Book name: Jackie and Pony Trekkers
Author: Judith M Berrisford
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Genre: Pony books, vintage children’s books
Publication Date: 1965
Star Rating: 4/5
Jackie and the Pony Trekkers is one of the highly popular ‘Jackie’ series of pony books published in from 1958 to 1984.
When Jackie and the Pony Trekkers opens, Jackie and her cousin are heading off to Wales for a summer of pony trekking.
Babs, Jackie’s cousin, is riding her skewbald pony Patch and, of course, Jackie is riding Misty.
The girls have spent their savings on the horsebox to transport them to the Pinewoods Pony Trekking Centre.
They are riding the last stretch and are very excited about the summer that lies ahead.
Just as they are nearing the centre, a young boy on an out-of-control pony comes galloping towards them.
Babs tries to stop the pony, but collides with it when she is distracted by a young man shouting to her to stay clear.
The young man is John, the elder brother of their friend Molly, who has invited them to the centre for the summer.
John clearly has quite a temper, and he berates Babs for having tried to help. He’s particularly angry that Patch has cut his chestnut mare with his shoe.
Jackie and Babs are crestfallen when he tells them that Molly has chicken pox and is being quarantined away from the centre.
John makes it absolutely clear that the girls can only stay on sufferance and must prove themselves. Otherwise, they are going home.
Being the girls they are, Jackie and Babs work hard to impress John with their experience and hope that their work ethic will improve his first impression.
Unfortunately, one incident after another simply reinforces John’s poor opinion of the girls.
Misty has a gall from where her tack as rubbed, and is out of action for a few days, which makes John even more inclined to distrust Jackie and Babs.
I felt very sorry for Jackie and Babs. They were so positive and determined to make good and to be of help wherever they could.
However, the trekking centre is under financial pressure and Judith M Berrisford provided quite a lot of context as to why a young man taking on too much responsibility might not be as patient as we would like to see when dealing with his younger sister’s friends.
Much of the tension in Jackie and the Pony Trekkers is supplied by physical challenges of the kind that any rider will recognise. A pony nearly drowns after getting swept away in a river, and Jackie inadvertently lets out a valuable palomino at a nearby stud farm.
The summer was quite gruelling for Jackie and Babs, but their most likeable quality was their refusal to complain even though personally I thought they were being treated quite badly.
The challenges at Pinewoods are finally resolved, Molly returns from quarantine and the rest of the summer seems likely to be more positive. However, Jackie and Babs can be proud of their resilience and their loyalty to their friend.
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