Ponies, ponies, ponies



The Jinny Books

For Love of a Horse
A Devil to Ride
The Summer Riders
Night of the Red Horse
Gallop to the Hills
Horse in a Million
The Magic Pony
Ride Like The Wind
Chestnut Gold
Jump for the Moon
Horse of Fire
Running Wild

Jinny Bibliography


The Special Pony/The Perfect Horse
A Pony to Jump/Jumping Lessons
Cross-Country Gallop
Pony Club Rider
The Stolen Pony/Show Jumper Wanted
Pony Puzzle/Mystery Horse
Riding Course Summer
Collins, 1963
Reissued in 1968 Children’s Press, laminated boards, 187 pp.
Character list

Ann and Angy know they are both hopeless riders.  Mr Winton, who owned the local
riding school, wasn’t actually interested in teaching children to ride himself, so the girls,
after being spoken to bracingly by Ann’s father, decide to start a riding club.
A Rosette For Royal
Blackie 1963, illus Anne Linton

Cassandra Leigh sees Royal Flame, a chestnut mare, and wants her.  She buys her, but then after an accident,
Cassandra’a aunt and uncle send Flame back to the person she was bought from.  Cassandra swears that she
will buy Flame back.
The Black Loch
Collins 1963, illus Janet Duchesne
Reprinted in pb Armada 1979
as The Horse From Black Loch, cover photo Chris

USA edn, far right:
1st US edn 1968

Publisher Funk & Wagnalls
Cover illus Carolyn Cather
Internal illus Janet Duchesne

Kay, and her cousins Sara and Edgar are visiting their Scottish cousins at Deersmalen.  The Deersmalen family have a mysterious secret:
The One in the Black Loch.  Kay discovers this is a horse, but unfortunately the treacherous Edgar discovers it too, and tries to make money out of it.  Kay and her Deersmalen cousins fight to save the horse from captivity.
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

Jean and Stuart Donaldson slowly and painfully earn
the pony to buy their own pony:  Kirsty, a Highland

To Save a Pony
Hutchinson, London, 1960, illus Sheila Rose

The Dallas family moved to Scotland and took over Feyton Mill Farm, and started a riding school.  All of them had
to work very hard, even Jane, who was writing a book until she found the grey pony and saving her became the
most important thing in her life.

First Pony
Originally published under the name Jane Eliot in 1967, Spitfire pb
Collins Pony Library, 1973
Character list

Sandy moves to the country, and the new house has a paddock, a stable, and even
some jumps:  now Sandy can fulfil her dream of having a pony.  However, the expensive
ponies she sees just don’t seem right, and then she meets Karen, who tells her about
Tarka, skin and bone after a cold winter out.  Sandy buys Tarka, but then there is a
struggle before she is fit.
Cross-Country Pony
Blackie 1965
Knight pb 1978

The Morton children, an enterprising lot though short of money, start up a business - a
Pets’ Holiday Home.  However, their canine guests cause chaos, and Harold the pony has
wicked little eyes and a nature to match.  Harold, however, has one great talent.
Highland Pony Trek
Collins, 1964
Reprinted as Collins Seagull

Fiona, Morag and Neil McKean think they will have to sell their Highland house, until they hit on the idea
of turning it into a pony trekking centre.  Even then, everything is not plain sailing, particularly when the
ponies escape one day.  They run riot over Colonel Gray’s land, and he forbids them from using his
estate for their treks:  and without it their venture looks doomed.
Janet Young Rider (1963)
Constable, London, 1963. 176 pp, cover Douglas Hall
Reprinted in USA as
Last Summer To Ride, 1963
Reprinted in pb by Armada as
A Horse for the Holidays

Far right: USA edition
1st US 1965
Publisher Funk & Wagnalls
Cover Joseph Cellini. Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau for the picture.

