Ponies, ponies, ponies
K M Peyton (1929 -
Sabre, the Horse from the Sea (as Kathleen Herald)
Adam & Charles Black, 1948, 145pp, illus Lionel Edwards (left)
USA edition: paperback printing
Acorn books (a division of Macmillan)
1963, cover art by Russell Hoban (thanks to Susan Bourgeau for the info and cover shot)
Liza found the big grey stallion Sabre on the beach, and after she falls for him, lies to the police
when they come to take him back. She races the horse, but he is recognised by his owner and
taken back. Liza does still though have the hope of Cinder’s foal, after the mare was put to Sabre.
She dreams of a colt to follow Sabre, but the foal that appears is a filly, Scimitar.
The Mandrake, A Pony (as Kathleen Herald)
Adam & Charles Black, 1949, 120pp, illus Lionel Edwards
Lesley has bought The Mandrake. He is a beautiful pony: bay with a clever head and wide aristocratic
nostrils. Lesley thinks he will be the most wonderful pony in the South, but she was wrong. Mr Congress
said “The Mandrake’s got a brain like a bird. He’s mad.” Lesley though says The Mandrake was born
to be clever, and in the end, she’s proved right, and Lesley learns it doesn’t matter what other people
think about your pony, and that success is not the most important thing.
Crab the Roan (as Kathleen Herald)
Adam & Charles Black, 1953, 158pp, illus Peter Biegel
Thanks to Amanda Dolby for the picture
Anna lives on “The Duke’s” estate with her father, the estate manager. China is the Duke’s driving
pony, and Anna loves him and is devastated when he is sold, to be replaced by the ugly roan, Crab.
Crab, however, turns out to be a horse in a million.
Oxford University Press, 1967, 193pp, illus Victor Ambrus
Puffin pb, 1976, 1978, 1995
Oxford University Press, 1981, 1987, 2004, 2007
US printing (not first edn, which has
Ambrus cover art) Philomel, 1982, cover Derek James
The 12 year old Christina, an orphan, is sent off to Flambards.
There live her uncle, and her two cousins, Mark and Will. Mark is
deeply unsympathetic, but Christina does make friends with Will, and
also discovers a passion for horses. Then Christina is stunned by
Mark’s proposal, but her feelings for Will win out, despite a dramatic
last minute chase by Mark on his grey Woodpigeon.
The Edge of the Cloud
Oxford University Press, 1969, 165 pp, illus Victor Ambrus
Puffin pb, 1977, 1978, far right
OUP, 1987, 1998
Christina knows that Will loves her, but that he has a passion for flying and aeroplanes.
In the end, they marry, but the First World War is just about to start.
Oxford University Press, 1968, 151 pp, illus by the author
OUP, pb, 1979
Sparrow, pb, 1981 (middle right)
In Thrre in one Pony stories, 1999, Red Fox
Fidra Books, pb, 2007 (far right)
USA: World Publishing 1969 (middle).
Ruth is desperate to have a pony. She manages to buy the unbroken New Forest, Fly-
Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer
Oxford University Press, 1970, 188 pp, illus by the author (US: Pennington’s Last Term)
OUP 1973, New Oxford Library, 1979
Magnet, pb, 1982
Scholastic, pb, 1994
Patrick Pennington is one of the bad boys at school, though he is redeemed by his extraordinary
ability at the piano. He is entered in a local music competition, but the chances of him competing
in it are slim, after his brushes with the police, local vandals and the staff who war with him at school.
The Beethoven Medal
Oxford University Press, 1971, 152pp, illus the author (US: If Ever I Marry)
OUP, 1974, 1979
Magnet pb, 1982
Ruth, heroine of Fly, is besotted by the baker’s boy -
holidays from his music course. Her mother violently disapproves, but Ruth carries on seeing Patrick.
He has yet more brushes with the police, and after he hits a policeman, it is certain that he will go to
prison, ruining his chances to play with a major orchestra.
A Pattern of Roses
Oxford University Press, 1972, 123pp
Sparrow pb, 1982
Oxford, 1984, OUP, 2000
Pb Scholastic USA: as So Once Was I
Translated into Welsh (Patrwm Rhosod)
A very atmospheric story with minimal pony content. Tim has moved to the country with his parents, but is ill and unhappy. Then a workman finds a tin containing drawings in Tim’s room, and Tim and the vicar’s daughter, Rebecca, set out to find out why the artist who did the drawings, and who has the same initials as Tim, died so young decades ago.
