Ponies, ponies, ponies


British Pony Books Home

Timber, the Story of a Horse

University of London Press, 1950, illus Caney

White Lion, hb, 1974

John Lambert was given the chestnut colt he called Timber, though he couldn’t be said
to be a rider. John, by “patience, trail and error” improved his riding, and that, together
with Timber’s jumping ability, proved successful, in spite of Anthony Montagu and his
thoroughbred, Centaur.

Judith M Berrisford Judith M Berrisford also wrote many books about dogs and cats, as well as gardening.  The picture is of one of her stories about a Sheltie, which I’ve included as it is such a charming cover.  Many thanks to Birte for sending it.

The Ponies Next Door

Univ London Press, London, 1954, illus Geoffrey Whittam, 191 pp.

Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, 1954, illus Geoffrey Whittam, centre

Hampton Library, 1965 hb, right

White Lion, hb, 1975

The Grey children are thrilled when the Grange Riding Stables opens
next door to their house.  There are plenty of adventures, including a
sea rescue and an Elizabethan pageant.  And an elephant stabled in
the hall.

Red Rocket, Mystery Horse,

University of London Press, 1952, illus Leslie Atkinson, 152 pp.

A half tamed red stallion appears with the moorland ponies on Exmoor.
Dick and Heather and their friends the Manners children  discover the
paw-marks of a monkey. They set out to track Red Rocket, as they have
named him. Eventually they find Red Rocket's elusive owner.

Sue’s Circus Horse

University of London Press, 1951, illus Leslie Atkinson

Dodd, Mead & Co, NY, 1952

Hodder & Stoughton, 1961
White Lion, 1975

Dragon pb

Sue buys the cream Arabian mare Ballita from a circus.

Ponies All Summer

University of London Press, 1956, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Dragon pb. 1980s?

To raise money to keep their three ponies while their parents are economising, the Trent
children decide to run a Pet Service.  

Bibliography  - pony books only

Pony Forest Adventure

University of London, 1957, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Dragon pb, prob 1970s

Rustlers are robbing the forest of its ponies, and Pat, Vicky, David, Sally and her brother Nigel
help to rescue them.

Jackie Won A Pony

Hodder & Stoughton, 1958, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Hodder (laminated boards), 1972, illus Whittam

Armada, pb, 1970s

Knight, 1992 pb

Character list

Jackie wins a pony after she wins a competition in
Horseshoes magazine.  She chooses Misty, a pony
she sees pulling a cart, and then after she finds
she has nowhere to keep her, she rides to her Aunt Di’s
 in the pony forest,  only to find herself joined by Babs
 and a horse she has rescued and hopes Aunt Di will take on.

Ten Ponies and Jackie

Brockhampton Press, 1959, illus Geoffrey Rose

Armada, pb, 1972, later Armada printing

Jackie and Babs help Terry, who has taken over a riding stable with nine
ponies.  The girls in their enthusiasm just about manage to wreck Terry’s

Character list  

A Pony in the Family,

Brockhampton, 1959, illus Anne Gordon, reprint 1961
Knight, Leicester, 1979, pb, other reprint, date uncertain

Two girls, Jane and her younger sister Penny, get a pony
and learn to look after her and ride.  This book was written
to teach those with no knowledge, and the way in which this
is done will either infuriate or charm.

Trouble at Ponyways

University of London Press, 1960, illus Elisabeth Grant

White Lion, London, hb, 1974

Dragon, London, 1977 pb

Mike Dashmore, show jumper, owns Ponyways.  Mike though has just
married, and although his wife is also a famous show jumper, she
manages to antagonise just about all of the guests there.

Jackie’s Pony Patrol

Brockhampton, Leicester, 1961, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada pb, prob 1970s
Armada pb, prob 1980s

Jackie and Babs form a pony patrol to look for Lenny, whom they
want to reform after he has been caught stealing.  Lenny’s father is
furious at their interference and turns their ponies loose in the forest.

Character list

Nobody’s Pony

University of London Press, 1962, illus John Ward RA, pb

Character list

A Colt in the Family

Brockhampton, Leic, 1962, illus Anne Gordon
White Lion, London, HB, 1975
Knight, pb,1975 (cover David Cox Studios), 1977

Penny now owns Rusty, but at first breaking him in proves
beyond her and even her sister Jane.

Five Foals and Philippa

Burke, London, 1963, illus Barbara Crocker

Character list

Philippa and Joy are staying with their Aunt Pat at Old Farm, but they soon have to help cousin Mike run the
Pony Farm alone. There is competition for the Farm in the shape of Zena Gregson who has turned her riding
school into a Welsh Pony Stud, and Philippa and friends are determined Old Farm will not close down. The
first foal of the five born is called Golden Boy, a name JMB re-used in one of the Jackie series. She did in fact
re-use the entire plot in a later Jackie story.

