I do have a dim memory of someone doing Win a Pony competitions in the 1970s. Was it Pony? Or was it W H Smith? Anyway, I would treasure those forms, carefully fill them in, and then dream, as I knew the chance of getting the all-important parental signature was zero, and the consequences of forging it didn't bear thinking about. (Now there's a plot for a pony novel.)I haven't yet found any evidence of the lucky winner for 1984, but I hope there was one.
Friday, 5 June 2009
Win your dream...
Pony Magazine has always liked competitions: I remember the Birthday Competition from when I took Pony in the 1970s. I don't think I ever managed to get more than 30 out of 50, and certainly never got within sniffing distance of a prize. Such is the arrogance of adulthood that I opened the quiz for 1968, and thought ah! Literature. Piece of cake. Well, no. I could answer five, straight off the top of my head without resorting to bookshelf or Google. Below is that section:
Lieutenant Colonel C E G Hope, who was Pony's editor in the 1960s, said in the introduction to the competition: "Don't be frightened by the competition! It is long but nearly all the questions are easy for any pony lover, only a few teasers to test you out." He had relented a little by the time the results came out, saying "the task set you was long and hard," which made me feel a little better, but still. The winner was Kate Flint, who scored 94% and won a cruise. The lowest mark was 72%. And, oh woe, "you did better in the literary questions than I expected...." So, if you're feeling brave, let me know in the comments below how you did! The answers will follow in a later post.
Perhaps it's a reflection on the standards of education that such a demanding quiz was considered ok (though I received the first chunk of mine in the 1960s, so perhaps it's a reflection on me). Anyway, by the 1980s, competitions had changed. No more of these nasty questions where you might have to look stuff up: now you got multiple choice. Thinking about it, I guess you might still have had to look stuff up even for that, but still - at least you knew the answer was in there somewhere.
All was not lost if you didn't fancy the intellectual challenge of the Birthday Quiz. There was a Harry Hall drawing competition in the 1960s. Below is one I particularly like (one thing I have noticed in looking at the prizewinners is that I never, ever agreed with the one that won.) Here's the Senior third prize winner for 1966, Brenda Bailey, aged 14 :
And here is naughty third prize winner from 1967:
Now, where have I seen that rearing pony? Oh yes...
The prize had changed by the 1980s. Here's the prize list for 1968:
By the 1980s, you really could fulfil the dream, and win a pony. Only if you could demonstrate you could keep it properly, otherwise if was £700 of premium bonds, but still. Pony did, when it began, run "Win-a-Pony" Competitions, which were the first of their kind, and presumably the inspiration for books like Judith M Berrisford's Jackie Won a Pony, but they stopped them: "We decided there was a risk and discontinued them." (Pony, Oct 1968). Below is the competition for 1984: