PBOTD 24th September: Monica Edwards - Cargo of Horses

Cargo of Horses (1951) is one of the few of Monica Edwards' books to have ponies at its centre. (The others, in case you're wondering, are Wish for a Pony, No Mistaking Corker, The Midnight Horse, The White Riders and Rennie Goes Riding). In Cargo of Horses Tamzin learns that horses are being shipped off the coast illicitly to be used in the French horsemeat trade. She decides to rescue them, and with the help of Jim Decks and other sailors, Tamzin and her friends transfer the horses to Jim’s trawler, transport them to land and find them new owners. 

One thing I like about Monica Edwards books is that the adults are not conveniently absent: they certainly don't hang over the children like modern day helicopter parents (can you imagine Mrs Grey refusing to allow Tamzin to go out in the summer holidays because she had to be tutored? And Tamzin having no opportunity to go out on the marsh because every conceivable second was already filled with parentally-organised activities?)  

Without adult help, many of the adventures would be much trickier: in The White Riders, there is Mrs Merrow providing camping space, and her son Mike being an enthusiastic White Rider himself. In Cargo of Horses, once Tamzin knows about the fate of the horses shipped to France, she immediately decides to do something about it; she and her friends will arrange for the horses’ keep on the Marsh: Jim Decks, the local ferryman, is deputed to organise the actual rescue.

“Jim made a sudden despairing appeal, his netting-needle poked at Tamzin’s face. “Summer grazing!” he said. “Winter hay! Horses will increase! That part’s easy! You say all that, do you?” He waved the needle at her. “You may well say it, but what I arsk you, gal, is how’re you going to get ‘em?”
Tamzin drew her face back from the needle like a pony arching to the curb. “Really Jim,” she said a little sadly, “you a smuggler and a son and grandson of smugglers, owlers and White Riders, and a Marshman too, and you ask me that!  I’m only thirteen and practically always at school, after all. I do think you might be more co-operative. I can think out the feeding and grazing part all right, but I should have thought you and the others could manage the rest.”

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The Romney Marsh Series
Wish for a Pony
The Summer of the Great Secret
The Midnight Horse
The White Riders
Cargo of Horses
Hidden in a Dream
Storm Ahead
No Entry
The Nightbird
Operation Seabird
Strangers to the Marsh
No Going Back
The Hoodwinkers
Dolphin Summer
A Wind is Blowing

More on Monica Edwards
Everything you ever wanted to know on Monica Edwards and her books: John Allsup's site


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