Forbidden to Ride [1980]

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


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.


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.



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