Tag Archives: Horse

Ride Into Danger [1983]

  • Ride Into Danger and other gripping stories – Bunty PSL: #243 [1983]

Plot

This book consists of 4 short stories, while not officially tied together, I would say there is a common theme of bravery in each story

Ride Into Danger

Kelly Johnson is out riding with her horse King, during stormy weather. She dismounts to try and navigate him along a narrow path, but suddenly it gives way and King falls down the steep incline into the bank below. Kelly manages to grab onto a root to stop herself falling in with him and she sees King is temporarily stopped from being swept away by a fallen tree. She will need to act quickly to help get him out, and she is hopeful when it turns out a surly neighbour Jim Selby, is nearby.  But when she asks for help, he tells her that he doesn’t have a rope and turns away. Kelly naturally is upset but she gathers herself and has an idea. She orders Selby to follow her lead and surprisingly he does They manage to dislodge some stones into the river making a temporary dam, so Kelly can wade in and fetch King. When she asks Jim what made him change his mind and help, he tells her he admired her pluck.

Night of Fear

Susan Martin is woken by storm. Her father, a police doctor, has to go out on an emergency call, leaving Susan in charge of her young sister, Althea. She has not settled back to bed yet when she sees a car crash just outside the house, and she goes to see if she can help. One of the men is unconscious in the car but his friend says it is best not to move him an asks to use her phone.  Susan agrees but she begins to suspect that all is not right. When he rings a friend rather than ambulance, she knows he is not to be trusted, but Althea has come downstair and she has to make sure she is safe.  He tells Susan to get any money they have in the house while Althea will stay with him. While getting the housekeeping money, Susan seea her dad arriving home, so she flicks on and off the kitchen lights to warn him, then  she locks the front house door. When she gives the man the money and he leaves room. she blocks the room  so he will be trapped on the hallway. The police who have arrived with Dr Martin arrest him It seems the call Dr Martin was called out to was a jewellery robbery and the police were following the car. The Sergeant  tells Susan she could think of police force as possible career, due to her quick thinking.

The Courage of Candy

Candy Scott’s mother was always fussing over her as she assumed she was delicate. She would give Candy medicine “just in case”, insist on her wearing a sun hat and says she shouldn’t run about too much. While they had a temporary house guest, a dog, Terry, Candy was enjoying some freedom, when she took him out for walks. On one of these occasions, Candy is enjoying having a lie down in the park, but she falls asleep and Terry is missing when she wakes up. Early the next morning Candy leaves home determined to find him. After a big trek she finds Terry being  being pushed into dog fighting for a gang of boys entertainment. Candy saves Terry and sprays the gang with water. After her adventure she returns home deciding she is no longer going to go along with mothers over protectiveness. A month later their relationship has much improved, and Candy has more freedom.

Bad News for Nancy

Sixteen year old, Nancy Clements, was minding her parents shop and her siblings, while her parents were away on holiday. Then she hears news on the radio that  her parents’ plane was missing and may have crashed. While her Aunt Mary is also helping out at the shop while they are away, Nancy begins to think of the future if her parents are dead. Her Aunt Mary would not be able to help out permanently and her youngest brother Alec, is only five so she would have to stay with him until he grows up. While she keeps the news from Alec, she does tell her other 2 siblings. Her other siblings also put on brave and practical faces, saying they will help around the house. Then their Dad rings! The plane only had a small crash with no major injuries. Nancy is so happy, she also thinks after a day like this,  in the future she’d be able to cope with anything.

Thoughts

Considering that these small booklets were only 64 pages and usually just had 2 panels per page, splitting that into 4 stories really means they have to get to point quickly and still tell an interesting story. There were many picture story library that had this short story format, and despite the limited space they usually were successful in telling a good story. A bit more unusual for this book, is the theme isn’t very apparent and the title comes from the first story rather than an anthology name to encompass all stories (unlike something like Scream! or Dolwyn’s Dolls). With only the small sub title “and other gripping stories” it doesn’t hint at what else to expect. At first glance of the cover, I thought they may all be horse stories, then when the second story also involved storm, I thought it might be the common thread  but after reading all four stories it does seem like “bravery” is the thing tying the stories together. Which can appear in different ways, whether it is bravery and quick thinking in perilous situations like Kelly and Susan, standing up for yourself like Candy or bravery in the face of terrible news like Nancy.

