Biography

Pullein-Thompson, Christine

Christine Pullein-Thompson (1925–2005) is one of the most prolific British pony book authors. She has over 100 books to her name, dwarfing the output of her sisters, Diana and Josephine. Her first solo book was We Rode to the Sea, and she followed this by what is probably a unique trilogy, the Chill Valley Hounds series, in which the heroes and heroines set up their own hunt. The likelihood of a story like this being published now is incredibly remote, but these stories were amongst Christine’s best, showing an interaction with the adult world that the pony story does not always embrace. Probably her other most noteworthy book is The Horse Sale. Christine was always interested in portraying riders from very different backgrounds, and this is one of her most successful. Like her sister Josephine’s Six Ponies, this book takes a situation and looks at how a very different set of characters react to it. The Horse Sale shows various teenagers and children coping with loved ponies being sold, and in some cases looking at, and changing their own behaviour. It is a satisfying read; without being too overtly fairytale, we see the struggle some of the characters have with themselves and their situations to achieve their dreams.

Christine’s later books showed a desire to move away from the portrayal of middle class children and their ponies (albeit sometimes the impoverished middle classes.) In books like Riders on the March and its sequel They Rode to Victory, she showed working class children fighting to save their riding school from development. These books are not as successful as other books depicting working class children and ponies. K M Peyton’s brilliant Fly-by-Night and Who Sir? Me Sir?, and Christine Dickenson’s Dark Horse both produce utterly believable characters: with Christine Pullein-Thompson’s, you are always just a little aware that it is an effort for the author to move outside her comfort zone: it’s a valiant effort, but it is an effort nevertheless.

She was on firmer ground writing about difficult emotional situations. In I Rode a Winner, her heroine, Debbie, comes from a broken home, and pours all her love onto the mare, Cleo. This is not one of the easiest of her books to read; its ending is not fairytale, but it is a convincing picture of a girl trying desperately hard to pick up the pieces of her life.

Christine moved back, with the Phantom Horse and Black Pony Inn series, to children with whose backgrounds she was more in tune. During the later part of her writing career, she wrote pony books for younger children, and series which concentrated on animal rescue.

In the publishing climate of today, by no means as accepting of the pony book as it once was, it is unlikely that many other British authors will ever match her output: Jenny Oldfield, a prolific generator of series has now overtaken her, but no other British author is even close. Yes, the American series by Bonnie Bryant, the Saddle Club, is enormously long, but it is a single series, and written by several different authors. Christine Pullein-Thompson produced pony stories covering pretty well every aspect of the genre: from tales of a wild horse, to holiday adventure, to rescue stories and hunting.

Links and sources
Christine Pullein-Thompson's series
Cavalier Books’ fact sheet (the company is run by Christine’s daughter)
The Pullein-Thompson Archive - a blog which reviews the sisters’ stories

Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Dawn Harrison for the fantastic amount of help she has given me with this section, and to Charlotte of Cavalier Books for allowing me to use images from their site. Thanks too to Susan Bourgeau and Hannah Fleetwood for supplying photos. Special thanks to Dawn Harrison for the character lists.

