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I probably came to Samantha Alexander a bit late to appreciate her: certainly as far as her Riders series went. I just can’t see the 14 year old heroine and her relationship with the 19 year old event rider, particularly now, when I am the mother of a nearly 14 year old: the idea of her going out with someone who was 19 would make me spit tacks. Maybe if I’d read the series when I was 14 it would have been blissful wish fulfilment, but I didn’t. The Riding School series I find better - certainly more plausible.

Alexander wrote four series, but nothing as far as I can find, after 2002, unless she is writing under a different name. Samantha Alexander worked as an agony aunt with Horse and Pony magazine - she had previously done a stint as a teenage agony aunt for BBC Radio Leeds, so she certainly had plenty of experience of teenage drama and angst.


The Hollywell Stables Series

Hollywell Stables is a sanctuary for horses and ponies.  It’s run by Mel (12), and her brother Ross (14), and sister Katie (9), and their lives are a perpetual balancing act between finding money to run the sanctuary, and rescuing what horses and ponies they can.


The covers for this series were shot, I think, at Suzanne’s Riding School.  This was the longest running riding school under the same ownership until it closed in 2004.  It was started by Suzanne Marczak when she was a teenager in 1939 with 2 horses and 2 ponies, and was then run by her son Julian.


The Riders Series
This follows the adventures of 14 year old Alex Johnson, her 19 year old boyfriend Ash “Flash” Burgess, eventing star, and Alex’s dun pony Barney.  


The girl who stars as Alex on the cover is Sally Johnson, who won a competition in Horse and Pony magazine to find a cover girl. The covers were shot at Sandridgebury Stables, by Bob Langrish.


The Riding School Series

This series follows the fortunes of a set of girls at the Brook House Riding School, and tells their individual stories.


The Winners Series

Set in the racing world, this series is about Justina Brookes, and her ambition to win the Grand National.


Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood and Dawn Harrison, without whom these pages would be sad and bald.


Finding the books:

The books are mostly very easy to find, and generally cheap. None of her books, as far as I know, were ever published in hardback, so all books listed in the bibliography are paperback.  All the books are reasonably easy to find.


Common: Against the Clock, Crossing the Line, Emma, Fame, Flying Start, Trapped, Deceit, The Chase, In The Frame, Jodie, Kate, Peak Performance, Perfect Timing, Race to Glory, Rachel, Racing Start, Revenge, Rising Star, Running Wild, Secrets, Sophie, Steph, Team Spirit, The Chase, The Mission, Trapped, Will to Win, Winning Streak, The Gamble, Winners

Difficult: Breaking the Rules



Samantha Alexander


Hollywell Stables
Flying Start
The Gamble
Revenge/The Chase
Fame
The Mission
Trapped
Running Wild
Secrets






Riders
Will to Win
Team Spirit
Peak Performance
Rising Star
In the Frame
Against the Clock
Perfect Timing
Winning Streak




Riding School
Jodie
Emma
Steph
Kate
Sophie
Rachel



Bibliography - Pony Books Only

Flying Start
Macmillan, London, pb, 1994
Macmillan, London, pb, 1998

Character list


The stables is desperately short of money, so Mel, Ross and Katie decide to run a
horse show. A mysterious note leads them to a starving pony shut in a scrap yard,
and then there’s Colorado, whose wealthy owner has decided the only solution to his
behaviour is to have him put down.  Hollywell Stables 1

The Gamble
Macmillan, London, pb, 1994
Macmillan, London, pb, 1994

Character list


Can the team persuade a world famous star to give a charity concert for the stables?  

Rocky find that the racing stables keeping his thoroughbred are cheating him, and he
leads the team on a mission to uncover the truth. Hollywell Stables 2

Revenge
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995
Reprinted as The Chase, Macmillan, London, pb 1999

Character list


The local hunt comes crashing through the yard, with disastrous results.  Then, one
of the Sanctuary’s ponies goes missing. Hollywell Stables 3

Fame
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995

Macmillan, London, pb, 1999

Character list


Rocky’s new record has been a success, and it brings overnight fame to the
sanctuary. A girl hears them on the radio, and tells them about a miniature horse
locked in a caravan, but she rings off before they can find out where it is.
Hollywell Stables 4


The Mission
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995

Macmillan, London, pb, 1999 (cover done at Suzanne’s Riding School)

Character list


Mel, Ross and Katie go to a horse sale, and see a mule and a blind pony being
loaded into a cramped lorry with no food or water. They hide in the lorry to see what
will happen to the ponies, but unfortunately, the lorry starts with them still in it, and
worse still, it’s headed to France. Hollywell Stables 5


Trapped
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995

Macmillan, London, pb, 1999 (cover done at Suzanne’s Riding School)


The Hollywell team are collecting signatures for a petition against animal cruelty, and
they hear a donkey braying. When they investigate, they find him in a deserted house,
but he is not alone. There is a man with a gun, and they are trapped with him. Worse
still, nobody  knows where they are. Hollywell Stables 6

Running Wild
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995

Macmillan, London, pb, 1999

Character list


There’s a Black Beast roaming the local moors - or so the local paper says. Then a
Welsh mare disappears and the Black Beast is blamed. Hollywell Stables 7

Secrets
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995

Macmillan, London, pb, 1999


The Hollywell team are at their county show, selling merchandise.  A horse has a
terrible accident at the show, and then they find Teddy, crippled and locked in a
garden shed. It looks as if there’s only one person to blame, and the team have to
find proof before the situation gets out of hand. Hollywell Stables 8



