Ponies, ponies, ponies


The Collins Pony Library was published in the 1970s, and mostly consisted of books Collins had already published, but in a new format. The books were published as hardbacks with specially commissioned pictorial covers, and no dustjackets. They were cheaper than the originals, and the paper quality was not particularly good: surviving books tend to have browned pages. However, the Pony Library was an excellent way for the pony-mad child to buy a better quality book than a paperback. I had three titles myself as a child, and they had pride of place amongst my library. If I could have found more (rural Northamptonshire was a bit restricted on what it allowed the pony book buyer) I would have bought them. When I look back at them now, they have lost their visual appeal: but I thought them the last word in sophistication when I was young. Collins had obviously carefully worked out what would appeal to the pony-mad girl and they gave it to her: bright, sometimes crudely coloured covers with a slightly other-world quality.

The Collins Pony Library included some titles it published as first editions: Patricia Leitch’s Rebel Pony and Pony Surprise, and Lilias Edwards’ Stable to Let. Collins took the opportunity to reissue some of Patricia Leitch’s earlier works, which she’d written under the name Jane Eliot for Collins’ Spitfire series. Her Afraid to Ride, First Pony, and Jacky Jumps to the Top were all originally Spitfire.

As to whether any of the books are abridged, it’s probable, apart from the first editions of course. The Monica Edwards titles have had some alterations. From John Allsup’s site on Monica Edwards, I gather that Wish for a Pony has lost its frontispiece, but is otherwise the same. Cargo of Horses has lost four illustrations. No Entry is abridged, and has only five of the original illustrations. Black Hunting Whip is abridged. The new front cover is by Geoffrey Whittam.

How often, if at all, the Pony Library titles were reprinted is difficult to tell. The British Library doesn’t list any reprints, but then it doesn’t have all the titles anyway, so this is not conclusive! At any rate, Collins did not continue the Pony Library into the 1980s. My enquiries with Collins are, so far, unfruitful, so I assume sales simply didn’t warrant their re-printing.

Many thanks to Bettina for supplying the photographs from her epic collection.

The titles

5 We Hunted Hounds Christine Pullein-Thompson

1 Wish for a Pony Monica Edwards

2 Cargo of Horses Monica Edwards

3 No Entry
Monica Edwards

4 Stolen Ponies Christine Pullein-Thompson

10 Pony Club Camp Josephine Pullein-Thompson

6 Riders from Afar Christine Pullein-Thompson

7 Horses at Home Diana Pullein-Thompson

8 I Wanted a Pony Diana Pullein-Thompson

9 Riding with the Lyntons: Diana Pullein-Thompson

15 Jacky Jumps to the Top
Patricia Leitch

11 Pony Club Team Josephine Pullein-Thompson

12 One Day Event Josephine Pullein-Thompson

13 Stable to Let
Lilias Edwards

14 First Pony

 Patricia Leitch

20 Afraid to Ride Patricia Leitch

16 Ponies on the Heather
Frances Murray

17 The Surprise Riding Club
Elinore Havers

18 A Pony for Two Denise Hill

19 Rebel Pony Patricia Leitch

25 Ride by Night Christine Pullein-Thompson

21 Clear Round Pamela Macgregor-Morris

22 The Trick Jumpers Josephine Pullein-Thompson

23 We Rode to the Sea: Christine Pullein-Thompson

24 A Pony for Sale Diana Pullein-Thompson

30 Pony Surprise Patricia Leitch

26 Three Ponies and Shannan

Diana Pullein-Thompson

27 I Had Two Ponies Josephine Pullein-Thompson

28 Show Jumping Secret

Josephine Pullein-Thompson

29 Black Hunting Whip

Monica Edwards