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American  Horse Books Home

Famous Horse Series

Grosset and Dunlap’s Famous Horse Series is one of the few American equivalents to the Collins Pony Library. Grosset and Dunlap was started in 1898 by Alexander Grosset and George T Dunlap as a pirate publishing enterprise, selling cheaply produced books without the expense of royalties. Their formula was a success, and opened up books to the mass market. Grosset & Dunlap moved into the legitimate market, and it became common for publishers to overrun their first printings, secure in the knowledge that they could cover their costs by selling the surplus to Grosset & Dunlap.

In combination with the Stratemeyer Syndicate, responsible for such lengthy ghost written series as Nancy Drew, Grosset & Dunlap moved into the children’s book market. Their Famous Horse and Famous Dog series were part of this push, continuing their aim of making books widely available, drawing on titles they already knew sold. The rear panel of Mountain Pony and the Rodeo Mystery states: “Here are some of the finest horse books ever written, now available in low priced editions for the first time. Hundreds of thousands have been sold at higher prices.” The Famous Horse series included entire series, thus making even more sure of sales by catering to a reader’s desire to read more books about characters they already knew. Six of George Rutherford Montgomery’s Golden Stallion seven book series and all of Henry V Larom’s Mountain Pony series were included. The vast majority of the stories in the series are from the Western ranch genre, though there are also horses about five-gaited horses, Lipizzaners in a circus, and harness racers, to name a few.

Unlike the English Collins Pony Library, there were no new titles in this series. A few, like Amigo, Laurie and Spook were given new cover art, and Dorothy Lyons’ Harlequin Hullabaloo was re-titled as Bluegrass Champion, but those were the sole alterations. Although some early titles were published as hardbacks with dustjackets, the majority appeared with pictorial boards. When they actually appeared is hard to pin down: although the original copyright of the titles is on the book, the date Grosset and Dunlap actually published it is not.

I am lacking quite a few examples of this series, so if you can help with photographs, I’d be very grateful.

Finding the books: this is generally an easy series to find in the US. The slightly more expensive volumes are: Hinkle’s Buckskin, Dapple Gray, Hurricane Pinto, Tornado Boy, Rutherford Montgomery’s The Golden Stallion and the Wolf Dog and The Golden Stallion’s Adventure at Redstone and Col Meek’s Frog, the Horse Who Knew No Master.

Links and sources

Terri Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987

A history of Grosset & Dunlap

More on Grosset & Dunlap

Many thanks to Lisa Catz, Susan Bourgeau and Fiona Williams for all their help with the photographs.

Glenn Balch: Indian Paint
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Little Falcon, son of the Chief, chooses an unborn foal to be his mount against his father’s wishes.
He hopes to prove to his father that despite all the setbacks, his choice was good.”

Glenn Balch: Lost Horse
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

Many thanks to Augustine Funnell Books for letting me use their scan of this book.

“When King is thought to be Midnight Chief, a black colt lost eight years earlier by Andy Blair, Ben
and Dixie are torn between wanting King to remain wild and wanting to catch him themselves
safely rather than let the ruthless hunter Tom Sample catch him.”

Estelle Barnes Clapp: Laurie

Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Laurie has her heart set on the Morgan horse Fella, but her father is afraid of horses, and the
fact that Fella has been spoiled and is a handful doesn’t help.”

Page Cooper: Amigo’s Circus Horse

Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Franz and his father work the well trained Lipizzaner stallions in their circus act, but Franz
longs for a horse of his own to train.”

Dana Faralla: The Magnificent Barb
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

Everyone in Mare’s Nest, a Georgian plantation, lives and breathes horses, including Kevin.
Kevin dreams of the Goldolphin Barb, and then some Irish horse traders turn up with a
magnificent Barb stallion. Kevin is determined to own the Barb himself.

John Taintor Foote: Hoofbeats

Grosset & Dunlap, NY

Many thanks to Déjà Vu books for allowing me to use their picture.

A collection of Foote’s racing stories, including Shame on You, about a harness racing horse.

David Grew:The Sorrel Stallion
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Sorrell was a wild cot when the young woman saw him and wanted to capture him with the help
of the rancher, but after he was lost, he had many experiences and adventures before he returned
to the rancher and his wife.”

David Grew: Beyond Rope and Fence

Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“The buckskin filly Queen is born into a herd of ranch horses and learns to value her freedom
and longs for it even after she is taught to carry a rider and work in the fields.”

Thomas C Hinkle: Cinchfoot
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“The gelding Blaze Face and the young stallion Cinchfoot roam together on the range much
preferring freedom to being caught by either Clem or the Mexican rodeo stock suppliers.”

Thomas C Hinkle: Mustang
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“The bay horse Mustang is stolen from Sam and forced to obey several masters before he is
free once more and lured back to Sam’s ranch by Old Bill, a horse who shared Mustang’s pasture
when Mustang was a yearling.”

Thomas C Hinkle:  Black Tiger
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“After only a short time with Jim Summers, the big black colt Black Tiger is whisked away by his
wild mother and then pursued by horse thieves for many years.”

Stephen Holt: Wild Palomino
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

Des tries to capture the palomino stallion Rocket for use as the new sire for his father’s palomino
ranch, but the Mexican El Gato has other plans for the horse.”

Stephen Holt: Prairie Colt
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Leif’s orphaned twin colts are his key to winning the stockman’s race and thereby getting the
money needed to save his father’s business, but which colt will it be?”

Stephen Holt: The Phantom Roan
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“A cast-off rodeo outlaw horse with an injured foot inspires Glenn to pursue his original dream of
becoming a veterinarian instead of going into town to become a bank teller.”

