Ponies, ponies, ponies


British Pony Books Home

Michelle Bates & Susannah Leigh

Sandy Lane Stables

A Horse for the Summer

The Runaway Pony

Strangers at the Stables

The Midnight Horse

Dream Pony

Ride by Moonlight

Horse in Danger

The Perfect Pony

Riding Holiday

The Sandy Lane Stables series has managed to survive several reprints, and has not been out of print since it came out in the mid 1990s. It is a classic pony book series, centred round a Riding Stables, and the adventures of the group of children who ride there. It’s free of the fantasy elements which infest so many pony books in the 21st century, and its latest set of covers features neither pink nor sparkles. The series is unusual in being openly written by two different authors.  

Michelle Bates was in her twenties when she started writing the series, having had a passion for horses as a child.  She has since worked as an editor. Susannah Leigh, besides contributing four titles in the Sandy Lane Stables series, has also written many other children’s books, most notably the Puzzle series for Usborne (adored by my children). She is listed as Editor of some of the Sandy Lane series. Who wrote which book isn’t always clear: Strangers at the Stables and The Midnight Horse have Michelle Bates listed as author in earlier editions, and Susannah Leigh in the latest printings.

Many thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for all her help with this section.

Finding the books:  the series is still in print.  Second hand copies are very easy to find, and very cheap.


A little snippet on Michelle Bates

A Horse for the Summer (Michelle Bates)

Usborne, 1996, 109 pp

EDC Publishing, 1996 (USA)

In Welsh:  Miri Madog, Gomer, 1997

Usborne, 2009
“When Tom is lent a prize-winning show jumper for the summer, things
don’t turn out quite as he had hoped.  Chancy is wild and unpredictable
and Tom is forced to start training him in secret.  But the days of

summer are numbered and Chancy isn’t Tom’s to keep forever.  At

some point, he will have to give him back.”

The Runaway Pony (Susannah Leigh)

Usborne, 1996

Usborne Books , 2003, USA

“When the riderless palomino pony clatters into the yard, no one is more surprised than Jess.
Hot on the pony’s hooves comes a man waving a head collar. Jess helps him catch the pony
and sends them on their way. Little is she to know what far-reaching consequences her
simple actions will have....”

Strangers at the Stables (Michelle Bates/Susannah Leigh)

Usborne, London, 1996, 113 pp.

EDC Publishing, 1996, USA

Usborne, 2009

My review of Strangers at the Stables

“When the owners of Sandy Lane are called away, everyone still expects the stables to run
smoothly in their absence. No one is quite prepared for all the things that happen over the next

few weeks.  There isn’t time to get help - the children of Sandy Lane have to act fast, if they

want to save their stables...”

The Midnight Horse (Michelle Bates/Susannah Leigh)

Usborne, London, 1996, 112 pp.

EDC Publishing, 1998, USA

Usborne, 2009

“Riding at the Hawthorn Horse Trials is all that Kate has dreamed of and this year she’s in

with a real chance of winning. As she works hard to prepare for the day, it seems nothing
will distract her from her goal. But then the mysterious midnight horse rides into Kate’s life,
and suddenly everything changes....”

Dream Pony (Susannah Leigh)

Usborne 1996, London, hb, 112 pp.

EDC Publishing, 1998, USA

Usborne, 2009

“Jess Adams loves riding, and she especially loves riding the ponies at Sandy Lane. When

the smart Rychester Riding Stables opens its doors down the road, she doesn’t imagine for

a moment it will make any difference to her. But then something happens to change all that...
Something that tests Jess’s loyalty to the limit....”

Ride by Moonlight (Michelle Bates)

Usborne, London, 1997, 108pp.  Not illus.  2 pgs of maps
EDC Publishing, 1998, USA

Usborne, 2009

“When Charlie loses his nerve in a riding accident, no one thinks for a moment it’ll be long

before he’s back in the saddle. But as the weeks go by, his friends begin to realise it’s going

to take something quite exceptional to get him riding again...”

Horse in Danger (Michelle Bates)

Usborne, 1998

EDC Publishing, 2003, USA

Usborne, 2009

“Rosie and Jess have always been the best of friends, but they have found themselves

drifting apart. During a treasure hunt ride, Rosie sets out to make amends. But what she

discovers that day takes her down a path of deception and danger, putting her friendship with

Jess to the ultimate test. Stumbling across a plot to fix a race, Rosie is torn between saving
a horse and losing her best friend. What will she do?”
in the perfect pony tales, adored by horse-lovers everywhere.”

The Perfect Pony (Michelle Bates)
Usborne, 1998, 2009, 112 pp.

Scholastic, New York, 2004

“Alex's sister Kate cannot believe what he's done. Alex thought he was solving lots of

problems buying a pony at a local auction. So he's in for a shock when he realizes he is now
the owner of Puzzle, a filthy, thin and abused pony. But worse is to come, for Puzzle is in
such a state, she may have to be put down..”

Riding Holiday (Michelle Bates)

Usborne , 1998, 2003, 2009

As Riding Vacation, Scholastic, 2003, USA

“Kate and Izzy have left Sandy Lane Stables for a three-week riding holiday at racing stables

in America. But they're not doing much riding, the owner is mysteriously missing and

everyone seems to be keeping a secret. Then a horse's life is threatened...”

Sandy Lane Stables Omnibus

Usborne 1997

A Horse for the Summer

The Runaway Pony

Strangers at the Stables

Bibliography - pony books only