Shirley Faulkner-Horne

A lesser known British pony book author who is perhaps best known for writing one of the few pony books featuring polo, Pat and her Polo Pony. Like many authors in the genre she had an early start, being only 15 when her first book was published. Other pony books followed, both fiction and non-fiction, with two recent novels still in print. She has also written for Riding Magazine. However she does not simply write about horses, having been involved in the world of horses all her life: taking part in showing, show jumping and polo. She and her husband have lived and farmed in the New Forest in Hampshire for many years.

Ms. Faulkner-Horne is also involved with much charity work, in particular charities focusing on helping disabled children to learn to ride. She is a trustee of the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy. Her latest two novels,
Pathway of the Moon and Pegasus and the Pony, are centred upon a young disabled girl who longs to ride and have a pony. The proceeds for the books go to the Fortune Centre/Riding for Disabled.

Her older books are all lucky enough to be illustrated by the excellent Peter Biegel and all have attractive dust jackets. Unfortunately some of the titles can be hard to find and pricey.

Shirley Faulkner-Horne has her own website which is related to the Pegasus books - at the moment this does not appear to be working however. I don't know whether it is a temporary problem or if it has been closed down. I will update when I know more on the situation

Ian & Veronica Series:
Adventure/mystery series with a horsy backdrop.

1) PARACHUTE SILK
(WITHERBY 1944)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL & HAZ
SUMMARY: War time pony adventure story. Ian and Veronica think there is a German spy lurking in the neighbourhood!

2) MEXICAN SADDLE
(WITHERBY 1946)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
SUMMARY: Ian and Veronica are drawn into a world of adventure once more when they discover an old Mexican saddle at a village jumble sale.

3) GREEN TRAIL
(WITHERBY 1947)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
SUMMARY: Ian and Veronica and their friends set off on another adventure when they follow a trail of green glass.

Collectors Info:
On the whole these are easier to find and cheaper than most of the author's other books, in the UK at least. Mexican Saddle can sometimes be a little more elusive/more pricey.

Jennifer Series:
Short traditional series, in the second book Jennifer has grown up, making it a good read for adults/older teenagers.

1) WHITE POLES
(WITHERBY 1954)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
SUMMARY: Jennifer is given the pony Skipper for her fourteenth birthday and cherishes dreams of show jumping success.
Read review

2) LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
(With P. E. BLACKMORE)
(WITHERBY 1955)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
SUMMARY: Having left school Jennifer sets out on a career with horses and takes up eventing. She also falls in love.

Collectors Info:
Reasonably hard to find, though if you are in the UK not extremely so,. Price tends to vary quite a bit with the second book being usually the most expensive of the pair.

Pegasus Series:
A short fantasy type pony series about a disabled girl who longs to ride. The Pegasus imprint is I think the author's own publishing concern. Proceeds from sales go to charity

1) PATHWAY OF THE MOON
(CHAMELEON 1988)
Reprinted by Pegasus in 1999.
SUMMARY: Rebecca is a young disabled girl who, despite living in a busy town, longs to live in the country and learn to ride on a pony of her own. When she buys a antique statue of a winged horse her life is magically transformed.

2) PEGASUS AND THE PONY
(PEGASUS 1999)
SUMMARY: Rebecca finds her dreams coming true when she learns to ride with the help of Riding For the Disabled and has her own pony. But then disaster strikes and she must turn to her magical friend Pegasus to help her get through her troubles.

Collectors Info:
Fairly easy to find in the UK and the USA.

Other Horse & Pony Books:

BRED IN THE BONE
(WITHERBY 1938)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
SUMMARY: Cheery is given her pony Brownie by her grandmother. She cherishes ambitions to ride at Olympia, but how can she achieve her dreams when she is not even allowed to jump?

PAT AND HER POLO PONY: THE POWER OF A CHARM
(COUNTRY LIFE 1939)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
Reprinted by Country Life in 1942
SUMMARY: Pat is sent from her Indian home to live with horsy relations in England. She is not best pleased as she lost her nerve after a fall and doesn't really want to be around horses and so she does not get on too well with her horse-mad cousins. However when cousin Jill has an accident, she plucks up the courage to look after her pony, hoping that a charm given to her by her old Indian nurse will do the trick. Soon she catches the horse bug once more and determines to buy a pony of her own she can train for polo and hopefully her father can play polo on. But she falls in love with Nala, who is in bad condition and hard to ride. Will she be able to turn him into a top polo pony.

PONYMAD VIEW: On the plus side this is a traditional pony story and easy to read and the backdrop of India and polo adds interest. On the negative, it is firmly set in the 'elitist' school of pony books, with Jennifer's father being a 'Pukkha Sahib' with plenty of money, and her cousins having their own stables and land. Some of the attitudes do not sit well in modern times, not only the Colonial thing, but also the fact that females are automatically dismissed as riders for the top polo games. Pat's ambition is not to ride Nala in a top game but to train him so her father can, which may rankle a little with modern female readers. Although the polo setting is original, the plot is not, with the usual miraculous transformation of hopeless rider and horse into near perfection - though in this case we can possibly put down the miracle to the power of the Indian charm!
PONYMAD RATING: 2-3 HORSESHOES

RIDING WITH THE KINDLES
(WITHERBY 1941)
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER BIEGEL
SUMMARY: Written in epistolary style as a brother and sister relate their horsy experiences in letters to each other. Set during the Second World War when both children are prevented from going home due to the Blitz, but still manage to ride.

Collectors Info:
Pat and her Polo Pony is the easiest to find of these, although it is not exactly common. The other two can be very hard to find, especially outside of the UK, and may be pricey.