Stephen Holt: The Whistling Stallion
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Inspired by the strength of the palomino stallion Whistler, Roy refuses to give up the ranch when his
father’s medical bills use up all the money, and he plans to run the ranch along until his father is back
on his feet.” (Sequel to Wild Palomino)

Don Lang: Strawberry Roan
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Roscoe believes in the strawberry roan trotter David Hal so much, that when the horse no longer
wins his races and is sold, Roscoe goes along with the horse as it goes from plow horse to circus

Thomas C Hinkle: Buckskin
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Buckskin was tamed by Jim Carney, but he suffered at the hands of many others before Jim
and he were reunited and Buckskin could show his devotion to Jim by saving his life in a flood.”

Thomas C Hinkle: Dapple Gray
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Charley and his horse Dapple Gray set out with the other ranch hands in an attempt to kill a
marauding grizzly bear before it kills any more cattle or horses.”

Thomas C Hinkle: Tornado Boy
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“The blue-roan Tornado Boy survives the heat of the desert, the severity of an ice storm and
sickness caused by eating poison weeds before he is reunited in the middle of a cattle stampede
with the boy who owned him as a colt.”

Thomas C Hinkle: Hurricane Pinto
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Pinto throws every man who tries to ride or break him except Joe Gunnison, and he and Joe
make a perilous trip through Death Valley in an attempt to escape from the horse thieves who
want Pinto.”

Bibliography - horse books only

Henry V Larom: Mountain Pony and the Pinto Colt
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Andy’s sorrel horse Sunny and a pinto colt are rustled off by Jake Somers to be sold to the
slaughterhouse, but by swimming through a canyon river, Andy is able to find out how the horses
were stolen.”

Henry V Larom: Mountain Pony
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Andy buys a mistreated sorrel horse from Randy Garland, not realising that Garland is a sworn
enemy of Andy’s Uncle Wes, the local game warden.”

Henry V Larom: Mountain Pony and the Rodeo Mystery
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“When Andy’s pet horse Brownie is stolen because he is a natural bucker, Andy and his horse
Sunny track the stolen horse to a New York rodeo where he tries to prove that the famous
Slipstream is really his Brownie.”

Henry V Larom: Mountain Pony and the Elkhorn Mystery
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“When Andy checks on his new ranch, he finds signs that people have been there digging, so with
his horse Sunny and dog Pocket, he tries to find out if the previous owner really did bury his treasure

Isabel McLennan McMeekin: Kentucky Derby Winner

Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Orphan Ban-Joe finds a job in Louisville at the livery stable where the racehorse Grey Eagle is
kept, and Ban-Joe longs to be a jockey and ride the big gray horse.”

Col. S P Meek: Frog:  The Horse that Knew No Master
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Frog, the US cavalry horse stationed in Panama, is described as a vicious outlaw destined to be
destroyed until Lieutenant Scott is sent to Panama and he turns the bay horse into a good polo

Dorothy Lyons: Bluegrass Champion
Grosset & Dunlap, NY

“Judy trains her paint Saddlebred gelding to perform as a five-gaited horse, but at first everyone
thinks that such a gaudily marked horse can’t possibly be a good show ring winner.”

Rutherford Montgomery: The Capture of the Golden Stallion
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“After Charlie Carter of the Bar L Ranch spots the golden colt in the wild herd and decides to
capture him, the colt instead captures Charlie’s favourite mare Trey Spot.”

Rutherford Montgomery: The Golden Stallion’s Revenge
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“Ellen’s summer visit to the Bar L Ranch is marred by an artist’s attention to her while Charlie has to

search for the stolen Golden Boy and his herd.”

Rutherford Montgomery: Midnight
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“After the old squatter Sam is wrongly accused of stealing the blooded horse Lady Ebony, it is
years before the true story is revealed of how the mare was stolen by a band of wild horses led
by a chestnut stallion.”

Rutherford Montgomery:  The Golden Stallion’s Victory
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“Charlie Carter has his hands full when the palomino stallion Golden Boy starts stealing a new
neighbour’s ranch mares and the neighbours use questionable tactics in their attempt to buy the
Bar L Ranch.”

Rutherford Montgomery: The Golden Stallion and the Wolf Dog
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“Charlie Carter meets a mysterious young Mexican boy and his cattle working wolf dog as they
try to catch the wild white pacing stallion that has been bothering Golden Boy and his herd.”

Rutherford Montgomery: The Golden Stallion to the Rescue
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“When a hard winter causes money problems on the Bar L Ranch, Charlie must sell Golden Boy
and the mares to make ends meet. Their selfish summer boarder Rodney says that his father will
buy the golden Stallion for him.”

Keith Robertson: Ticktock and Jim
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“While on an early morning job for his Pony Express errand service, Jim and his horse Ticktock
become involved in a truck hijacking mystery, and enlist the help of their new friend Larry to do
some detective work.”

Harlan Thompson:  Spook, the Mustang
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“When David and his parents stop at the Condor Ranch to see Grandy, they learn that he has been
missing for over a year, so they stay on to rebuild the ranch and David pins his hopes on turning
a wild orphaned black colt with a terrible fear of birds into a good rope horse.”

Rutherford Montgomery: The Golden Stallion’s Adventure at Redstone
Grosset& Dunlap, NY

“Charlie goes to help his Uncle Martin who has been injured in a  rock slide, but he doesn’t know
that it was really an attempt on his uncle’s life so that his unbranded blooded mares could be

Famous Dog Series