Bibliography: pony books only
It Began with Picotee
(with Josephine and Diana Pullein-Thompson), A & C Black, London, 1946, illus Rosemary Robertson
We Rode to the Sea, Collins, London, 1948, illus Mil Brown
Collins Crown Library, London, 1948
Armada pb 1965
Collins Pony Library 1973
We Hunted Hounds, Collins, London 1949, illus Marcia Lane Foster, 190 pp.
Collins Pony Library 1970s
Armada pb 1964 (cover Mary Gernat) and 1970s
J A Allen 1990s pb
I Carried the Horn, Collins, London,1951, illus Charlotte Hough
Collins 1958 reprint
White Lion Hb reprint
Armada pb 1964 (Mary Gernat cover) and 1970s
J A Allen pb (revised)
Goodbye to Hounds, Collins, London, 1952, illus Charlotte Hough
Collins 1956 reprint
Armada pb 1965 (Mary Gernat cover)
White Lion, 1977, hb
J A Allen revised pb 1990s
Riders from Afar, Collins, London,1954, illus Charlotte Hough
Collins reprint 1957
Collins Pony Lib 1970s
White Lion hb 1976
Armada pb 1962
Phantom Horse, Collins, London, 1955, illus Sheila Rose
Collins reprint 1957
Collins Seagull 1962
Armada pb 1969, 1978
Award hb, 1997
Award hb, 2011, cover Jennifer Bell
A Day to Go Hunting, Collins, London,1956, illus Sheila Rose
Armada pb 1969, 1970s
The First Rosette, Burke, London, 1956, illus Sheila Rose
Dragon pb 1967, cover Mary Gernat. 124 pp
Dragon pb, date unknown.
The Impossible Horse (as Christine Keir)
Evans, London, 1957, illus Maurice Tulloch
Reprinted in pb by Dragon in 1972 as by Christine Pullein-Thompson
Stolen Ponies, Collins, London, 1957 hb, illus Sheila Rose, 192 pp.
Collins Pony Library 1970s
Armada pb 1965, 1974, 157 pp.
The Second Mount, Burke, London, hb 1957, illus Sheila Rose
Dragon pb 1967 1970s
Cavalier pb
Three to Ride, Burke, London, 1958, illus Sheila Rose
Burke reprint Falcon Library hb 1960
Dragon pb 1960s and 1973
In Three in One Pony Stories, Red Fox pb 1999
The Lost Pony, Burke, London, 1959 hb, illus Sheila Rose
Burke Junior Pacemaker 1964 pb
Dragon pb 1975
In Burke hb Triple Adventure, 1965
Cavalier pb
For Want of a Saddle, Burke, London, 1960, illus Anne Bullen
Burke. 1964, Junior Pacemaker pb
Dragon, pb, 1972
Cavalier, pb, 1994
The Horse Sale, Collins, London, 1960, illus Sheila Rose
Armada pb, early 1970s, 1979
Ride by Night, Collins, London, 1960, illus Sheila Rose
CBC hb edn
Collins Pony Library 1974
Armada pb 1960s
Armada pb, 1979
The Empty Field, Burke, London, 1961, illus Anne Bullen
Dragon pb 1967
Goodchild, Aylesbury, hb, 1986
The Open Gate, Burke, London, 1962 , illus Barbara Crocker
Dragon pb 1967 and 1970s
Goodchild hb 1986
The Doping Affair (The Pony Dopers), Burke, London,1963, illus Enid Ash
Reprinted as The Pony Dopers, Dragon pb 1970s
Goodchild, Aylesbury, hb 1987
Bandits in the Hills, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1962, illus Janet Duchesne
Reprinted 1964, 1967, 1971 and 1973
Little Black Pony, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1967, illus Lynette Hemmant
Reprinted 1973
Riders on the March, Armada, London, pb 1970
Armada, London, pb later 1970s (date uncertain)
Severn House 1980 hb
Cavalier 1990s
Phantom Horse Comes Home, Armada, London, pb, 1970
Armada, London, pb, 1978
Ravette pb (need date)
Severn House, hb, 1979
Award, hb, 1997
Award, 2011, cover Jennifer Bell
Phantom Horse Goes to Ireland, Armada, London, pb 1972
Armada, London, pb, 1978
Ravette pb (need date)
Severn House, London, hb 1980
Award, London, hb, 1997
As Phantom Horse Disappears
Award, London, hb, 2012, cover Jennifer Bell
They Rode to Victory, Armada, London, pb 1972
Armada, London, pb 1979
Severn House, London, 1979 hb
Cavalier pb, 2001
I Rode a Winner, Armada, London, pb, 1973
Armada later 70s printing
Severn House, London, hb, 1984
Cavalier, pb, 1994
Black Velvet, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1975, hb
Knight, London, pb, 1979
The Children’s Book Club, 1976
McGraw Hill, New York, 1980
Mystery at Black Pony InnPan, London, pb, 1976, cover Christine Molan, illus Gareth Floyd
Severn House, London, hb, 1977
Swift, London, 1987 (identical to Ravette pb)
Take Part Series, Ward Lock 1977, adapted by Sheila Lane and Marion Kemp
Ravette pb 1989
In Adventure Stories from Black Pony Inn, Award 1998
Contains: Mystery at Black Pony Inn, Strangers at Black Pony Inn, Secrets at Black Pony Inn
Strange Riders at Black Pony Inn, Pan, London, 1976 pb, illus Gareth Floyd
Severn House, London, hb, 1977
Swift, hb, 1986
Ravette, pb, 1989
In Adventure Stories from Black Pony Inn, Award 1998
Contains: Mystery at Black Pony Inn, Strangers at Black Pony Inn, Secrets at Black Pony Inn
Pony Patrol, Dragon Books, London, pb 1977
Severn House, London, hb 1979
Simon & Schuster 1991 hb and pb
Pony Patrol SOS, Dragon, London, pb 1977
Severn House, London, hb 1979
Simon & Schuster, London, hb and pb 1992
Blossom1978: as far as I know, printed only in Black Beauty’s Family compilations
Black Beauty’s Family I, Beaver, London, 1981
Black Beauty’s Family, Chancellor, 1986
More from Black Beauty’s Family, Red Fox, 2001
Secrets at Black Pony Inn, Pan, London, pb 1978, cover Christine Molan, illus Gareth Floyd
Severn House, London, hb 1978
Swift hb?
Ravette pb 1989
In Adventure Stories from Black Pony Inn, Award 1998
Contains: Mystery at Black Pony Inn, Strangers at Black Pony Inn, Secrets at Black Pony Inn
Prince at Black Pony Inn, Pan, London, pb 1978, illus Gareth Floyd
Severn House, London, hb
Swift hb 1988
Ravette pb 1989
In More Adventures from Black Pony Inn, Award 1999
Contains: Prince at Black Pony Inn, Catastrophe at Black Pony Inn, Good Deeds at Black Pony Inn
Phantom Horse in Danger, Armada, London, pb ,1980
Severn House, London, hb, 1983
Award, London, hb, 1997
Award, London, hb, 2012, cover Jennifer Bell
Phantom Horse Goes to Scotland, Armada, London, pb, 1981
Severn House, London,hb
Ravette, pb
Award, London, hb, 1997
As Phantom Horse Island Mystery, Award, Worksop, hb, 2012
Pony Patrol and the Mystery Horse, Pan, London, pb 1980
Severn House, London, 1981
Simon & Schuster 1993 hb and pb, illus Jennifer Bell, cover Rowan Isaac, taken at the Honington Equestrian Centre, Southborough, Kent.  188 pp.
Black Pioneer
As far as I know, this wasn’t published separately.
in Black Beauty’s Family 2, Beaver, 1982
Ponies in the Park, Beaver, London, 1982 pb
Severn House, London, hb 1983
Ponies in the Forest, Beaver, London, pb 1983
Severn House, London, hb 1983
Ponies in the Blizzard, Beaver, London, 1984 pb
Severn House, London,1986
Wait for Me Phantom Horse, Ravette, London, pb 1985
Severn House hb
Award 1997 hb, ill Eric Rowe
Award, 2012, hb, cover Jennifer Bell
Candy Goes to the Gymkhana, Paperbird 1989, illus Gavin Rowe
Candy Stops a Train, Paperbird 1989, ill Terry Gabbey
Catastrophe at Black Pony Inn, Ravette pb 1989
Swift hb 1991
In More Adventures from Black Pony Inn, Award 1999
Contains: Prince at Black Pony Inn, Catastrophe at Black Pony Inn, Good Deeds at Black Pony Inn
Good Deeds at Black Pony Inn, Ravette pb 1989
Swift 1991 hb
In More Adventures from Black Pony Inn, Award 1999
Contains: Prince at Black Pony Inn, Catastrophe at Black Pony Inn, Good Deeds at Black Pony Inn
A Pony in Distress, Cavalier, 1994 pb
I Want That Pony!, Simon & Schuster, London, 1994
Reprinted in pb 1994
The Best Pony For Me!, Macdonald Young, London, 1995
Horsehaven, Cavalier 1996
Sundance Saves the Day, Cavalier 1997
The Pony Test, Macdonald Young, London, 1997
Reprinted in pb 1999
The Pony Picnic, Macdonald Young, London, 1998, illus Gilly Marklew
Reprinted in pb 1999
Havoc at Horsehaven, Cavalier pb 1999
Horsehaven Lives On, Cavalier pb 1999

