Lunchtime reading last week was pure escapism as I took Fidra Books' latest offering Fly-By-Night by K.M.Peyton to work with me. Sitting up on Dartmoor eating my lunch surrounded by the moor ponies so a book like this made perfect reading.
I'm not a lover of horses. I tried over and again to adore Jill of the Pony Club and all the Pullein-Thompson books but the damage was done by that wretched horse on Whitehall standing nicely to attention while I endeavoured to stroke it at which point it sneezed all over my sock.
That was me and horses done for at the age of six.
So I pride myself on my complete lack of equine knowledge which I've cultivated to an art form amongst some of my very horsey friends.Occasionally we meet for lunch, one is an accomplished rider, the other a show judge and the other has pony club daughters, then there's me.They know well that I know hoof-all about horse anything so I butt in on their conversations sounding really knowledgeable and everyone ends up in hysterics.
But now I actually know a little bit (that goes in the horse's mouth) more.
One of the delights of these books from Fidra are the author's introductions. I really enjoyed Victoria Walker's in The Winter of Enchantment and Kathleen Peyton's is another excellent one.I hadn't realised she wrote the Flambards series which I half remember on television.
Ruth realises every little pony-mad girl's dream by buying one to keep in her back garden in the middle of a new housing estate.Fly-By-Night is of course a free-spirited pony with a mind of his own and a frequent need to break off into a wild canter when he feels so inclined, but he comes good as we know he will.There are rosettes and things,lots of Pony Club antics and a bit of dressage, in which I am now a complete expert.
If I had to enter a competition I'd certainly be wanting my horse to complete an extended trot followed by a collected trot then probably a slow, collected canter.We'd complete a circle on the correct leg (one of those on the corner of the horse) and for sure we'd change direction and go off in a circle on the other leg (one on the opposite corner of the horse) and hopefully the other three legs would look after themselves.Then we'd stand, collected and square on all four legs.Gosh aren't horses clever to go in a circle on one leg? I'm going to wow the horsey friends with all this, they'll be stunned.
When I talk about doing a levade they'll all likely faint.
As always a beautifully produced and illustrated (by the author) book from Fidra and we should be grateful to them for republishing these delightful books which don't date...apart from the £5 a week mortgage payments that the Hollis family have to find.
Pony-mads will adore it and how strange that books like this are just never but never reviewed in the mainstream press.They deserve a much wider audience, let's hope Fidra have found an outlet at the Horse of the Year Show, Badminton and all other events in between.