A Pony of Your Own by Mary Gervaise: John C Adams Reviews

Book name: A Pony of Your Own

Author: Mary Gervais

Publisher: Armada

Format: ebook, print, audiobook

Genre: Pony book, vintage children’s fiction

Publication Date: 1969

Star Rating: 5/5


Fans of this blog will know that I can’t get enough of pony stories and boarding-school fiction so it won’t surprise you to discover that A Pony of Your Own by Mary Gervaise (first published in 1950 but then republished by Armada Books in 1969) is one of my favourite children’s books.


Most pony books feature girls who either adore their ponies or can’t wait to get one or even just afford to take riding lessons.


Most boarding-school fiction has a heroine that doesn’t mind being sent away to school even if it takes a bit of time for them to fit in and whose underlying suitability for the boarding-school environment isn’t usually in much doubt.


Mary Gervaise’s A Pony of Your Own defies both these expectations in Georgia Kane. Georgia is a homebody who prefers sitting with her injured brother and pet cat to making friends at her local school. She is also terrified of horses.


I loved the challenge that Georgia’s dislike of leaving home and fear of horses presented to Mary Gervaise in A Pony of Your Own. The hint was there that Georgia would acquire a pony, but how could that happen in the face of so many obstacles?


A series of unlikely events leads to Georgia being alone at home one evening. A rider falls from his horse on the road outside and both are injured. Despite her fear, she puts the welfare of the horse first and also helps the rider.


His aunt is opening a boarding school and he suggests to Georgia’s mother that this might help her come out of her shell. Since Georgia’s twin brothers and her cousin are already perfectly happy at boarding school, the Kanes don’t take much persuading and Georgia is told the bad news.


Georgia’s fear of horses is deeply rooted in an episode from her childhood. That sort of thing can keep a hold of you, and it’s probably why I am really frightened of dogs. She struggles bravely to overcome her fear but the other girls, who are all wild about riding, just can’t understand.


She makes good friends, including Teepoo who comes from Africa and wants to become a doctor, and Susan, who loves horses and is confident and breezy.


The school is a fairly sensitive place, some girls’ behaviour notwithstanding, and A Pony of Your Own offers us a gentler take on the ‘fit in or be made to’ theme that can sometimes emerge in boarding-school fiction of a generation earlier.


The deep-seated fear of horses that marks Georgia’s arrival at the school gradually disappears courtesy of her gritty determination. She is a heroine who puts others first, be it child or animal, and when danger comes Georgia will be equal to it.


Like any self-respecting pony or boarding-school story, the ending features a good old-fashioned sequence of real physical danger that a Pat Smythe or an Angela Brazil could be proud of. I love A Pony of Your Own by Mary Gervaise and can’t re-read it often enough.


There is a fascinating debate to be had as to whether Georgia, who rescues Firefly at the beginning of the story before she’s even heard of the Grange Boarding School, had it in her all along or whether the Grange gave her the courage to rescue another horse from life-threatening danger at the end. Either way, it’s a great story.


Thank you for reading my review of A Pony of Your Own by Mary Gervaise.


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