Little Girls & Pony Stories

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.

9780545213219There 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.

The Stallion Figure in Wild Horse Literature

There have been many novels written about wild horses throughout history, in particular the Australian brumby and the American mustang. These books generally focus on the romance associated with wild horses – and nearly always have a central ‘hero’ character. Interestingly, this hero character is nearly always a stallion.

silverbrumbIn books such as The Silver Brumby (Elaine Mitchell), the stallion is the central character, hero and leader of the herd. The majestic silver stallion, Thowra, battles other stallions, Mother Nature and the threat of man, rising triumphant against all three in order to remain free and protect his herd. In American tales, such The Black Stallion (Walter Farley), it is also the stallion who appears as the hero.

However, just how realistic is this representation of a wild stallion? Are they always leaders and heroes?

The fact is, wild horse herds that roam the plains of Montana or the slopes of Mt Kosciusko are not led by brave, majestic stallions – they are led by alpha mares. Stallions may fight other stallions in order to gain mating rights with mares, but they do not lay down the law within a herd. The alpha mare decides in which direction the herd travel, when to seek water and how young stock should be disciplined. It is the mare that is the true leader of a herd.

This being the case, why does most literature present the stallion as the hero and leader? At the end of the day, it all comes down to the human perception of horses. There is a romantic notion attached to the image of a wild stallion – and part of this is surely to do with the fact the human society has, in many cases, been patriarchal throughout history.

Visually, stallions also very pleasing to the human eye. They tend to be well-muscled, with a crested neck and deeper, richer coloured coat. You only need to look at any horse breeds book, and you will see that a picture of a stallion is often used to exemplify each breed.

When it comes to wild horse fiction, the stallion figure is easy to fall in love with – however, it is far from the truth. Perhaps one day we will see a story where a mare leads the herd to safety, drives off heckling colts and escapes the clutches of man to remain free at all costs. For now, the stallion continues to buck reality in literature.

5 Great Fantasy Novels to Indulge In

Fantasy readers often cop a lot of flak for their taste in literature. Many people think that these books aren’t serious enough for the dedicated reader and should be left for the long distance traveling, or basement dwelling teens who dream of invented realms. However a bit of escapism can be a really beneficial and fun thing for all ages and people, which is why we have put together a list of exceptional fantasy novels for you to sink your teeth into. So sit back dear reader and let us transport you to 5 different worlds which offer a richness and fullness of adventure that simply can’t be found in the human world.

Lord of the Rings

Known around the world and one of the most successful movie franchises of all times, this JRR Tolkien classic has been a staple on many fantasy lovers’ bookcases for year. Not only is it considered by many to be the father of the genre, the richness of the wold that Tolkien created is to this day one of the most extensive.

Game of Thrones

A popular TV series, this great fantasy series has a dedicated worldwide fan base who have thoroughly been sucked into this addictive realm. With a huge number of interwoven storylines and immersive characters you will be swept up in the expressiveness and clarity with which George R.R. Martin creates his world.

Daughter of the Empire

An instant classic of the genre Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts have created one of the most inspiring and all-round stunning fantasy novels of all time with this series. The strong female protagonist sets it apart as one of the few fantasy novels with a women’s perspective being central to the story.

Harry Potter

While many adults might dismiss this series as simply being for children, it is truly one of the most popular books of all time for a reason. J. K. Rowling with has created one of the most compelling works in the genre with her delicate and deftly handled portrayal of adolescence and growing up that not only resonates with young adults but proper grownups as well.

Gardens of the Moon

Not since Lord of the Rings has a fantasy novel been so thoroughly revolutionary and completed changed the landscape of the genre. Steven Erikson has created one of the largest epics of all time with this narrative that spans the ages and combines eloquent prose with a gritty realism. You will get sucked into this series and never want to come up for air.