I think the stories worked pretty well, if I was to pick on the weakest it would probably be The Courage of Candy. It’s not a bad story but could have been expanded, to see more of Candy’s mother’s fussing and would have liked to see Candy’s actual confrontation with her at the end, instead it has one panel of Candy outside the house ready to talk to her mother and the next panel is one month later. There can be a reliance of “tell not show” in some of the stories but with limited space this is expected to a degree. Bad News for Nancy is quite dialogue/thought heavy but works for the story as Nancy tries to figure out what to do and still shows the weight of the news in her expressions. Night of Fear wraps up quite quickly but does what it needs to do.  Ride Into Danger has the most interesting visuals with the storm and horse in danger, so it is good choice to start of the book. It’s a quick, fun, read and I think the two strongest stories start and finish the book.

Forbidden to Ride [1980]

  • Forbidden to Ride – Bunty PSL: #204 [1980]

Plot

A couple  find a girl unconscious on the side of the road, they go to help her,  but as she comes around, she does not remember anything. They call the police and they come and tell her she is Anne West and her parents reported her missing. While the policeman is taking her home, a girl, Renata Moore,  riding a horse approaches Anne. She makes a  strange comment “I warned you Fame was too much for you”, which Anne can’t understand. When Anne gets home she doesn’t remember her parents, but she feels loved and safe with them. Her father also mentions fame bringing heartache, but when Anne questions him, he quickly dismisses it. Anne notices some other strange things such as a mark on her bedroom wall where a picture used to be. Unknown to her downstairs her parents are hiding some riding gear.

As it’s the school holidays she won’t be getting answers from there, but her parents have arranged for a friend, Kay, to visit. Anne overhears her Dad telling Kay not to mention “Fame”, and when Anne tries to press her for information, Kay runs off.  Anne then sees Renata and tries to get her to explain what she meant,  but  a low flying plane means she can’t hear the end of that conversation. Anne wonders what she could have done to a rich girl who seems to have everything. She tries to jog her memory by taking a walk, and she runs into her dad, who had been out looking for her riding hat. He hides it from her before she can see it. Anne goes to gymkhana event where she comments on Renata’s riding, a woman overhearing her remarks says she must be very knowledgeable on riding. Anne wonders if that is the case, why there is nothing in her house that would suggest that. Unable to sleep that night, she takes a walk. In an old barn sat the edge of their land she finds a horse and she is sure she knows him. She takes him for a ride and decides she must ride him in secret, in case her parents take him away.

On a secret ride she runs into Renata who says “you think you can still handle Fame”. Finally Anne remembers that “Fame” is her horse’s name and that triggers a return of some of her memories. She now knows Renata doesn’t like her because she wanted to buy Fame herself. Anne returns home on the horse, telling her parents she remembers Fame, but her father doesn’t want her anywhere near the “brute”. On the day of Anne’s accident, Fame returned without her and her parents assume he threw her. But Anne isn’t convinced it was Fame’s fault and is very unhappy when her parents decide to sell Fame to Renata (they offer to buy her a tamer pony instead). Luckily the sale is called off last minute, when the doctor says that keeping Fame could help recover her memories completely. Renata of course is not happy with this outcome.

Meanwhile Anne gains confidence riding Fame again and her parents are  being more supportive of her, though they don’t want her taking any risks. Renata still unhappy about losing out on Fame, causes Anne to fall by riding out in front of her.  Anne doesn’t want to tell her parents about this as there agreement to keep Fame is still fragile. She decides she need to get back all her memories and revisits the site of the accident to see if it helps. Renata spots her and follows her. A low flying crop duster startles Anne, she panics and pulls on the reins, she realises this is what caused the accident last time, she pulls herself together and Fame manages to jump a wall close to the motorway. Renata who had seen this, was about to help as she didn’t want Anne to come to any real harm, but as Anne handled Fame without her helps she realises she doesn’t have any  evidence that Anne shouldn’t have Fame.

Anne happy that her memory is restored and Fame’s name cleared, enters into a show jumping competition with her parents support. It comes down to her and Renata, and Renata makes a fault in the last round. Anne goes over offers condolences, saying it was bad luck, but Renata surprisingly admits it was bad riding, taking a jump too quick because of jealousy. They agree to be friendly rivals in the future.