Flambards in Summer
Oxford University Press, 1969, 188pp, illus Victor Ambrus
Puffin pb, 1977, 1978,
Heinemann, New Windmill,1982 (left)
OUP 1985, 1999
Christina, now a widow, returns to Flambards, and sets about trying to
restore the battered estate and make it pay as a farm. Dick, once a groom
at Flambards, returns, and that is nearly enough to make Christina happy again.
Picture not shown because of copyright restrictions
Picture not shown because of copyright restrictions
Oxford University Press, 1973, 185 pp, illus the author
OUP, 1975, pb
Patrick comes out of prison, and has a reunion with Ruth, but Ruth gets pregnant.
Patrick leaves his teacher, and he and Ruth try and survive on their own, battling
with their hand to mouth existence, and the machinations of Clarissa, Patrick’s
Oxford University Press, 1975, 177pp, illus the author
Sparrow pb, 1982, Red Fox, pb, 1990
Fidra Books, pb, 2008
US: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976
Ruth has outgrown Fly, and at a local auction she buys Peter’s outgrown and
utterly beloved Toad. Peter wants him back, but Ruth decides to keep him and
a wedge is driven between them. Ruth has a huge struggle to learn to ride Toad,
and then finds Fly, whom she sold, is not being kept well.
Oxford University Press, 1977, illus Victor Ambrus
Magnet pb, 1983
Ned Rowlands is the fastest stagecoach driver on the Harwich Road. Lord Ironminster is determined
to win a wager aginst his cousins, and recruits Ned to help. Lord Ironminster is a sick man, and has
to marry and produce an heir to avoid his estate passing to his cousins. Ned finds defeating the
cousins in their desire to get the estate is even more of a struggle than driving the four-
A Midsummer Night’s Death
Oxford University Press, 1978, 120 pp.
Puffin pb, 1981
OUP, 1983, 1999
Jonathan doesn’t like the English master at his school, but he can’t believe that
Robin drowned himself. Soon Jonathan begins to have suspicions that Robin did
not kill himself, and that someone for whom he has huge respect was responsible.
Oxford University Press, 1979, illus Robert Mickelwright
Methuen as Falling Angels, 1983
The church Marion loves is famous, and decorated with six pairs of beautifully carved angels. The
church is threatened with demolition, but this threat brings to the village two visitors who understand
her feelings for the church.
Oxford University Press, 1981
Puffin pb, 1982
OUP pb, 1999
Last in the Flambards series, this was written specially for a film.
Christina finds herself divided between two men: Dick, whom she has
married, but whom the village disapproves of, and Mark, badly injured
in the war, and furiously resentful of Dick.
Bodley Head, 1981
This is based on the tragic true story of the famous jockey, Fred Archer and is overlain
with the story of Laura, who idolises Fred, and has a complete crush on him, to the
embarrassment of her parents. The only people who seem to understand Laura’s
feelings are her Uncle Harry, and his protege Tiger, a boy with a fiery nature who
kisses Laura in secret behind the stable door.
Prove Yourself a Hero
Oxford University Press, 1977, illus the author
Penguin, pb, 1979, 1982 (1979: middle and far right)
Jonathan Meredith is kidnapped, and really it’s very difficult to give a summary of
this book without revealing the whole plot, but it’s an excellent look at how a
devastating event affects families, and in particular how it affects the victim.
Who, Sir? Me, Sir ?
Oxford University Press, 1983
Puffin pb, 1985
OUP, 1985, 2000 (retold by Diane Mowat)
Sam Sylvester has entered his class in a competition against the posh Greycoats School. He and his
team haveto take part in a tetrathlon, and learn to ride, swim and run cross country.
The Last Ditch
Oxford University Press, 1984, 170 pp.
Published in the USAas Free Rein
Jonathan is on holiday in Greece with Iris, who seduces him. The consequences of this
are catastrophic, and Jonathan runs away, joining up with Peter who wants to train one
of his brother’s horses for the National. They take the horse and squat in a large house,
existing on Jonathan’s income from tutoring. Jonathan falls for a girl who helps them, and
the horse does run in the National.
