While it is certainly a generalisation to say that little girls love to read pony books, it certainly is true to some extent. You only need to take a look at the number of pony stories available in libraries, bookstores and online to understand that there must be some demand!
Pony stories play on a fantasy – the dream of owning a pony. This a dream that most little girls never realise, either due to cost or waning interest as they grow up. However, these stories go some way towards satisfying these fantasies, as they allow to children to submerge themselves in Ponyland, spending hours in the stables, at gymkhanas and galloping through the bush with their favourite characters.
Typical pony stories include series such as The Saddle Club, Thoroughbred, Pony Pals, The Pony Detectives, Horse Crazy – the list goes on. These stories tend to involves young girls and their horses, typically catering to the fantasy of owning a pony.
There are some notable pony stories that go beyond merely entertaining children – and many of these stories are certified literary classics. These include The Silver Brumby series (Elaine Mitchell), Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) and The Black Stallion series (Walter Farley). The Silver Brumby is an Australian classic, with a TV series and movie to boot. While the series is essentially a horse story, Mitchell’s uncanny ability to capture the essence of the Australian high country has cemented these books as true classics.
The Black Stallion is a pony story with a difference, as the audience for this series extended far beyond little girls – teenage boys joined in on the action here. The series was a pony story combined with an action plot, complete with sinking boats, deserts islands, bad guys and heart-stopping races. This book was also made into a brilliant movie.
Lastly, Black Beauty can be considered a true literary classic. This book, initially written to raise attention in regards to the plight of carriage horses in the 17th century, details the life of a horse on the streets of London – and is an all-time best-selling book. Stories such as National Velvet and My Friend Flicka also have these place in literary history, as both have proven to be very popular with children of all ages.
There are many pony stories out there for the horse-mad youngster. However, there are many that go beyond simply being ‘stories for little girls’ – many horses stories have earned their place on the list of all time classics.