Short stories
Cocktail Capitulates, Riding Magazine, January, 1941, written with Diana and Josephine
A ruined pony is rehabilitated.
The Road to Ruin, Riding Magazine, Summer, 1942, written with Diana and Josephine
A pony goes to the bad.
She Won’t Jump, Riding Magazine, September, 1951, illus Rex E Swallow
Nothing Venture, Pony Magazine, July 1952, illus Maurice Tulloch
The Chill Valley Point-to-Point, Pony, Nov 1953 - Mar 1954, illus Joan Wanklyn
Another adventure for the Chill Valley Hunt, who feature in three full length books.
Star Pupil, Our Own Schoolgirl's Annual, World Distributors, 1955
Sheila feels she’s hopeless - with the Pony Club dance make a difference?
An Unexpected Hunt, Daily Mail Annual for Girls, London, 1955
Cherry follows the hunt on foot, and unexpected things happen.
The Vicious Circle, Pony Club Book No. 10, Naldrett Press Ltd/The World’s Work (1913) Ltd, 1959, illus Helen Collins
Sunstar can jump at home, but it’s a totally different matter when he’s away.
A New Beginning, Collins Girls’ Annual, 1958
When Janet’s father is sent to prison, she feels isolated, but when she starts to train problem ponies, life improves.
A Job in Life, The Crackerjack Book for Girls, Children’s Press, undated, possibly 1950s, illus Sheila Rose.
Judy leaves school and starts working with horses.
Chance to Jump, Pony Magazine, October 1969, illus Ninetta Butterworth
Pony Patrol Ends a Racket, Pony Parade, Granada, 1978
Letters to an Elder Sister, Pony Parade, Granada, 1978
A Little Grey Foal, Pony Tales, Pony Magazine, 1988, ed Julia Goodwin
Pullein-Thompson Treasury, 1995
The Ghost in the Top Meadow, Horse and Pony Stories - chosen by Christine Pullein-Thompson,
Kingfisher 1992, various later reprints, illus Victor Ambrus
The Pullein-Thompson Treasury of Horse and Pony Stories
Award, 1995, illus Eric Rowe. Reprinted 2015.
Contains:
Hoofprints in the Sand
Hamstrung
A Little Grey Foal
Isobel's Pony
Green with Envy
Just a Bit Different
Skeleton Rider
Downright Cruelty
The Old Dun Pony
Burnt Rosettes
Firkin's Ghost
Too Much Trouble
A Ghost in the Family
What a Turnabout!
Only Five Days Left
Status Symbol
The Night Coach Comes In
The Bargain
A Real Live Ghost
Miserable Wreck
Too Scared to Ride

