Ponies, ponies, ponies
Jo Sykes was born in American Falls, Idaho, and lived near Livingston, Montana. She bought her first horse in her teens, and worked as a ranch hand on and off for ten years. Anything which had to be donen on the ranch, she did. She also managed to attend college, going to MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinor, and Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana. To make ends meet, she also worked tieing dry flies in a fishing tackle shop, was a children's librarian,an extra in a Western movie and a rodeo clown. She also wrote two books about dogs, and bred Smooth Fox Terriers. Her greatest love though was writing about Montana and horses: she hoped, through her books, to make her readers appreciate the virtues of the Western stock horse.
Finding the books: none of her titles were published in the UK, but all are easy to find in the USA, and generally reasonably priced.
Links and sources
The Stubborn Mare, dustjacket
A review of Saddle a Thunderbolt
The Stubborn Mare
The John C Winston Company, Philadelphia, 1957, 183 pp. Illus Manning de V Lee
An aged man and a troubled youth fight desperately to save the courageous mare, Joey. When
Justin breaks his leg in a hunting accident, Andy cares for the two invalids. During the bitter
winter, the two lonely men develop a close bond of affection and respect which grows out of
their love and concern for Joey and her newborn colt. But trouble still stalks Andy, and he is
gone as swiftly as he came. In an effort to lessen his sorrow, Justin turns to Joey and discovers
she is a natural-
Chip on His Shoulder
Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1961, 186 pp, cover art Ernie Barth
Hamilton Roark was a troublemaker. Then he met a policeman he could respect, and dropped
out of membership of his gang. Then he was arrested with the gang, and instead of being sent
to reform school, offered the chance to go to Montana and start a new life. He goes to stay with
Cal Stuart, a horse dealer, and there meets an outlaw red and white gelding with whom he
instantly feels a bond.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1963, 217 pp, cover art Brinton Turkle
Brighton, who disappeared on a hunting trip near Trouble Creek, Ten is soon involved in a series
of strange and hazardous incidents, including the unexpected discovery of a gang of poachers.
The questionable behavior of Alvin's brother, George, adds to Ten's growing suspicious about
the lost hunter's fate.
Saddle a Thunderbolt
Funk & Wagnalls, New York 1967, 192 pp, jacket design the author
Click here for a review.
Bruce Hubbard is alone, and with his father in the hospital and bills mounting, his responsibilities
are those of a man. He fights to save the ranch from the clutches of Clifford Walterbaugh. Bruce's
one hope is to win the annual Cowboy Race, a gruelling test of a horse's speed and endurance
over four miles.
Wolf Dog of Ambush Canyon
Rinehart & Winston, 1959
Rinehart & Winston, 1969