If Wishes Were Horses: Young Riders

Mum and a friend's horse, Beauty, with a red rosette.

Ponymadbooklovers have a good information page on Golden Gorse, as does Jane Badger. The only pony I ever got to Christmas was an Exmoor “adopted” from the Moorland Mousie Trust in Devon, who work to preserve what is now sadly a rare breed. They have commissioned a hardback re-issue of the novel, complete with original illustrations by Lionel Dunning: impossibly good value at £11.99.

The Pony Club has a downloadable history available on their home site, as well as a collection of classic old photos of many generations in Pony Clubbers in action. Health and safety fanatics look away now!

If you’re interested in learning about Enid Bagnold – above and beyond National Velvet – this Telegraph piece by Sarah Crompton is a good place to start, and Anne Sebba’s biography gives you the measure of a very formidable (and often endearingly silly) woman. I liked Bagnold immensely after reading Sebba’s portrait, and I’m glad that it’s now available on Faber Finds. Liz Hunt interviewed Bagnold’s daughter, Laurian, Comtesse d’Harcourt, for the Telegraph: a life quite as colourful as her mother’s.

For other pony book authors like the Pullein-Thompsons, Primrose Cumming (Silver Snaffles), Joanna Cannan and Ruby Ferguson (the Jill books), there’s Jane Badger’s comprehensive site.

This post relates to a chapter of the book If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of an Equine Obsession. If you have any questions to ask about the content, please fire away in the comments. The main online index for the book is here.

Little Red Riding Hood

Bless. The Guardian has published a selection of photographer Gary Carlton’s images of Yorkshire county shows, including this “wolf”, ridden by Red Riding Hood. If you enjoy the spectacle of the pony fancy dress party, please spend a little time on Jane Badger’s blog, because here, here, here and here you can find some truly wonderful examples from the 1950s. It’s hard to top Humpty Dumpty and the wall, but the Abominable Snow Pony is ambitious, as is the woolly mammoth and accompanying cave children, while Mrs J Beaton’s Zulu warrior is, er, quaintly unselfconscious.

Sign of the Times

Thank you to Slaminsky for sending me this sign which she spotted in the window of Le Grenier.  The Institute of the Horse was the original name of the British Horse Society, from which the Pony Club developed as an off-shoot. I suspect that this was rather like a Les Routiers recommendation – should you be travelling across the countryside on horseback, there were good stables and fodder here. If only we still lived in this world!