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Margaret MacPherson lived on the Isle of Skye, which is where her one pony book, Ponies for Hire, was set. She wrote two further children’s books also set on Skye: The Shinty Boys and The Rough Road.
Ponies for Hire sees Kirsty and her family struggling to survive through farming on their croft. Her brother, Robbie has had enough of farming using Highland pony horsepower, and wants a tractor. If he can’t farm in an easier way, he’ll go off to sea. Kirsty of course is desperate for this not to happen. Her widowed mother starts to take in holiday makers to make enough money to pay for the tractor, and Kirsty, together with their first guest, Nick, start a small trekking operation with the rest of the community’s ponies, fortunately on their summer break from farming.
The Skye background lifts this pony story out of the ordinary, and the main characters of Nick and Kirsty are very well drawn.
Finding the book
Ponies for Hire was reprinted by Collins together with Joanna Cannan’s They Bought Her a Pony and Monica Edwards’ The Midnight Horse in Three Great Pony Stories. Ponies for Hire is generally quite easy to find in this printing, but is becoming more expensive because of the Monica Edwards factor: as The Midnight Horse is becoming more scarce, prices of this printing have risen in recent years. Ponies for Hire as a standalone volume is not impossible to find, but it is a bit more expensive than many pony books.