Queen Rider combines school and ponies and is perhaps one of the best of the school-and-pony genre, with its spikily difficult teenage anti-heroine, Bonnie, and realistically drawn school. Sadly for the school-and–pony genre, Queen Rider was the only pony book AD Langholm wrote.
Many books in both the school and pony genres hold that school (or ponies) cure all. That is not what happens in Queen Rider. It is doubtful right to the end whether Bonnie will actually decide she is going to become a slightly more conventional member of school society, and the twists and turns of the plot keep taking you by surprise.
Queen Rider was first published under the pseudonym A D Langholm, but its more recent reprints have been under the name Alan Davidson. Alan Davidson is the husband of writer Anne Digby.
Finding the book: the book is not hard to find in any of its guises, and nor is it hugely expensive.
Queen Rider W H Allen, London, 1979, 120pp. Cover photo Pictor International. Magnet, pb, 1980 Methuen Children’s Books, 1980 Straw Hat, Cambridge, 1993, 160 pp, cover Lorna Cowan.
Bonnie Wyndham is proud of having been thrown out of three schools, and is now on her first day at Almonside, a school with a proud tradition of sporting excellence, and which has its own stables. Bonnie’s mother is desperate for her to succeed at this school, but Bonnie is even more determined not to. The riding teacher at Almonside, Miss Caradon, is unphased by Bonnie’s awful bolshiness, and slowly, very slowly, Bonnie does come round.