Janet has promised her parents she will go for a steady job (ie something
not horse-related) at the end of the summer holidays.  During the holidays she helps out at a riding school, but after a horrible accident to the owner, she has to take on much more responsibility than she bargained for.  Jim’s stay in hospital means Janet also gets to ride Meridian, even though at first this doesn’t go well.  In the end, riding Meridian means Janet’s career takes a new direction.
Jacky Jumps to the Top
Initially printed as Collins Spitfire pb, 1967, under the name Jane Eliot
Collins Pony Library, 1973
Reprinted in pb by Armada as Jump To The Top, 1973

Jacky has been promised that she can jump the black mare Flicka, but
then Miss Henderson has to sell up the riding school, and Flicka goes to
auction.  Unfortunately Celia Grunter, who is certain to ruin Flicka, wants
her too. Even when she overcomes that hurdle, there’s Flicka’s habit of
charging off to be cured.
Pony Club Camp
Collins Spitfire,pb, 1967
under the name Jane Eliot
Character List

This is another Pony Club in need of a bit of help. Dr Brogan can see it needs a bit more life, so he
organises a Pony Club Camp, with the usual series of ups and downs.
Afraid to Ride
Originally published under the name Jane Eliot
Spitfire, pb 1967
Collins Pony Library, 1974
Character list
Jill has been put off riding by an accident at a bad riding school, but when she goes to
stay with her cousins and their Aunt Jo, she is faced with ponies everywhere after Aunt
Jo has an accident and the cousins decide to run the stables.  She won’t go near the
ponies, but then she discovers the Fell Digory in a field.  He has been condemned as
dangerous, but Jill likes him.
Dream of Fair Horses
Collins 1975
Reprinted as Dream Of Fair Horses, Armada 1980
The Fields of Praise: USA Edn:  1st US 1975  Publisher Lippincott

Gill Caridia and her family move to the country after her father’s book
sells well.  There she sees Perdita, a grey show pony, and through the
Pony Club, she meets Mr Ramsay, Perdita’s owner.  Gill learns to ride
Perdita, and together they go to the top, but there is no wonderful end
to the story for Gill.
Pony Surprise
Collins Pony Library, 1974

Penny and Ewan live in a ponyless household (“The Macdonald household boasted a fridge and a washing machine
but no pony.” ) They come across the pony Augustus, who knows how to deal with children. What Augustus likes
is a nice green field, and none of this gymkhana nonsense.
Rebel Pony
Collins Pony Library, 1973
Character List

Kandy Kerrack is the daughter of a horse dealer, so is used to having ponies sold. Then Kandy finds a chestnut
part-Arab at a sale. The pony looks vicious, and Kandy’s father refuses to buy him.  Kandy’s new friend, Jack,
does buy the pony, and together they work on re-schooling him.

Patricia Leitch (1933- ) 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.


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.


Sources and links  
Biographical information in the Jinny books
Patricia Leitch - an interview

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 Facebook group for Jinny


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.  












A Devil to Ride
Armada Original, 1976, 127 pp.
Reprints: 1984, 1992, 1993

Severn House, 1980, hardback

Compilation: (with For Love of a Horse & Summer Riders)
Armada, 1992

Catnip, London, 2010, 176 pp.

Jinny now has Shantih, but riding Shantih is a
nightmare, not a dream. Whatever Jinny tries, i
t does not work.  Almost worse is the fact that
Ken can ride her.

The Summer Riders
Armada Original, 1977, 128 pp.

Scholastic, New York, 1977
Reprints: 1983, 1984, 1992
Severn House, 1980, hardback
Compilation: (with For Love of a Horse & Summer Riders)
Armada, 1992

Catnip, London, 2010, 208 pp.

Jinny is looking forward to a wonderful summer on
Shantih, but then finds out the Thorpe children are
coming. Marlene, who is ten, wants to ride Shantih,
but Jinny is vehemently against that. Jinny does at
last realise that there is more to Marlene than she


For Love of a Horse
Armada Original, 1976, 125 pp.
Reprints: 1984, 1992, 1993
Severn House, 1979, hardback with dustjacket
Compilation: (with For Love of a Horse & Summer Riders)
Armada, 1992

Catnip, London, 2010, 210 pp.


Jinny’s family are moving to Finmory in Scotland,
away from urban Stopton.  Jinny sees an Arab mare
being terribly mistreated in a circus. The horse
escapes onto the moors, and Jinny tries, and tries
to catch her.  At last, in a bitter winter which has
nearly killed the horse, she succeeds.


Night of the Red Horse
Armada Original, 1978, 127 pp.
Reprints: 1983,1988, 1993
Compilation: (with Summer Riders)
Lion, 1994

Catnip, London, 2011, 208 pp.

Two archaeologists come to see the mural of a red
horse in Jinny’s room.  They are hoping it’s ancient,
but it’s Victorian.  Whatever they think, Jinny soon
finds that the red horse has a strange power, as does
the statue of Epona they see in a local museum.

Gallop to the Hills
Armada Original, 1979
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.

