What's happening to this blog, you might be asking?

Now that I have moved a lot of my old pony book encyclopaedia onto my new website,, I've started blogging there too.

I'm still keeping this site up, but do join me on the new one.

You can also follow me on Instagram (@janebadger.books), Facebook (Jane Badger Books) and Twitter (@janebadgerbooks).

Will Dickens: 1879–1918

There are some upsides to keeping absolutely everything, particularly when it comes to finding out what went on in the past. My stepfather was a great keeper of stuff, a trait he'd inherited from his mother. She kept everything that mentioned her father, Will Dickens, and my stepfather in his turn kept everything too. He'd never known his grandfather, for Will was in that sad cohort of servicemen who died after the Armistice was signed.

William Thomas Dickens was born on 27 March, 1879 in Northampton, the son of William and Ellen Dickens. He worked as a carpenter and joiner for Henry Martin Ltd, the same company as his father, and on 14 May 1905, he married Edith Gordon at St Edmund's, Northampton. They set up home at 151 Loyd Road in Northampton and their only child, a daughter, Margaret (Margie), was born on 6 July 1907.

Will was 35 when war broke out in 1914, and he joined up in May 1916 at the age of 37. It seems likely from the date that Will was conscripted. The Mili…

Desert Island Pony Books: Carolyn Henderson

My latest guest on the desert island is Carolyn Henderson. She's a journalist and author, who's written more than 40 non-fiction books. You've almost certainly read some. Getting Horses Fit? Carolyn. The Horse and Pony Care BibleThe Pony Club Guide to Bits and Bitting? Carolyn again.  She's also written three novels. These include the excellent Beside Me, which was one of my books of the year when it was published (and as a side issue, I really must start doing that again. But more of that anon.)

Carolyn is also a dog person, and her latest novel,  Florence: Dog Detective (go to Facebook page All Because of Fredato buy, or try Carolyn's website) is for readers of eight years and older, including big kids of any age. All profits go to All Because of Freda, a rescue and re-homing organisation that helps dog here and abroad. As usual, a horse managed to sneak into the story.

And now it's time to find out what other horses have sneaked into Carolyn's life.


Desert Island Pony Books: Gillian Baxter

Gillian Baxter doesn't need much of an introduction from me: she's written some of the best-regarded pony books out there. She's the author of Jump for the Stars, The Difficult Summer, Tan and Tarmac, The Stables at Hampton, and the Pantomime Ponies series, to name just a few. She's now writing again, with With Vacant Possession?, the story of a woman who moves to a remote Welsh farm with her horses, and gets a lot more than she bargained for.

So I'm really excited to be able to hand over to Gillian to tell you about what books she would (and wouldn't) take away on a desert island with her.
What books would I like to have beside me on my desert island? First, a book that will transport me home to the scents and sounds and weather of the British countryside, and the thrills and struggles of a brilliant but difficult pony. 

The Team by K M Peyton
For this I would choose KM Peyton’s The Team, the story of Ruth, who is inexperienced but driven by her dream of owni…

Desert Island Pony Books: Sheena Wilkinson

I'm delighted to welcome Sheena Wilkinson to the latest edition of Desert Island Pony Books. Sheena has been described in The Irish Times as 'one of our foremost writers for young people.' Her first three books, including the award-winning Taking Flight and Grounded, all centre round horses, though very much at the gritty, realistic end of the spectrum.
Her 2017 novel, Star By Star, published to commemorate female suffrage, isn't horsey but she always manages to sneak a horse in somewhere. Maybe that's why her current trend is for historic fiction -- where it's so much easier to do that! 

This was HARD! So hard that I had to make rules for myself – otherwise I would have wanted to cheat and bring along, for example, all the Jills instead of picking one. Or I might have filled my island with nothing but K.M.Peyton. So – no series, and only one book per author, which made it even harder in some ways!

The Team (K.M. Peyton)
I love all her books, and I can’t be…

Desert Island Pony Books: Kate Lattey

Today's castaway on the desert island where the horse and pony book rule is author Kate Lattey. She's written three series of pony books all set in her native New Zealand, and I admit I do envy their world, which seems so much less constricted than life here in the UK. I really enjoy her books, and you can read my review of Dare to Dream and Dream On.

You can follow Kate on her website here, which also gives you a free download of the first in her Pony Jumpers series.

Kate's chosen a really interesting set of books – and if you've followed the series so far, you'll be intrigued to see which one she'd throw over the side!

The five pony books I would choose if I were stuck on a desert island…wow. I have over 100 pony books in my collection, and to choose just five? The concept is almost impossible. There are obvious choices that I’m sure have been mentioned before, many times, by many others – Ruby Ferguson’s entire Jill series and Patricia Leitch’s entire J…

Desert Island Pony Books: Christina Wilsdon

Christina Wilsdon is the author of some 200 books. She's written about sharks, opossums, birds, and also about that most feared creature of the natural world, the small child, with one title guaranteed to strike fear into anyone who's had anything to do with a child: I Feel Sick. There aren't many animals she hasn't written about, and she's also the author of Horse-Crazy Girls, which would have been right up my street when I was one, which I loved, even though I am now some decades adrift of its target market.
You can read much more about Christina on her website, and I can also highly recommend her blog, Piccallilli Pie, which is an absolute treasure trove of brilliant writing about the natural world.

Last Hurdle by F.K. Brown
I came upon this book as a young girl while stalking the shelves of my local library, which was housed in a cramped portable building. The librarians kindly labeled spines of horse books with a cloth decal bearing a horse head, an extre…