The Vanishing Pony, Ride Like the Wind, Orion, 1997, ed Wendy Cooling
A pony kept on his own is lonely, and goes missing.

Short story collections edited by Christine Pullein-Thompson
A Pony Scrapbook, Pan 1972
A Second Pony Scrapbook, Pan 1973
Christine Pullein-Thompson’s Book of Pony Stories, Pan, London, 1975
Pony Parade, Granada, 1978, pb
A collection of bits and pieces; fiction and non fiction.
Saddle Up, Kingfisher 1994, reprinted 2007
Riding Stories, Kingfisher 1995, illus Victor Ambrus
Thundering Hooves, Kingfisher 1996, illus Victor Ambrus
Republished as More Horse & Pony Stories, Kingfisher 1998
Bedtime Pony Stories, Cavalier 1997, illus Mark Smallman
More Bedtime Pony Stories, Cavalier 1997
Magical Pony Tales, Cavalier 1998
Incredible Pony Tales, Cavalier 1998

Non fiction
Follyfoot Pony Quiz Book, Pan 1974
Good Riding, Armada pb 1975
Severn House hb 1977
A Pony to Love, Pan pb 1975
Severn House hb 1978
Riding for Fun, Armada Original, 1976,
Severn House 1978
Improve Your Riding, Armada pb 1979
Severn House hb 1985
Riding, Granada 1983 (as Christine Keir)
Fair Girls and Grey Horses, Allison & Busby 1996

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