Ponies, ponies, ponies


British Pony Books Home

Lucky Purchase
Gryphon, 1949, 149pp. illus Lionel Edwards

This snippet is taken from the opening of Lucky Purchase: “...if only she needn’t ever see another
pony again, much less have to ride one. The trouble with Jane was that, ever since she could walk, she
had had horses rammed down her throat until she was heartily sick and tired of them. Her father was
honorary secretary of the West Sussex, her mother was known throughout the county as a bold and
straight rider to hounds, and life was just one round of horses – hunting in the winter, showing in the
summer, with point-to-point racing and breeding thrown in for good measure. How she hated it all!”
Lucky Purchase is that very rare thing: a pony book about a girl who does not like horses at all. Pamela Macgregor-Morris must have seen many of these poor children, dragged along in the wake of family enthusiasm, without any attention paid to what they actually wanted at all. In the end, Jane does develop a love for horses, but she does it absolutely on her own terms.

High Honours
Witherby, London, 1948, 154 pp, illus Lionel Edwards 154 pp.

This is the story of an international show jumper, Bottom Draw. Told from her point of view, it tells her
story from her birth in Ireland. She is bought by the British Army, and eventually ends up in Weedon,
where she catches the eye of a Major Davidson. He realises the horse has the potential to succeed
as a show jumper, and a show jumper is what she becomes, and part of the British Team. With the
outbreak of war, Major Davidson goes off to war, and Bottom Draw is sold. Initially she is a happy
hacker, but then the family start to jump her. She is reunited with Major Davidson, whose wife rides
the mare to glory again.

Pamela Macgregor Morris Bibliography - pony books only


Noel Carrington, London, 1947, 143 pp, illus Lionel Edwards

- the first edition states it was published in 1927, but this is a mistake as the author was only two at
the time! The true publication date is 1947. Thanks to Caro Newland for pointing me in the right
direction here.

Topper is the life story of a Welsh pony, from his promising beginnings through the usual descent
and back to caring and comfort.

Blue Rosette
Witherby, 1950, 303 pp, illus Michael Lyne

Many thanks to Hannah for the information on this book. The blurb says: “This novel presents
the story of Terence Malone, a young man with a love of horses in his blood. At Dublin horse
show he is offered a job as a nagsman and he goes off to England and becomes involved in the
exciting business of dealing in and showing hunters. It is the story of a man starting at the bottom
rung in his profession, who is determined by any means to make a success of his life; a man who
is loved by many women, accepts the love of only one yet finds his loyalties divided.” - which
does suggest this book is aimed at an older readership than her other books!

Exmoor Ben
Gryphon 1950, London, illus Lionel Edwards, 144 pp.

Alas I haven’t managed to read this one. The following snippet is taken from the beginning of
Exmoor Ben, and gives you an idea of what it is about. This is the story of Benjamin, Ben for short
– an Exmoor pony, bay, standing 13.2 hands high, and old enough to have been at the Manor
longer than anyone else except Wood Bee, Colonel Kennedy’s old hunter, who is awfully old, even
older than I...”

Not Such a Bad Summer
Latimer House, 1950, 152 pp. Sheila Rose cover

The pony element is pretty minimal in this book: it’s more of a holiday adventure, in which a villain
(who repents, perhaps not totally convincingly) escapes from Dartmoor and has to be rescued from
worse criminals. The book is set on Dartmoor, where Roger, Helen and Tom are holidaying with
their nervous aunt, for whom I do feel a sneaking sympathy. The children fear nothing and hurl
themselves about Dartmoor looking for the escaped prisoner (with some feeling for the nervous
aunt, or at least for not getting caught: much of the action takes place at night).

The Amateur Horsedealers
1951, Gryphon Books, 216pp, illus Lionel Edwards

I do like this book. The family in question hit slightly hard times (though in the best traditions of
penniless families in books of this period, they still manage to maintain a large house with staff, and
a few horses). But I digress. In order to keep things going as they are, their father, whose regiment
is downsizing, decides to go into horsedealing. The children are delighted, but their grandmother
appalled, at least until the parents go horsehunting, when her true colours are revealed and she
goes with the children to an auction to make sure they do not buy a dud. The grandmother is a
wonderful creation.

Clear Round
Collins, London, 1962

Collins, London, 1963

Collins Pony Library, 1973, no 2, 192 pp.
This was always my favourite of my Collins Pony Library titles. Fiona is a horse-mad
London girl from a resolutely un-horsey family, sent to do her BHSI at the sort of
finishing school purpose-designed for parents to approve of. French, flowers and
cookery are also taught. Here she meets Gavin, son of the owners, and more
importantly, she meets the difficult youngster, Lucifer. Relationships blossom with
both horse and man, and all ends in a thoroughly satisfying manner.

Midnight Adventure, Pony Club Annual no 3, 1952, illus Harold Beards
Donald is going to Cornwall to spend the school holidays with his uncle -
he learns to ride, and rescues hounds.

Harkaway's New Home, Pony Club Annual no 6, 1955, illus Harold Beards
Simon has trouble settling his pony into his new home.

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Short Stories

Great Horse Stories

Arthur Barker Ltd, London, 1961, 223 pp, illus Susan Pares

Chosen by Pamela Macgregor Morris, this is a selection of excerpts from children’s and adult equine

literature. Excerpts from: Will James - Smoky, Anna Sewell - Black Beauty, Gordon Grand -
The Silver Horn, Charles Dickens - The Pickwick Papers, Somerville & Ross - Some Experiences,
Marigold Armitage - Long Way to Gom, Travels of Baron Munchausen, Richard Ball - Broncho,
Surtees - Mr Facey Romford’s Hounds, Surtees - Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour, Whyte-Melville -
Market Harborough, Spider Jacobson - Huic Holloa!, Lewis Carroll - Alice, George Borrow -
Lavengro, Sassoon - Memoirs, Thorburn - Hildebrand, M E Buckingham - Phari, Joan Penney -
Melka in England, R L Stevenson - Travels with a Donkey, Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens, Blackmore - Lorna Doone, Surtees - Handley Cross