Thoughts

With the story cover and title, this is not what expected with this story. In fact throughout the story there seems to be a lot of plots set up that would have gone differently in another story, plots are resolved quite quickly, (who is the amnesic girl, riding in secret, antagonistic rival) but still worked for me, perhaps as it goes against tropes. Other stories like Mandy Picture Story Library The Secret…, the horse riding in secret would have taken a bigger part of the story, but here as soon as Anne knows who Fame is, she goes to her parents. It must be said the Wests initial actions may have hampered Anne’s recovery, by trying to hide horse riding and Fame from her (how long did they think that could last!)  and if her memory hadn’t recovered were they just not going to let her ride again!  Still they are not too authoritative and forbidding. They offer to buy her a quieter pony and when the doctor tells them gentle riding with Fame may help with Anne’s recovery they agree to it, in order to help their daughter.

The story does start out quite mysterious with the opening panel of a girl unconscious on the side of road. Then all these hints of “Fame” leaves the reader questioning what it could mean, though looking at the cover they should figure out it has something to do with a horse! As for what happened on the day of the accident, there are great little details throughout that looking back point to the cause,  as we see a plane in the distance on the first panel and it the plane that interrupts Anne and Renata’s conversation. The story along at a nice pace, some plot points resolved like what is “Fame” quite quickly but it still keeps things interesting.  Renata is also different to a lot of antagonists we may see in these stories, she is a rich girl who wants Fame, she makes some sharp comments, but she doesn’t resort to dirty tricks to get Fame, the closest she comes is riding out in front of Anne, one time. She doesn’t want Anne really hurt, she only wants to prove that Anne can’t handle Fame, and when Anne proves her wrong, she is jealous, but backs off. She is even gracious enough to admit her own flaws and bad riding is at fault when she loses to Anne. I was pleasantly surprised with this story, and I’m not a big fan of horse stories but I think this was well plotted and kept my interest throughout.

 

 

The Horse on the Island

Plot

Fiona McDonald and her family moved to the island of Rath for her father’s health. Fiona was lonely and was disliked by the island children. Then she found an injured horse in the sea, she called him Neptune and decided keep him secretly on a small island that was connected to the main island, by a causeway at low tide.

Notes

  • Artist: Hugh Thornton-Jones

Appeared

  • The Horse on the Island – Tracy: #239 (28 April 1984) – #253 (4 August 1984)

Pony in Peril

Plot

When a mystery disease turned horses into savages, all the horses in the world had to be tracked down and destroyed. Many years later (in the  21st century) Willa James had found a pony in welsh mountains while on holidays. She befriended the pony she named Max and ran off with him when people thought he was dangerous.

Notes

Appeared

  • Pony in Peril – Debbie: #325 (5 May 1979) – #332 (23 June 1979)

A Pony for Laura

Plot

Laura Walsh, a young schoolgirl, was left a pony, Misty, by on old woman whom she had befriended and she also inherited a field and cottage. Even with the inheritance Laura still needed money to pay for Misty’s keep and a gymkhana was Laura’s only hope of winning money. Unfortunately Laura had a rival in the wealthy and jealous, Alison Swayle, whose father wanted Laura’s site for a building.

Notes

Appeared

  • A Pony for Laura – Debbie: #303 (2 December 1978) – #309 (13 January 1979)

A Horse for Hilda

Plot

Hilda Newman had discovered a love of horse riding, which her mother strongly objected to, because Hilda was blind and she was afraid she would get hurt. People were also against Hilda’s horse, Buccaneer, who worked well with Hilda but was good tempered around others due to mistreatment in the past.

horse for hilda

Notes

  • Text story

Appeared

  • A Horse for Hilda – #86 (05 October 1974) -#97 (21 December 1974)

Honey

Plot

As a result of a bad illness as a child Gail Newington had grown up spoilt and selfish. Then her welsh grandfather came to live with the family and bought Gail a very unusual pony called Honey. Honey’s actions seem to make Gail a better person.

Notes

  • Photo Story

Appeared

  • Honey – Suzy: #01(11 September 1982) – #07 (23 October 1982)

Dangerous Days for…Diana Evans

Plot

Diana Evans has been tricked into going to the small country of Lituanna with her pony, Bronwen, bought by King Remo, who wants Diane to teach his daughter, Zahra, to ride. Diana discovers that the people of Lituanna live in fear of their High Priest, whose temple she accidentally comes upon. Puzzled as to why she has been brought to Lituanna. Diana asks the crippled King Remo for an explanation.

dangerous days for dian evans

Notes

  • Text story

Appeared

  • Dangerous Days for…Diana Evans – Judy:  circa #144 (13 October 1962) – #152?