Jackie and the Pony Trekkers

Hodder & Stoughton, 1963,

illus Geoffrey Whittam, reprint 1973

Armada, London, pb, 1971, 1974,

1978, 1992
Character list

Jackie and Babs are thrilled by the
prospect of helping at a pony
trekking centre in the Welsh mountains.
Misty is denounced as a kicker, and Jackie and Babs take the blame for the many things that go wrong.  In the end, they manage to redeem themselves.


Judith M Berrisford was a prolific contributor of short stories, at least in the earlier part of her career. She also contributed several serials.

Silver Star

Pony Magazine, September 1950 - serial, number of parts unknown

Pedro, the Terrible

Riding Magazine, 1946, July-August, serial, illus Cavesson

Hounds Meet at Wits End

Pony Magazine, March 1952, illus Maurice Tulloch

Young Brother

Pony  Magazine, February 1953, illus Audrey Hiles


Pony Club Annual 4, 1953, illus Charlotte Hough

Hounds Please!

Pony Club Annual, 1953, illus Joan Wanklyn


Pony Magazine, January 1954, illus Maurice Tulloch

Rustlers in the New Forest

Pony Magazine 1954, March-July, five part serial, illus Harold Beards

Out of this World

Pony Magazine 1961, July- ? Serial, illus Harold Beards


Jackie’s Pony Camp Summer

Brockhampton, 1968, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Reprinted in hb

pb editions: Armada 1980s
Reprinted as: Jackie and the Pony Camp Summer

Knight pb 1992

and in Jackie: Two Pony Tales, Knight, pb, 1996
Character list
Jackie and Babs are thrilled because they are going
to Sandbeach Pony Camp.  Paul Wayne, the brother
of the camp’s organiser, seems determined to dislike
them.  Misty nearly drowns, and then Jackie discovers Paul’s unhappy secret.  He runs away and then when they look for him, Misty is badly injured. Only Paul can save the day.

Jackie’s Show Jumping Surprise

Brockhampton Press, 1973, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada, pb, 1972

Character list

Grand National winner Golden Boy is coming to Folly Farm, home of the
Rowlands family. It looks as if romance will blossom between Aunt Di,
who has come to Cherry Trees to look after the girls, and Steve Rowlands,
but his daughter Carol isn’t keen on the idea at all.

Sue’s TV Pony

Hutchinson, 1964, illus Sheila Rose

Ulverscroft Large Print, 1965

prob a Dragon pb reprint

Sue stumbles across a circus filming close to her home and she and Ballita
end up being in the film.

A Showjumper in the Family

Brockhampton Press, 1964 illus

White Lion, hb, 1974

Knight, pb, 1978

Penny and Jane now both have ponies and are keen to start showjumping, but neither parent is keen. Pa says
it’s too expensive, and Mama too dangerous. Well, nobody would learn anything, would they, if it was left at that,
so the two girls make their own jumps, and eventually persuade their parents to let them enter a local show,
but unfortunately their parents’ worst fears are recognised when Penny has a terrible fall.

Jackie and the Pony Boys

Brockhampton Press, Leicester, 1970

Collins, 1973

Knight, 1992 (Pony-Boys)

and in Jackie: Two Pony Tales, Knight, pb, 1996
Character list
“Trouble follows you wherever you go,” says Derek. (It
doesn’t slacken off any in the rest of the series: be
warned.)   A “war” erupts between the boys and girls.

Jackie on Pony Island

Hodder & Stoughton, 1977, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada, pb, 1979

Knight, pb, 1992

Jackie and Babs find a riderless Shetland on the beach. His rider, Robin,
and his family are staying on Pony Island, and trying to make money for
their ponies’ winter keep by giving pony rides. Now Robin is out of action,
Jackie and Babs are keen to help.  Then someone steals the takings...

Character list

Jackie and the Misfit Pony

Hodder & Stoughton, 1975, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada pb, 1977

Jackie and Babs are going to spend another holiday at Pinewoods, but their friend Molly
is involved in a strange family crisis.  The pony Freckles might have to be shot if she can’t
be controlled. Then, after Jackie and Freckles ride into an accident, Freckles and Molly

Character list

Jackie and the Pony Thieves

Hodder & Stoughton, 1978, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada, 1980, pb

Character list

Jackie and Babs go to stay with friends in the New Forest, only to find themselves up against
thieves after the ponies. Everyone has been told by the police not to tackle the thieves

direct - (you can probably guess who doesn’t). Jackie and friends manage to mistakenly lay

ambush to the police and confuse a famous actor with the villain. There’s also the added

complication of Danny Garton, who may or may not be a reformed character.

Jackie and the Phantom Ponies

Hodder & Stoughton, 1979, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada, pb, 1979, 1981

Knight, 1992 pb

Character list

Jackie and Babs are spending their holidays on David Browning’s Stud
Farm in the Lake District.  Three ponies have disappeared, as have
David’s broodmare and stallion.  The girl groom says it’s the girls’ fault,
but Jackie and Babs are determined to find out what is really going on.