Will to Win
Macmillan, London, pb, 1996

Character List


Alex Johnson owns the 14.2 dun Barney, and she wants to event. She antagonises 19 year old Ash
Burgess, the star eventer who runs the stables. Then she lets Barney career into wheelchair-bound
Eric’s garden. There is a mystery there - why does the very mention of Eric make Ash furious?  Eric
says Alex can’t ride, but he will teach her. She takes him up on his offer. All this is complicated by the
fact that, as her friend Zoe says, “the trouble with this yard is that there aren’t enough men.” Riders 1


Team Spirit
Macmillan, London, pb, 1996

Character List


Alex Johnson and the person on the yard she loathes most, Camilla Davies, are on the same team for
the Pony Club One Day Event.  Added to this, the slimy Mark Preston is also now on the yard with his
horse, as Ash is now being sponsored by Mark’s father. Mark brings far more than his fair share of
problems to the yard. Riders 2

Peak Performance
Macmillan, London, pb, 1997

Character List


Joel O’Ryan, another famous eventer, has come to run a course at the local pony club. Alex is
star-struck and risks losing Ash, and Eric, but Joel has another agenda rooted in the events of the past.
Riders 3

Rising Star
Macmillan, London, pb, 1997

Character List


Ash is giving up eventing and selling his best horse:  he is in severe financial trouble, and it looks like
the only way out.  A bitter rival , Jack Landers, has just arrived from America, and is soaking up any
opportunities Ash might have had.  The one chance Ash has is if he wins Burnley.  Alex is determined
he will go, and with her as his groom, though the problems with Jack Landers just keep coming.
Riders 4


Winners
Racing Start
Crossing the Line
Breaking the Rules
Race to Glory



In the Frame
Macmillan, London, pb, 1995.  Cover photo Bob Langrish.

Character List


There’s a new groom at the stables, but she appears in a mysterious way, and there’s a mystery
about her right from the start. Then Alex realises the mystery girl is Jade Lamond, missing supermodel,
and Alex gets sucked into the world of modelling herself.  Riders 5


Against the Clock
Macmillan, London, pb, 1997.  Cover photo Bob Langrish.
Character List


Top dressage judge Sid Shackleton asks to see Barney, which could mean selection for the Junior
Team for Alex.  But everything goes wrong when a girl claims that Barney (who has a mysterious past)
is her pony Dino, and she wants him back.  Riders 6


Perfect Timing
Macmillan, London, pb, 1997  Cover photo Bob Langrish.

Character List


Dominic Davidson is intelligent, sensitive and a gifted rider. But he's in trouble and only Alex can save
him from a police arrest. Riders 7



Winning Streak
Macmillan, London, pb, 1997  Cover photo Bob Langrish.

Character List


The last of the Riders series, in which Blake Kildaire, famous showjumper, visits the Sutton Valley
Pony Club. There’s good news for Alex - she’s been asked to compete in the Junior National Trials.  
Then Blake gets a threatening anonymous letter, but it soon becomes obvious the author must be
someone on the course he’s running. Riders 8

Jodie
Macmillan, London, pb, 1999

In compilation Riding School, Macmillan, London, 2001


Jodie is a talented rider who must find the courage to get back in the saddle following
a horrific traffic accident. Riding School 1






Emma
Macmillan, London, pb, 1999
In compilation Riding School, Macmillan, London, 2001


Emma has to prove her innocence when it appears her carelessness has placed one
of the riding school ponies in danger. Riding School 2

Steph
Macmillan, London, pb, 1999
In compilation Riding School, Macmillan, London, 2001


Steph is shocked when she is dropped from the top riding group. She recklessly turns
her back on everything she has been taught, and risks losing Monty, her pony, for ever.
Riding School 3

Kate
Macmillan, London, pb, 1999


It looks as if there’s a poltergeist at the stables, as odd things keep happening.  Taps suddenly turn

themselves on, bales of hay are moved and tack disappears.  None of this makes for a good
atmosphere at the stables, and horses and riders are both edgy. Kate decides to solve the mystery.
Riding School 4

Sophie
Macmillan, London, pb, 1999


In the Saddle magazine has invited the girls to star in a photo story to appear in the magazine.  It will
feature an Akhal-Teke stallion at the nearby Highflyers Stud. Riding School 5

Rachel
Macmillan, London, pb, 1999


Brook House is nominated for Riding School of the Year. Riding School 6

Racing Start
Macmillan, London, pb, 2001

Justina Brookes’ ambition is to win the Grand National, but no one in the racing world thinks a girl can
do it. Then Justina discovers Murphy’s Law, a horse she begins can win the National, and when top
jockey Rory Calligan begins to believe in them, it looks as if Justina might just achieve her ambition.
Winners 1


Crossing the Line
Macmillan, London, pb, 2001


Dolphin Barn, the stables where Justina Brookes works, don’t seem to have any faith in her or
Murphy’s Law. So, she decides to race at Ascot for the rival trainer, Adam Valentine. Will her decision
mean the start of a more glamorous career flat racing, or the end of her dreams? Winners 2

Breaking the Rules
Macmillan, London, pb, 2002


Justina’s talent is now being recognised, and she’s starting to get public recognition, but this brings its
own problems. Her safety, and Murphy’s Law’s are being threatened by someone who is determined
to stop her succeeding. Justina has to decide whether to risk herself or her horse, or give up her dream.
Winners 3


Race to Glory
Macmillan, London, pb, 2002

At last, Justina and Murphy’s Law are within sight of the National, but can they do it? Winners 4

Compilations

Hollywell Stables Omnibus 1

Macmillan, London, pb, 1997

Contains:


Hollywell Stables Omnibus 2

Macmillan, London, pb, 1997

Contains:  The Mission, Trapped, Running Wild and Secrets.

Riding School: Three Girls, Three Ponies, Three Exciting Adventures
Macmillan, London, pb,  2001


Contains: Jodie, Emma, Steph,