The Sound of Distant Cheering
Bodley Head, London, 1986
Chivers Large Print, 1987
Rosy Weeks works at Brood House. She loves her boss, Jeremy Cutbush, and the horse she looks
after, Roly Fox. When the stallion Peppermill arrives at the stables, he is going to be cut. Rosy decides
to mate him, secretly, to a mare at the stables.
Hamilton, London, 1988, 29pp.
Scholastic, pb, 1997
Aimed at young readers.
Doubleday, London, 1989, 224 pp.
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, New York, 1990 (middle)
Corgi, London, pb, 1991
Random House, London, pb, 2013 (identical to Corgi)
Jenny lives in poverty and chaos, but then she and her grandfather buy a
racehorse, and keep him on the slimmest of shoestrings, in contrast
to what goes on next door at the wealthy Strawsons.
No Roses Round The Door
Methuen, London,1990, 208 pp.
Ulverscroft Large Print, 2004
Three people face profound choices. Tom and Jo have everything, but Tom wants children, and Jo
doesn’t. Tom is drawn to Camilla, who does want children. Briefly, Tom manages to juggle these
conflicting desires, until tragedy occurs.
Doubleday, London, 1990, 80pp
Corgi Yearling, London, 1991, pb
Ros longs for a pony, and then comes across the black pony Badger. At first his owners neglect him,
but unfortunately there is worse to come, and Ros decides she absolutely has to rescue Badger.
Late to Smile
Methuen, London, 1992, 232pp
Ulverscroft Large Print, 1994
A story for adults, this is about Miranda, dominated by her mother and her husband. Unlike the rest of
her family, she has no desire to ride. When her husband dies, her life is thrown into turmoil, but she
does, in the end, work out what she wants from life.
Picture not shown because of copyright restrictions
The Wild Boy and Queen Moon
Doubleday, London, 1993, 222pp, left
Corgi, pb, 1995, right
Sandy works at her family’s livery yard, but she sees a beautiful grey horse galloping
through the night, with a boy riding it bareback. Sandy gets to know the mare’s rider,
Jonas, but then when burglaries start to happen, she starts to suspect he might be
The Swallow Tale
Doubleday, London, 1995, 189 pp, jacket illustration Margaret Barrett.
Corgi, pb, 1996
Rowan is convinced that Swallow, who nearly causes an accident with her father’s
car as he runs about half wild, is meant to be her pony. However, he is bought by a
local riding school. Meanwhile, Rowan’s riding is improved by the Hawes family, and
in the end they manage to buy Swallow.
The Pony That Went to Sea
Heinemann, 1997, 40pp, illus Anna C Leplar
Tom and Emily, who live on a houseboat, adopt the old, forgotten pony Paddy. One night there is
a storm, and they take Paddy on board the boat, but then the boat breaks free in the storm...
Doubleday, London, 1996, 191pp
Corgi, 1997, pb
As Swallow becomes fitter, it becomes clear that Rowan is still having terrible trouble managing him.
The High Hawes stables are also still on a shaky footing, and may have to sell all the ponies, including
The Scruffy Pony
Young Corgi, 1999, 95pp
When Carrie’s father loses his money and they have to sell her pony Red Robin, Carrie is heartbroken
and convinced no other pony could ever be as good. At first, when her parents do manage to get her
a new pony, Carrie refuses to have anything to do with him: he is scruffy and neglected, but he needs
Carrie and in the end she realises this.
The Paradise Pony
Young Corgi, 1999, 93 pp, illus Robin Lawrie
Lauren and Tashy love their ponies, even though they aren’t particularly good at anything. However,
when the ghostly Cobweb appears from Paradise and goes on a ride with the girls, their ponies are
able to jump beautifully.
Swallow the Star
Corgi, pb, 1998, 221pp
A film company is making a film about the jockey Fred Archer, and they chose Hugh Hawes to play
the young Fred. Hugh wants to ride Swallow in the film, as he’s always wanted to see what the pony
could do with a better rider. Swallow’s owner, Rowan still doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to
manage Swallow, and she has other worries too: will the High Hawes equestrian centre survive, and
will her mother be able to afford to keep Swallow?
Pony In The Dark
Young Corgi, 2001, 107 pp
Tom’s favourite Shetland pony, the black Storm is sold to work in the mines, and Tom is devastated.
Tom knows just how hard and bleak life in the mine will be for the pony, and when there is a terrible
accident at the mine, Tom wonders if he will ever see Storm again.
