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Desert Island Pony Books: Christina Wilsdon

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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.
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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…

Desert Island Pony Books: Linda Newbery

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I'm delighted to welcome the next castaway on the desert island where books are allowed. But not many. Linda Newbery has been one of my favourite authors for years: if you haven't read herThe Damage Done or The Nowhere Girl, or The Shell House, or Lob, you are in for a treat. 
Linda's latest book is The Key to Flambards, which the acute will spot uses the name of a very well-known series indeed: K M Peyton's Flambards. That is because this book tells (with the blessing of K M Peyton) the story of Christina's descendants, Grace Russell, and her mother, who are visiting Flambards for the first time around a century since we left it in Flambards Divided
I loved it. The more I think about it, the more staggerered I am at how well it weaves together the Flambards we all know with the modern day. 
So it will not surprise you to learn who wrote one of Linda's choices ... 
Linda Newbery's website. Linda runs the Writers Review blog with Adele Geras and Celia Rees…

Desert Island Pony Books: Kate Cuthbert

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Welcome to the latest episode of Desert Island Pony Books, where my guest is author Kate Cuthbert. As the series goes on, I am finding it fascinating to see why people like the books they've chosen, and if anything it's even more fascinating to find out about the ones they'd leave behind.
Kate is the author of the excellent Hatters series, which is set in a school where riding is on the curriculum. The series is full of sparky and believable characters, and if you're looking for a new series to get your teeth into, I can highly recommend this one. The first book is For the Love of Fly, and it's had (deservedly) excellent reviews on Amazon. The second book will be out soon, and there are three more in the pipeline.

You can follow Kate on Twitter and Instagram.
So, welcome Kate – please tell us about your books.

National Velvet: Enid Bagnold National Velvet had to be on my list. It is such a triumphant story about chasing your dreams with passion and determination, about …

Desert Island Pony Books: John Rees

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I'm delighted to welcome John Rees to the blog to talk about his desert island book choices.
John is a man of many talents: he's an expert on vintage antiques, and is starring in the S4C programme Trysorau’r Teuluthat started this week (for those who don't speak Welsh, subtitles are available!) He is co-founder of Cow and Ghost Vintage, and organises vintage fairs across Wales. John's also the founder of the very popular Ruby Ferguson Facebook group celebrating all things Jill. So will John choose a Jill book? I think we know the answer ...
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Jill's Pony Trek by Ruby Ferguson
I've adored Jill for over 35 years and she has never lost her charm. I read them out of order after discovering the fourth in Granny's attic. Hard to chose a favourite. This is perhaps slightly different from the format of the rest: less gymkhana and school and set in a shorter time period. I like the road trip style of it and how the events flow into each other in such an unexpected…

Desert Island Pony Books: Cressida Ellen Schofield

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A very warm welcome to my first guest on Desert Island Pony Books: Cressida Ellen Schofield. Cressida, like me, keeps body and soul together by proofreading and editing. But unlike me, she gets out there and writes. She's the author of the very funny Magpie Chronicles, and has just released part two of the series, Lindian SummerI can't do better than Cressida at telling you what it's about, so here you are: Ten holidaymakers. Ten days. One small villa. One hot mess.

There are details for Cressida's website and her books at the bottom of this blog. 

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So, take it away Cress ... what pony books would you make a shelf for on your desert island?
Phantom Horse – Christine Pullein-Thompson For me, there was always something so romantic and exotic about the rather brash and gauche Jean – our heroine – and her family being flown out to live in West Virginia due to her father’s job relocation, Early on Jean learns about the ‘wild horse’ – the eponymous Palomino of the title – a…

My desert island pony books

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Welcome to the start of a new series in which I ask people which five horse or pony books they'd take away with them on a desert island. (This is all based on Desert Island Discs, a very long running radio programme here in the UK where the great and the good choose which music tracks they'd take with them were they to be cast away on a desert island). We'll assume, for the sake of argument, that the five books are suitably packed in a waterproof container and make it to shore unscathed. And that there are no beasties who would fancy a nibble on the books .…
But moving on, I thought I'd start off by giving you my own choice of books. I did toss up whether the lure of the book loved in childhood would be enough to overcome the fact that, reading with a grownup eye, the book didn't work its old magic, and so the books I've gone for are ones I still pick up.
Ruby Ferguson: Jill's Gymkhana I had to start with Jill, who still has the same magnetic charm for me s…

Controversial: Riding Magazine and equestrian controversy in the 1940s II

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The Forward Seat, by Henry Baron (December 1940)
The next topic in Riding Magazine’s series on controversial subjects of the day (here's the first) was one that would have generated pages of choleric spleen had it been written 30 years earlier. By 1940, using the forward seat while jumping, and while riding cross-country, was already pretty much accepted, but the very fact the subject made it into this series suggests that those who commissioned articles for Riding were aware of a small, but presumably persistent, group still using the backward seat.

If we look forward a decade, there is evidence for this, as it appears this group was still alive and well in the 1950s. Josephine Pullein-Thompson, in Show Jumping Secret, which appeared in 1955, tells the story of polio-stricken Charles, whose cousins all ride. They attempt to teach him to ride – sitting well back, feet well forward so he can see them, and hands in his lap. It does not go well. Charles goes to have riding lessons at…