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Rachel Rivers Coffey

A Horse Like Mr Ragman

Scribner, New York, 1977, 149 pp

Scholastic, paperback, 1980

Elizabeth is 12, and she dreams of owning a horse like Eva’s. Eva is rich, and keeps her beautiful
horse at the stable that Elizabeth rides at. When Elizabeth’s father finally buys her a horse, it’s
nothing like Eva’s. It’s a shaggy pinto, and Elizabeth is thoroughly embarrassed, until his talents
are discovered.

Rachel Rivers Coffey was a newspaperwoman and writer. Her father, R C Rivers, owned the Watauga Democrat, a weekly newspaper located in Boone, and Watauga County’s oldest business. Rachel Rivers Coffey and her husband eventually took over the paper. She and her husband were great benefactors; they donated Rivers Park to the community, an area of woodland containing the state’s largest Maple Tree. The family also supported various educational programmes. After Rachel Rivers Coffey died, the family started the Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the Appalachian State University which “annually sponsors the residency of a writer of national prominence at Appalachian State University”.

Rachel Rivers Coffey wrote one horse book. Her heroine Elizabeth has the classic horsey girl’s longing for a wonderful, competition-winning horse, but when she achieves her dream and gets a horse, what turns up isn’t quite what she dreamed of.

Finding the book: the book is easy to find in the USA. It was not published in the UK.

Links and sources

North Carolina newspapers

The Watauga Democrat

Many thanks to Lisa Catz the photograph and summary.

Bibliography - horse books only