Scholastic, 1999, 360pp, Cover illustration the author
Scholastic, pb 1999 (far right)
US: Dutton Children’s Books 1999, photo Pete Kelley (right)
Scholastic, pb, 2008
Tessa loathes her bullying stepfather Maurice, and hates seeing her mother dominated
by him. When Tessa’s behaviour gets even worse, Maurice packs her off to work at a
local racing stable. At first Tessa hates it, but in the end the horses and people get to her,
and she forms a special relationship with the horse Buffoon.
Macmillan Children’s Books, London, 85 pp, 2001
Macmillan Children’s Books, London, pb, 2002
Nicky and her mother live in Bloodybow Castle. Bloodybow is haunted by a terrible past: hundreds
of years ago a feud was started when border raiders stole a stallion. The feud led to the death of a
young boy, and now Nicky has to try and lay the past to rest.
Usborne, London, 2007, 185 pp.
Minna lives at the Roman fort of Othona on the Essex coast. She saves a foal the soldiery cast out,
convinced it won’t survive, and that foal plays a pivotal part in saving the fort when pirates threaten.
David Fickling Books, Oxford, 2005, 325 pp.
Definitions, 2006, pb.
Clara is recently widowed, but is pregnant with her first child at the age of fifteen. The Garland family’s
life is no easier: in fact the activities of one member of it make life considerably worse, and Clara is
faced with some bitter choices.
No Turning Back
Usborne, London, 2008, 197pp
Still in love with the Roman commander Theo, Minna has run away to be near him. She complicates
matters further when she tries to steal back a horse stolen by a band of thieves.
Far From Home
Usborne, London, 2009, 183pp.
This is the third part of Minna’s story. Theo and Minna’s brother have set off to the North to fight, and
Minna joins the baggage train. She becomes a Roman spy, but then her horse Silva is stolen, and
Minna sets off on a mission to save him.
Scholastic, London, 2011, 200 pp.
Alice has a bleak life with her father and servants, none of whom seem to like her particularly. One day
Alice goes to a local race meeting, riding her father’s carriage horse. The horse bolts, and as a result
Alice meets a family with whom it turns out she has a lot more in common than just horses. Alice lives
with the family; finds a brother, father and mother, and also the horse Snatchcorn, whom she can
manage but very few others can.
As Kathleen Herald
Pony Magazine, October 1953, illus Harold Beards
Apple Won’t Jump
Hamish Hamilton, London, 1992, 32 pp, illus the author?
A young reader, in which a pony refuses to jump until she has a decent reason to!
Corgin Children’s Books, 1997, illus Nick Price
A pony story for younger children. Webley is a black army horse, and he is ridden by Fred.
Unfortunately, Webley is called Windy for a reason, and that’s not the only problem he has: he is
prone to getting bored, and when he’s bored he makes faces and worse.
David Fickling Books, Oxford, 2003
Definitions, 2004, pb
The Garland family have struggled to survive since the death of their mother, particularly with the
glowering and oppressive presence of the rich Grover family to contend with. Clara, however, has an
eye for a horse, and an ability to train a trotter, and she hopes this will provide the family with a way
Pennington, a Trilogy
(Pennington's Seventeenth Summer, The Beethoven Medal, Pennington's Heir)
Oxford University Press, 1985,
cover illustration by Andrew Aloof
photo cover art from the mini series
Compilations & Collections
The Puffin Book of Horse & Pony Stories
Puffin, 1993, 186 pp.
Oxford University Press, 2000, illus Michael Langham Rowe
When the Sirens Sounded
Facts, Figures and Fun, 2012, 128 pp.
A (mostly non fiction) account of K M Peyton’s wartime childhood, growing up in Surbiton as bombs fell,
and the school population rose and fell as girls came and went from London with the fluctuations of war.
In it, K M Peyton takes on life with the same passion she was to show in her books.
All That Glitters
Forelock Books, Sussex, 2014, 168 pp, ilus Maggie Raynor
Millie, though she lives on a farm, doesn’t have a pony. One day she finds a neglected, ugly pony,
whom she keeps at the local livery stable. The stables’ owner lets her niece take over the stables,
which doesn’t go down that well with Milly and her friends. The girls come to an uneasy peace
with Polly Poulter, the niece, but then the rains come…