PBOTD 29th November: Susan Chitty - My Life with Horses
Susan Chitty's My Life & Horses is the story of Crony. Crony doesn't have much in the way of qualifications, but she knows what she wants out of life. She wants to work with horses. My Life & Horses is not the sort of novel that sees our heroine using her life as a groom as a springboard to greater equestrian achievements. Gillian, a user of my forum, describes the book as like Monica Dicken's One Pair of Hands, only with horses.
Getting chased around the feed bins by an amorous employer certainly isn't part of the girl groom's life as depicted in the pony novel, though it is hinted at in Dorian Williams' Wendy books. This rather more honest look is probably due to the fact this book was written for adults, rather than children. Having said that, the first chapter appeared in the PONY Magazine Annual for 1965, with these immortal lines:
"My friends... call me Crony for short because it rhymes with pony and I'm mad about them. I've always been mad about them. At the age of four (they tell me) I got up on a chair at Christmas and delivered a lecture entitled "Constipation in the horse. Its Cause and Cure", and I haven't looked back."
I love this little sketch of family life, with its all too believable portrait of the horse-obsessed child lecturing her family, but with that little sting in the tale. Does Crony really believe that's what she did? Because the only evidence she has is what her family tell her. Or is it something that's entered the realm of family myth, having been inflated in the telling from a simple childish description of ponies? It's all delicious stuff.
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