[DWJ] Horse fantasies

Jackie E Stallcup jstallcup at juno.com
Wed Jun 24 20:24:10 EDT 2009

Well, to me, horse books don't have to be about the horses per se.  After
all, once Dick Francis really got into his stride (to use a horsey
metaphor), he branched out to detectives and bankers and horse truck
drivers and artists....  Horses are around the edges but not the main

My problem with the Peyton books was not that the focus was no longer on
the horses, but that the character went from being horse crazy to
completely not caring about her horses and only liking this icky boy. 
That was, I think, the first in the Pennington books and well, all I can
say is UGH.  To be fair, I think I was mentally escaping from something
when I was reading the Peyton horse books, and the Pennington book was
like a big ol' bucket of cold water over my little escapist fantasy

Anyway, books where horses are just kind of part of the landscape and get
dealt with realistically (they have to be groomed, how do you get one to
wait for you outside the store, etc) sound like a lot of fun.

Thanks for the tips!


On Wed, 24 Jun 2009 11:07:50 +0100 Minnow <minnow at belfry.org.uk> writes:
> Jackie wrote:
> >oooh, no I haven't, but I just went and looked her up and her books 
> look
> >interesting!  I'll have to check them out.
> If you do, for the first book at least avoid the later editions, 
> because
> the rather interesting passion that the small brother has for salt 
> (he
> wants  to have it put in a heap on the edge of the kitchen table so 
> he can
> lick it, then wants "more salt boy!" so they divide the  heap in 
> half
> rather than giving him twice as much, and leave him "hppily bouncing 
> from
> one end of the table to the other") has been changed for some reason 
> to
> sugar, which is dull, dull, dull of them and  I can't think why they 
> did
> it.
> And don't expect "pony books", because they aren't really about the 
> horses
> after the first one, or in a less obvious "girl wants pony, girl 
> spends
> book earning pony, girl gets pony" way.  They are about smugglers 
> and a
> fight against someone who wants to develop a local beauty spot and 
> looking
> for a stolen racehorse and being in a pageant and farming and rare 
> birds
> and oodles of other things as well, and often the horses are almost 
> (though
> never quite) a nuisance for needing to be groomed and exercised 
> before the
> children can get on with collecting jumble to sell and pay for 
> retrieving
> something that was given away to a junk dealer -- though the 
> pony-trap is
> useful for that.
> Of the authors-for-children that I have read I would say the one 
> nearest to
> her style in many ways is Antonia Forest: similar believeable people 
> with
> real agendas and character and emotions, and adults who are allowed 
> to be
> more than just ciphers who have to be got out of the way so children 
> can
> have adventures.
> >When I was about 17, I fell in love with K.M. Peyton's horse books, 
> Fly
> >By Night and The Team, and devoured them in the library when I 
> should
> >have been working and then grabbed up the "next" book in what I 
> thought
> >was a series... only to find out that the horsegirl had abandoned 
> her
> >horses (just about literally) and was obsessed with a boy--and an 
> awful,
> >icky abusive boy no less.  I was, to put it mildly, horrified.  I 
> felt
> >sullied.
> I never enjoyed Peyton as much as I enjoyed Monica Edwards, perhaps 
> because
> I didn't like her people as much.  The ones that were not horsey at 
> all
> were better.  Pennington was hers, wasn't he?
> >A bit tangential, I suppose, but the covers of the Monica Edwards 
> books
> >made me think of the Peyton books.
> Depends on which edition: she has had several.
> >Erm.... any speculation as to whether or not dwj read either 
> author?
> >(can't think of a better obDwj, I'm afraid).
> She says not, and thank you for this:  it means that I can lend them 
> to her
> for  her to read in her convalescence later this summer.  I only 
> have about
> twenty of them but that ought to be enough to keep her going for a 
> while
> with amusement that isn't too demanding.
> Minnow
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