Biography

Leitch, Patricia

Patricia Leitch (1933–2015) had a varied career, working as a teacher, librarian, riding instructor and maid before she settled down to writing. She is, thanks to her Jinny series, a must-read author if you want to do a serious study of how the pony book genre developed.

Before she wrote about Jinny, Patricia Leitch had produced a solid range of good pony stories. Patricia didn’t feel she had to follow pony book conventions: Riding Course Summer has the heroine starting off without a pony, but still without one at the end. Dream of Fair Horses doesn’t see the show pony Perdita ending up with the rider who loves her, by some neat plot trick. Its heroine, Gill Caridia, is moving away from the seemingly idyllic country life by the end of the book.

Jinny, the heroine of the twelve book long series, is in many ways not a conventional pony book heroine. Jill Crewe, heroine of Ruby Ferguson’s Jill series, and an equally popular figure in pony fiction, is remarkably free of teenage sturm und drang, but Jinny has all those insecurities and temperamental fits in spades. Jinny and her Arab mare, Shantih are well matched. They are both temperamental: neither of them like listening to anyone other than themselves. Jinny’s early history with Shantih is one of hopeless longing. She longs to be able to ride the mare, but cannot. To make her hopelessness as a rider even more obvious, Ken, who lives with them, can handle Shantih effortlessly.The series succeeds because Jinny is a very recognisable teenager, and her longings and desires are ones most pony mad children will have had. Jinny succeeds in combining wish fulfilment (her Arab mare) with being a completely identifiable figure, often making mistakes, and sometimes blundering through life until she is confronted with her prejudices.  
The Kestrels series, for younger readers were Patricia’s last books, and a much tamer affair than the Jinnies.

Sources and links
Biographical information in the Jinny books
Patricia Leitch - an interview (this link should go to the new website - apologies if it doesn't yet)
How the Jinny books came to be republished by Catnip
The post which started it all: Shantih, the new cover star - scroll down!
Susanna Forrest’s If Wishes Were Horses has a chapter on Patricia Leitch
<a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/2478691516/" A Facebook group for Jinny
Photographs of Pat, and the tribute read at her funeral
Obituary of Patricia Leitch, Herald, Scotland, 4 August 2015, retrieved 15.08.15
Acknowledgments:  thank you to Hannah, Claire, Susan, Fiona and Cheryl for all their help with the pictures, and to Helen McKinnon for the information about the German translations.

Finding the books
Rosette for Royal, the Collins Pony Library Jacky Jumps to the Top, and Janet Young Rider are the hardest books to find. None of them are impossible, but they can be expensive. The other Collins Pony Library titles:  Rebel Pony, First Pony, Pony Surprise and Afraid to Ride are all becoming more scarce now, and becoming more expensive. The Jane Eliot titles can be expensive. The other non-series titles are all reasonably easy to find and not generally expensive. Titles published in paperback are plentiful and cheap.

The Jinny series:  all usually widely available, though the hardback editions are very scarce and now getting pricey. Some are currently in print through Catnip Publishers.
The Kestrels series:  all usually widely available, and reasonably priced.  

