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A Pony in the Family: John C Adams Reviews

Book name: A Pony in the Family

Author: Judith M Berrisford

Publisher: Brockhampton Press

Format: Print

Genre: Pony books

Publication Date: 1959

Star Rating: 4/5

Judith M Berrisford is best known for her series of 'Jackie' pony books, but she wrote a variety of animal and pony books as well as books on gardening.

A Pony in the Family is the first book in a trilogy featuring the same family. It was followed by A Colt in the Family and A Showjumper in the Family.

Jane and Penny Brooke have been learning to ride for a year, but owning a pony becomes a real possibility when their family moves to the country.

The sisters are overjoyed.

The family has moved to Orchard Cottage, and their father has sunk money into converting the flat above his shop into a showroom to sell TVs.

He’s worried about the cost of Jane and Penny having a pony, and the whole family is concerned when the showroom takes time to make a difference to the family business.

Jane and Penny discover a pony for sale at the local farm. Their father is a sensible man, and he phones their riding instructor and asks for help to check the pony over.

Freckles is the perfect pony for Jane and Penny. She’s kind, well trained and easy to handle. However, she has plenty of energy because her owner hasn’t ridden her regularly.

Freckle’s tack has also been sadly neglected, so the leather is dry to the point of cracking.

Jane and Penny have plenty of knowledge of their own, and they are supported by their riding instructor and the local vet is determining that Freckles is a safe buy.

The only cloud on the horizon is how they are going to afford to keep Freckles, and the possibility of the pony being returned to her last owner is never far away.

The opening chapters are heavy on ‘how to choose a pony the right way’ and there are even some diagrams.

This doesn’t spoil the reader’s enjoyment. In fact, for readers who perhaps rode at a local riding school (or merely gazed over fences at ponies beyond their reach), the opening chapters present a useful opportunity to find out more about the technical side of riding and caring for a pony.

Experienced young riders reading the book would have enjoyed ticking off the hints and tips with a satisfied ‘I knew that’. And dare I say it, anyone whose knowledge might have required a little polishing up may also have benefited from a refresher.

Once the action gets going, Jane and Penny get to know a brother and sister who live locally and who also ride. Hazel and Alan have a pony they’ve outgrown, so Penny rides Bramble while Jane, the elder, is usually mounted on Freckles.

The sisters also receive plenty of helpful advice from a local married couple who ride.

A Pony in the Family presents the best of a rural riding community welcoming newcomers and banding together to help them to acquire the riding and pony care skills they need.

The style was appropriately didactic for a book published in 1959, and the underlying story and characters were wonderful.

Thank you for reading my review.

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John C Adams Reviews

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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested reading in my review of Jill’s Gymkhana by Ruby Ferguson.

Or you might like to take a look at the pony books category of my blog.

If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham.

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