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Maggie Dana wrote the Best Friends series, which she is now re-issuing, and adding to, as the Timber Ridge Riders series. The books have been updated and revised, and are available in ebook format, and as paperbacks. They are well worth seeking out. Maggie Dana has written a well-observed series which goes beyond the usual teenage story to look at how the strains of growing up affect her characters.

She was born in England, and learned to ride at Pinewood Studios in Middlesex. The stables had a whole menagerie besides horses, including a Jersey cow called Maud. Maggie was asked to take Maud onto the set of a film, set in wartime, and starring David Niven and Glynis Johns - the film’s plot involved rescuing a valuable Jersey cow from the Channel Islands when they were occupied by the Nazis. Maud ruined her moment in the sun, however, by peeing all over the sound stage’s concrete floor, to Maggie’s intense embarrassment.

When Maggie grew up, she worked as a flight attendant, model, and worked at Pinewood Studios and for commercial television. When she was in her early twenties she moved to the States, where she married and had three children. After she was divorced, she had to support herself and the children and started writing, and started her writing career with a standalone horse book, The Golden Horse of Willow Farm.

The Timber Ridge series is about Kate (Kerry, in the books’ original printing) and her adventures at Timber Ridge Stables, with her best friend Holly, and sworn enemy Angela (formerly Whitney). In the summaries, I’ve used the names the series currently uses.

Finding the books: the original printings are reasonably easy to find secondhand. The newest printings are
available in various ebook formats, as well as in paperback, and all are in print.

Links and sources
Maggie Dana’s website
My interview with Maggie Dana

Maggie Dana

Timber Ridge/Best Friends

The Beginning

Keeping Secrets/No Time for Secrets
Racing into Trouble/Jumping into Trouble
Racing for the Stars/Riding for the Stars
If Wishes Were Horses/Wish Upon a Horse

Chasing Dreams

Almost Perfect

Taking Chances

After the Storm

Double Feature

Flying Changes

Racing for the Stars/Riding for the Stars
Troll Communications, New Jersey, 1988, pb
Re-issued as Riding for the Stars, 2012, pb and ebook format 
A review of the book

How far will Angela go this time? A movie is being filmed at Timber Ridge
Stables. Angela wants a part of course, but so does Kate. If Kate can get
the part, she’ll finally be able to buy a horse of her own.

No Time for Secrets/Keeping Secrets
Troll Communications, New Jersey, 1988, pb
Re-issued as Keeping Secrets, Pageworks Press, 2011
Revised and updated

A review of the book

Kate gets a summer job as a companion to Holly, who has lost the use
of her legs and can no longer ride. Kate has a terrible guilty secret which
is stopping her riding. Kate is going to have to face her fear if she wants
to help Holly’s mother, Liz, who runs the Timber Ridge Stables. Mrs Dean
and her poisonous daughter Angela want Liz out.

Bibliography - Horse books only

The Golden Horse of Willow Farm
Weekly Reader, 1981
(Author name: Margaret Dana) 

The blurb:
“When a foal is born at the farm next door, ten year old Kate Williams spends every spare minute
with her. She learns to feed and care for the horse and watches her grow into a beautiful golden
mare called Nutmeg. Then the farmer and his family fall on hard times, and he is forced to sell
Nutmeg. But before the new owner arrives to pick her up, Kate steals the mare and together
they disappear into the forest.”

If Wishes were Horses/Wish Upon a Horse
Troll Communications, New Jersey, 1988, pb
Re-issued as Wish Upon a Horse, 2012, pb and ebook format 

At last, it looks as if Kate will get a horse of her own, but the scruffy mare
she rescues from the auction isn’t what Kate dreamed of. However, Kate
hopes that one day, the mare will be a champion. The competition is fierce.
Arch-rival Angela Dean is being coached by one of the top riders in the
world who’s as unscrupulous as she is. No one’s sure whether Kate, or
her mare, have what it takes.

Jumping into Trouble/Racing into Trouble
Troll Communications, New Jersey, 1988, pb
Re-issued as Racing into Trouble, 2012, Pageworks Press 2012

A review of the book

Kate and Holly are still the best of friends, but when Angela Dean’s
jealousy is roused when it is Kate who is allowed to ride difficult new
horse Buccaneer and not her, Angela sets out to make Kate’s life as
difficult as she possibly can. Kate does not help herself, and succeeds
in alienating herself from Holly and Liz.

Chasing Dreams
pb and ebook format, 2013

A review of the book

Kate’s father, who’s been absent in the Brazilian jungle for the past four books studying butterflies,
arrives home. He wants to move to Wyoming, and doesn’t see why Kate’s horse should come too.
Potentially losing Tapestry isn’t Kate’s only problem: best friend Holly’s boyfriend is trying to
organise a surprise birthday party for her, and this means lots of secretive phone calls to Kate,
about which she gets the wrong idea. And then there’s Kate’s sort-of boyfriend, film star Nathan.
He’s away filming in New Zealand, and Kate’s never actually had a proper date with him. Brad,
on the other hand, is right here in Vermont. And he’s kind. And cute.

Almost Perfect
pb and ebook format, 2013

A review of the book

Kate and her father are now living in Vermont. Kate and Holly want to qualify for the Festival
of Horses: it’s a huge chance for them, as scouts from the United States Equestrian Team use
the Festival as an opportunity to scout out riders they want to work with. Of course they’re not
the only ones: their friends at Timber Ridge want to ride too, and so does Angela Dean,
possibly almost as much as her mother wants her to. Between them, they ensure Kate can’t
ride. The Nathan/Brad situation is still there too: Brad carries on being a good thing, and
Nathan, well, he's just not there.

Taking Chances
pb and ebook format, 2013

A review of the book

Will Kate still be able to qualify for the Festival of Horses? There’s only one more show at
which she can. Then Kate has an accident, and it looks as if she won’t be fit enough. At least
 Angela Dean’s out of the way, though Mrs Dean has bought Angela an even more spectacular,
push-button horse. Will Kate recover enough to be able to ride? And will she work the
Brad/Nathan situation out?

After the Storm
pb and ebook format, 2013

A review of the book

It’s winter in Vermont, and Kate and Holly are eagerly waiting to see if  Kate’s managed to
qualify for the Festival of Horses. There’s a storm outside the barn, and in the confusion during
a power cut, a pony gets given the wrong feed. Angela tells everyone Kate’s to blame, and
they believe her. Things go from bad to worse when Holly and Kate fall out: it gets so bad,
Kate is going to move Tapestry to a new barn.

Turning on a Dime

pb and ebook format, 2014

A review of the book

A time slip adventure, in which Samantha, living in present day Connecticut, finds herself
going back in time to the South, just as the Civil War is breaking out. There she meets
Caroline, who’s rebellious and wants to ride astride not like a lady, as her parents think.
That all seems very unimportant when the girls have to flee.

Flying Changes

Pb and ebook format, 2014

Kate and Holly visit their friend at Beaumont Park in the UK. Holly’s thrilled that they’ll be
meeting a real-life princess, whereas Kate’s more excited about the riding they’re going
to get. Along the way, life takes some very dramatic turns.

Timber Ridge Riders: The Beginning

Pb and ebook format, 2014

This is a prequel to the Timber Ridge Riders series, and tells the story of what life was like
for Kate and Holly before the series begins.  

Double Feature
pb and ebook format, 2014

Holly is determined to get Kate back at the barn. Angela’s equally determined to keep Kate
out. Kate’s boyfriend, Nathan, has been making headlines, and when Kate goes to a premiere,
she makes headlines of her own. The next big thing is the Festival of Horses, which brings
surprises for all of them.