Bibliography: pony books only
To Save a Pony, Hutchinson, London, 1960, illus Sheila Rose
A Pony Of Our Own, Blackie & Son 1960, illus Constance Marshall. Reprinted by Blackie in their 'orange' edition.
Reprinted in pb Knight Books 1971, 1979
The Black Loch, Collins, London, 1963, illus Janet Duchesne
CBC, 1963
As The Horse From Black Loch, Funk & Wagnalls, 1968, cover Carolyn Cather Armada, London, pb, 1979
Riding Course Summer, Collins, London, 1963
Children’s Press, London, 1968, laminated boards, 187 pp.
A Rosette For Royal, Blackie, London, 1963, illus Anne Linton
Janet Young Rider, Constable, London, 1963. 176 pp, cover Douglas Hall
As Last Summer To Ride, Funk & Wagnalls, 1963, cover Joseph Cellini
As A Horse for the Holidays, Armada, London
Highland Pony Trek, Collins, London, 1964, cover Geoffrey Whittam
Collins Seagull, London
Cross-Country Pony, Blackie 1965
Knight pb 1978
First Pony, Originally published under the name Jane Eliot in 1967, Spitfire pb
Collins Pony Library, London, 1973
Jacky Jumps to the Top, Initially printed as Collins Spitfire pb, 1967, as Jane Eliot
Collins Pony Library, London, 1973
As Jump to the Top, Armada, London, pb, 1973
Pony Club Camp, Collins Spitfire, London, pb, 1967
under the name Jane Eliot
Afraid to Ride, Originally published under the name Jane Eliot, Spitfire, pb, 1967
Collins Pony Library, 1974
Rebel Pony, Collins Pony Library, London, 1973
Pony Surprise, Collins Pony Library, London, 1974
Dream of Fair Horses, Collins, London, 1975
As The Fields of Praise, Lippincott, 1975
As Dream Of Fair Horses, Armada, London, pb, 1980
For Love of a Horse, Armada Original, 1976, 125 pp.
Armada reprints: 1984, 1992, 1993
Severn House, 1979, hardback with dustjacket
Compilation: (with For Love of a Horse and Summer Riders), Armada, 1992
Catnip, London, 2010, 210 pp.
A Devil to Ride, Armada Original, 1976, 127 pp.
Armada reprints: 1984, 1992, 1993
Severn House, 1980, hardback
Compilation: (with For Love of a Horse and Summer Riders), Armada, 1992
Catnip, London, 2010, 176 pp.
The Summer Riders, Armada Original, 1977, 128 pp.
Scholastic, New York, 1977
Armada reprints: 1983, 1984, 1992
Severn House, 1980, hardback
Compilation: (with For Love of a Horse and Summer Riders), Armada, 1992
Catnip, London, 2010, 208 pp.
Night of the Red Horse, Armada Original, 1978, 127 pp.
Armada reprints: 1983,1988, 1993
Compilation: (with Summer Riders), Lion, 1994
Catnip, London, 2011, 208 pp.
Gallop to the Hills, Armada Original, 1979
Armada reprints: 1985, 1988, 1992
Compilation (with Red Horse, Horse in a Million), Lions, 1993
Compilation: (with Horse in a Million), Lions, 1994
Catnip, London, 2011, 208 pp.
Horse in a Million, Armada Original, 1980, 126 pp.
Reprints: 1983,1988, 1992
Severn House, 1983, hardback
Compilation (with Red Horse, Gallop), Lions, 1993
Compilation: (with Gallop to the Hills), Lions, 1994
Catnip, London,  2011, 192 pp.
The Magic Pony, Armada, 1982
Armada reprints: 1985, 1992
Severn House, 1986, hardback
Compilation: Three Great Jinny Stories (with
Horse in a Million & Ride Like the Wind), Armada, 1989
Compilation: (with Ride Like the Wind) Lions, 1995
Catnip, 2012, 208 pp.
Ride Like the Wind, Armada Original, 1983, 156 pp.
Reprints: 1988, 1990
Severn House, 1986, hardback
Compilation: Three Great Jinny Stories (Horse in a Million/Magic Pony) Armada, 1989
Compilation (with Magic Pony), Lions, 1995
Catnip, 2013, 200 pp.
Chestnut Gold, Armada, 1984
Armada reprints: 1992
Severn House, 1987, hardback
Compilation (with Jump for the Moon), Lions, 1995
Jump for the Moon, Armada Original, 1985
Armada reprints: 1992
Compilation (with Chestnut Gold), Lions, 1995
Horse of Fire, Armada Original, 1986
Armada reprints: 1991, 1992
Compilation (with Running Wild), Lions, 1995
Running Wild, Armada Original, 1988
Armada reprints: 1990, 1993
Compilation (with Horse of Fire), Lions, 1995
The Special Pony, Lions, 1992
As The Perfect Horse, American publication
As a three-in-one with Pony to Jump and Cross-Country Gallop, Collins 1996
A Pony to Jump, Lions, 1992
As Jumping Lessons, American publication
As a three-in-one with Pony to Jump and Cross-Country Gallop, Collins 1996
Cross Country Gallop, Lions, 1993
HarperCollins, New York, 1996, jacket Stephen Marchesi, 114 pp.
As three-in-one with Pony to Jump and Cross-Country Gallop, Collins 1996
Pony Club Rider, Lions, 1993
HarperCollins, New York, 1996, jacket Stephen Marchesi, 115 pp.
The Stolen Pony, Lions, 1994
As Show Jumper Wanted, American edition
Pony Puzzle, Lions, 1994
As Mystery Horse, American publication
Short stories
Midnight Stallion, in Pony Tales, pub Pony Magazine.  Illus Claire Colvin
Non-Pony
Treasure from the East
Gollancz 1966
Windows: Poems
New Leaves Press, 1978
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Armada 1983

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