PBOTD 8th May: Patricia Leitch - Cross Country Pony

Next in the Badminton-themed set of posts is Patricia Leitch's Cross Country Pony (1965).  The Morton children, who are chronically short of money, decide to start up a business - a Pets' Holiday Home. Of course it doesn't go to plan, as their canine guests cause chaos.

Blackie, 1965, 1st edition
Then they get an equine lodger:  Harold. Harold has wicked little eyes, and a nature to match. He does, however, have one great talent - cross country. I used to ride a horse like Harold, who also had a nature it would challenge even a mother to love. Bear I admit petrified me when we were both on the ground. He took no prisoners, and knew only too well he was bigger and stronger than me. He hated everyone. But Bear loved jumping, which suited me, as I did too, and he was a completely different animal whenever the jumps were put out.

Knight, pb, 1978
Harold, the pony in Cross Country Pony, is a similar hard case. Jinty, who rides him, says:
"Cynically Harold regarded me, a gleam in his wicked little eyes. I was absolutely at his mercy. It was merely a question of what he decided to do with me."
Oh, I know that feeling. It didn't happen with Harold, but after he'd been jumping Bear was a different horse. The cynical gleam in his eye faded, and you could do what you wanted with him in the stable. Horses are sometimes just plain odd.

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