Jackie and the Moonlight Pony

Hodder & Stoughton, 1977, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada pb, l980, 1982

Character list

A pony passes by at midnight with muffled hooves, and Babs and Jackie
are determined to find out why his blonde boy rider has to ride him in
secret. It turns out they are not the only ones on the trail of the boy.

Jackie and the Pony Rivals

Hodder & Stoughton, 1981, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada, 1983 pb

Character list

Jackie and Babs are staying on a Scottish stud for their holidays, but then Mrs Duncan, the
owner, is taken ill, and the girls have to step into the breach.  They have to contend with
interfering Elspeth Gordon, Mrs Duncan’s most deadly rival, to try and save the pony farm.

Sabotage at Stableways

Severn House, hb, 1982

Knight, pb, 1982

Someone is trying to discredit Stableways:  a cut stirrup leather is the first mishap. Then
there are deliberate attempts to hurt the ponies, and Pippa begins to wonder if Stableways
will even be able to muster a team to compete at Boxheath Trials.

Pony Trekkers Go Home!

Severn House, 1982

Knight, pb, 1983

Pippa is spending three weeks’ holiday at her Aunt Carol’s trekking centre in Scotland. Local Lord Glencairn
allows Pippa and her brother Pete to ride his expensive ponies, but they wonder why famous showjumpers are
stabled there, and why the village is so against the trekking centre.

Jackie and the Missing Showjumper

Hodder & Stoughton, 1982, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada pb, 1984

Character list

Jackie and Babs are excited when they get a Christmas job looking after a pop star’s
show jumper, but a young relation of his seems to have a real down on the girls, and
then Damson Gin, the show jumper, is kidnapped....

Pippa’s Mystery Horse

Severn House, 1983, hb

Knight, pb, 1983

Pippa and her brother Pete rescue a shipwrecked horse - an appaloosa.  He has
obviously been badly treated, although he is very well schooled.  Pippa hopes she
can find the horses’ real owner.

Change Ponies, Jackie!

Hodder & Stoughton, 1983, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Armada pb, 1985

Character list

Everything is going wrong for Jackie.  Although she’s just qualified for the National Horse
Trials she is too old by 2 days, and then Babs is chosen to ride Misty in the competition.
Jackie, however, is asked to join the Star family in the senior team, but disaster strikes.

Too Many Ponies for Pippa

Severn House hb, 1984
Knight, pb, 1984

Pippa is helping out on a West Country pony farm, but then some visitors arrive with yet more ponies.
Is it just coincidence that they’ve arrived when sheep and pony rustlers are operating in the area, although
they seem very helpful?  Pippa becomes more and more convinced that the ponies on the farm are in danger.

Jackie’s Steeplechase Adventure

Hodder & Stoughton, 1984, illus D E Walduck

Character list

Jackie discovers her new neighbour, Mr Gilmore, owns steeplechasers, but (of course) her and Babs’
offer of help is misinterpreted. Someone is determined to harm the best of the steeplechasers, and
Jackie and Babs are equally determined to stop them.

Pippa and the Midnight Ponies

Severn House, 1985, hb

Knight, 1995, pb

Pippa’s brother Pete is lent his friend Mark’s black gelding, but Pippa has a premonition of disaster about
the whole thing.  It seems she’s right when they find out that Mark disappeared on the eve of going on
holiday, Hero goes missing, and someone’s taking ponies out on midnight rides...

As a writer, Judith M Berrisford has some irritating stylistic quirks: the word “pony” is used as an adjective with abandon. Her characters do things that now make me goggle, though they passed me by at the time. In The Ponies Next Door, new ponies are bought and go out on rides almost instantly, without any settling in. The most staggering example in this book (of which I am actually fond:  it has a lot of charm) happens when the stables are persuaded to stable a baby elephant, and it only seems to occur to the owners and their child helpers after the event that putting the elephant in the same hallway as the ponies (the overflow of ponies are stabled in the house) is not a good idea.

Most of Judith Berrisford’s characters are enthusiastic and uncomplicated. They’re not given to introspection, but have uncomplicated adventures in which everything always works out. As comfort reading they succeed admirably, which is probably why the author had such a long career, with some of the Jackie books being reprinted even in the 1990s, when the classic pony book was generally on the way out.

~  0  ~

Acknowledgements:  Thank you to Susan Bourgeau, Dawn Harrison, Hannah Fleetwood, Konstanze Allsopp, Jacquie Aucott and Roger Thomas, who between them supplied most of the photographs for this section.

Finding the books:  as there are so many, I’ve categorised them!  Titles mentioned are hardbacks:  all the paperback titles are pretty easy to find.

Very difficult:  Five Foals and Philippa, Jackie’s Steeplechase Adventure, Red Rocket - Mystery Horse

Difficult: Timber, Change Ponies Jackie (HB), Sue’s TV Pony,

Average:  Sue’s Circus Horse (hb), The Ponies Next Door, Ponies All Summer, Pony Forest Adventure, Trouble at Ponyways, most of the Jackie hardbacks, the Family series, Nobody’s Pony

Very common: all the paperbacks