maintain a more traditional element to her books than most I feel. The fact that these books are still popular over 10 years after first printing (although out of print!) makes me wonder if in years to come they will be classics too?

Oh nearly forgot, I think the reason it is not allowing posting is because this blog is imported from

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

I thought i'd start this blog to reminise all the wonderful pony books I loved as a child and still collect, and probably love equally as much, today. My addiction to horses goes back as long as I can remember, just seeing one go past the house or out of the car window was a cause of great excitement and I devoured every pony book I could lay my hands on. I had some handed on to me by my mum, was lucky enough to grow up when Jinny, Jill, PT's etc etc were readily available from WHSmiths and the like and had all the pony books from the local library on constant renewal by using every member of my family's tickets so I could have them all. A little unfair on others maybe but hey I didn't care it was nearly as good as owning them, children don't think about being selfish do they?

My more recent addiction came about when I found a copy of DPT's 3 Ponies and Shannon, this is a title I had always wanted but never had as a child so had to have it! Then shortly afterwards, don't ask how, I found some of my old pony books in the recycling bin at my mums. I admit I had not taken them with me when I moved out but that didn't mean I didn't want them did it! Needless to say I fished them out, took them and the ones that hadn't reached the bin home and asked about the others. The reply to which was I've been throwing them for weeks a box at a time........It would seem my mum, who I love dearly I must add, had managed to recycle dozens of books including some quite rare books and first editions of I'd Rather Not Gallop, Mystery On The Moor (I know possibly the hardest to find pony book ever.....please, please anyone got a copy?) lots of the Jacky books and numerous other books, most of which I only remember when I see a picture of. She thought they were old and smelly can you believe!

I am now trying to re-buy my childhood collection but alas do get side tracked and now own books I never had but wanted and also books I had never heard of before. I know I shouldn't but the voices in my head say 'Buy me, Buy me' and well I am weak...the voices usually win!