The Manders’ dog, Kelly, has been branded a sheep
killer, and is being hunted down by local farmers
who want to shoot him.  Then Jinny gets a
dream commission painting six horses for Lady
Gilbert, but she is sure she has seen wolves on
their estate.

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.


Jinny and Sue are organising the Finmory Gymkhana,
but Clare Burnley,pot hunter supreme, decides to
compete. After that, two of Miss Tuke’s
ponies disappear, and then Shantih disappears. ..


The Magic Pony
Armada, 1982
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.


Shantih is lame, and Jinny hopes that Brenda from
the riding school will help. But Brenda does not
love her ponies, one of whom is Easter, a
ghost like, skeletal grey mare.


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.

Mr Mander’s second book has been rejected, Nell’s shop, where they
sell pots and pictures, is closing down, and so it looks as if the Manders
will have to sell Finmory.

Chestnut Gold
Armada, 1984
Reprints: 1992

Severn House, 1987, hardback
Compilation (with Jump for the Moon)
Lions, 1995


Jinny and Shantih are taking part in the filming of a TV programme, and then a strange
man dressed in black appears. Jinny ends up trying to capture the dance of the golden
horses in a mural.


Jump for the Moon
Armada Original, 1985
Reprints: 1992
Compilation (with Chestnut Gold)
Lions, 1995


Jinny thought she had bought Shantih from Mr Mackenzie fair and square, but now the
ringmaster of the Circus Shantih came from is saying he is coming back to reclaim his

horse. Then another possible owner appears, and it looks as if Jinny’s last glorious ride
on Shantih will be at the Adair Show.

Horse of Fire
Armada Original, 1986
Reprints: 1991, 1992
Compilation (with Running Wild)
Lions, 1995


The new minister at the local church has a plan: he wants to stage a nativity with the
three kings riding in on horses, and he asks Jinny and Shantih to take part.  While they
are working at this, deer poachers strike on the moors.

Running Wild
Armada Original, 1988
Reprints: 1990, 1993
Compilation (with Horse of Fire)
Lions, 1995


The Wilton museum is going to be demolished, but the Walker has a task for Jinny and
Shantih: to save the mural of the dancing horses.

Cross Country Gallop
Lions, 1993
As three-in-one with Pony to Jump and Cross-Country Gallop, Collins 1996
USA:  Cross Country Gallop
HarperCollins, New York, 1996, jacket Stephen Marchesi, 114 pp.
USA paperback edition (far right)
Character list
There is a pairs class cross country at Tarent Show, and Sally enters with
her much whizzier friend Thalia.  Sally is worried:  her riding style is
completely different to Thalia’s, so will she be able to keep up, let alone
A Pony to Jump
Lions, 1992
USA:  Jumping Lessons
As a three-in-one with Pony to Jump and Cross-Country Gallop
Collins 1996

Character list
Sally Lorimer has all of the holidays before her, and her parents sign her up for a course
of jumping lessons.  Sally’s friend Thalia finds this jumping business easy, but Sally just
can’t do it.  When they become involved in a local pageant, Sally has a deadline: she must
learn to jump.
The Special Pony
Lions, 1992
USA:  The Perfect Horse
As a three-in-one with Pony to Jump and Cross-Country Gallop
Collins 1996
Character list
After the Lorimer family inherit some money, they can realise their dream of buying Kestrels,
a large house in the Scottish countryside.  For Sally, it means that at last she can think of
having her own pony.
Pony Puzzle
Lions, 1994
USA:  Mystery Horse
Character list

Sally and Thalia discover a mysterious, and lonely horse, on its own in a field
at Mr Frazer’s riding stables.  Sally decides to rescue her, but she may have
taken on more than she can handle.
The Stolen Pony
Lions, 1994
USA:  Show Jumper Wanted

Thalia’s absent father suddenly turns up.  He is not the sort of father dreams are
made of:  neither of the girls trust him, and then he sells Thalia’s pony, Tarquin.
Pony Club Rider
Lions, 1993
USA:  Pony Club Rider
HarperCollins, New York, 1996, jacket Stephen Marchesi, 115 pp.
USA paperback edition (far right)
Character list

Sally dreams of being on the Pony Club One Day Event Team, but she’s
still scared of jumping.  

Treasure from the East
Gollancz 1966
Windows: Poems
New Leaves Press 1978
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Armada 1983
Short Stories:
Midnight Stallion, in Pony Tales, pub Pony Magazine.  Illus Claire Colvin