Saturday, 17 May 2014

PBOTD 17th May: Jean Slaughter Doty - Monday Horse

Continuing the showing theme, today's PBOTD is from the other side of the pond. Jean Slaughter Doty's The Monday Horses is the horse world red in tooth and claw. Heroine Cassie's horse Toby is badly cut, and needs to recover at a local stable. Cassie works there in return for Toby's board, and soon discovers (as did Caroline in Caroline Canters Home) that the world of a professional stable is a very different one to that of the hobby rider.

Pocket Books, 1979
She sees the worst: owners who sell on a loved pony because it isn't winning enough, and replace it with an animal their child can't actually ride, and others who aren't above using performance-enhancing drugs on their animals, which leads to tragedy. Horses are often commodities, sold on for stratospheric sums just so that the new owner can win in the show ring.

This does have its good sides: there are wonderful horses for Cassie to ride, and the horses themselves never change, despite the labels humans insist on annointing them with.
Greenwillow, 1984
If you haven't read Jean Slaughter Doty (her books weren't ever published in the UK), I can thoroughly recommend her. Avoid the latest publications of Summer Pony and Winter Pony as these have been adapted for an audience who find reading tricky.

More on Jean Slaughter Doty

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