Patricia Leitch

A favourite of author of many readers, Patricia Leitch was born on July 13th 1933 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. She obtained a teaching diploma in 1967, although did not work as a teacher for very long.

Her love of horses began when a friend persuaded her to go on a trekking holiday, and she soon began writing about them too. She has had many different jobs including library assistant, working at a riding school, a bookshop assistant, a primary school teacher and a typist. but it seems clear that since beginning to pen books in the 1960s, that writing is her metier!

She has interests in psychology, Eastern cultures and vegetarianism, and has admitted that she has a "vivid imagination."  These interests are reflected in some of her novels and characters. Unusually for pony stories, many of her books contain mystical themes, with elements of Celtic and other folklore being seen in books such as the Jinny series, The Black Loch and the non-pony fantasy Treasure To The East.

Her Scottish roots can also be seen in her writing, as many of her books are set in Scotland.

Her most popular series by far is the Jinny series set in the Highlands of Scotland, although unusually the series provokes a mixed reaction in readers and can almost be dubbed the 'marmite of the pony book world' with most readers seeming to either love or hate the series. I must admit I am in the former camp, and - as our poll showed - this is the view share by most. The

Although best known for Jinny, Patricia Leitch has written many other pony books, with one other series and a number of stand-alones, as well as two non-pony novels.

Ms Leitch's early books were  for some reason also published under the name of Jane Eliot

(Source: Contemporary Authors.)

Kestrels Series (USA - Horseshoe series)
Series aimed at a slightly younger audience than the Jinny series. Although not as outstanding as that series they are excellent stories with a slight mystical element running through.

PONYMAD SERIES RATING: 3 - 4 HORSESHOES

1) THE SPECIAL PONY
aka THE PERFECT HORSE (USA edition)
(COLLINS LIONS PB 1992)
LLUSTRATED BY ESME LENNOX
Paperback original
Reprinted in the USA under different title.
EDITIONS PICTURED: UK edition, USA edition
SUMMARY: Sally and the rest of the Lorimer family are overjoyed when they move to Kestrels, the house of their dreams. Sally meets Thalia, who is to become her best friend and has a pony called Tarquin. Sally longs for a pony too and when she sees a grey mare in a horsebox she falls in love with her. But can she save the mare from an awful fate?

2) A PONY TO JUMP
aka JUMPING LESSONS (USA edition)
(COLLINS LIONS PB 1992)
LLUSTRATED BY ESME LENNOX
Paperback original
Reprinted in the USA under different title.
EDITIONS PICTURED: UK edition, USA edition
SUMMARY: Sally loves her pony Willow and wants to jump her. But Sally is hopeless and lacks confidence. Will she ever be able to jump?

3) CROSS COUNTRY GALLOP
(COLLINS LIONS PB 1992)
LLUSTRATED BY ESME LENNOX
Paperback original
Reprinted in the USA.
EDITIONS PICTURED: UK edition, USA edition
SUMMARY: Sally has entered the cross country pairs competition with Thalia and Tarquin. But her old nervousness has returned. Will she let her partner down?

4) PONY CLUB RIDER
(COLLINS LIONS PB 1993)
LLUSTRATED BY ESME LENNOX
Paperback original
Reprinted in the USA
EDITIONS PICTURED: UK edition, USA edition
SUMMARY: Sally's nervousness of jumping may hinder her chances of being in the Pony Club one-day-event team. This and the worry of an abandoned dog, are both on her mind.

5) THE STOLEN PONY
aka SHOW JUMPER WANTED (USA edition)
(COLLINS LIONS PB 1995)
LLUSTRATED BY ESME LENNOX
Paperback original
Reprinted in the USA under different title.
EDITIONS PICTURED: UK edition, USA edition
SUMMARY: Sally's estranged father turns up out of the blue and causes all sorts of trouble. Thalia is devastated when he sells her beloved Tarquin. But while she is in hospital after a fall, it is up to Sally to find her best friend's pony before it is too late.

6) PONY PUZZLE
aka THE MYSTERY HORSE (USA edition)
(COLLINS LIONS PB 1995)
LLUSTRATED BY ESME LENNOX
Paperback original
Reprinted in the USA under different title.
EDITIONS PICTURED: UK edition, USA edition
SUMMARY: The girls discover a mysterious abandoned pony and determine to rescue her.

Other Editions:

PONY STORIES:
(COLLINS PB 1996)
Not published in the USA.
SUMMARY: 3 in 1 omnibus containing the first 3 books in the series.

Collectors Info:
Reasonably easy to find on internet bookshops in both the UK and USA. First editions were paperbacks. I haven't seen any hardback editions. You will notice that four of the series have been re-named for the American market so watch out you don't buy duplicates of the same book! The omnibus edition containing the first 3 in series is easy to find and cheap in the UK. As far as I know this edition was not reprinted in the USA and there was not a similar omnibus edition of the last 3 books produced.

Other Horse & Pony Books:

A PONY OF OUR OWN
BLACKIE  1960)
ILLUSTRATED BY CONSTANCE MARSHALL
Reprinted in hardback by Blackie.
Reprinted by Knight paperbacks twice, once with an illustrated cover, later with a photo cover.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition. Blackie edition, Knight paperbacks.
SUMMARY: Jean and Stuart, a horse-mad brother and sister, work hard to save up to buy a pony of their own. Their dream pony turns out to be Kirsty, a lovely black Highland mare. A gentle pony story set in Scotland.
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

TO SAVE A PONY
(HUTCHINSON 1960)
ILLUSTRATED BY SHEILA ROSE
As far as I know not reprinted at all.
EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition.
SUMMARY: A girl must overcome her fear of jumping in order to save a pony's life.
PONYMAD RATING: 4 HORSESHOES

JANET YOUNG RIDER
aka A HORSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Armada paperback)
aka
LAST SUMMER TO RIDE (USA edition)
(CONSTABLE 1963)
Reprinted in paperback by Armada with new title.
Published in the USA by Funk & Wagnalls in 1963 with another title change.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, Armada paperback, USA edition
SUMMARY: It is Janet's last summer riding and working at the local stables. At the end of it she must get a job and say goodbye to horses. But when her boss has an accident she gets to ride his top notch horse in competitions.
PONYMAD RATING: 5 HORSESHOES

THE BLACK LOCH
aka THE HORSE FROM THE BLACK LOCH (Paperback edition)
(COLLINS 1963)
ILLUSTRATED BY JANET DUSCHESNE
Reprinted in hardback by the Children's Book Club
Reprinted in paperback by Armada in the 1970s with new title.
Published in the USA by Funk & Wagnalls in 1968.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, Book Club edition, paperback, USA edition.
SUMMARY: A superb supernatural story set in Scotland . Kay and her cousins Sara and Edgar travel to the highlands of Scotland to stay with their Uncle Vincent at the ancestral family home of Deersmalen. Once there, Kay finds out the secret of a very special horse. But others want to capture the horse for their own ends.
PONYMAD RATING: 5 HORSESHOES
Read Review

A ROSETTE FOR ROYAL
(BLACKIE 1963)
ILLUSTRATED BY ANNE LINTON
Not reprinted as far as I am aware.
Fairly rare.
EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition
SUMMARY: To make up for her having to stay at her Uncle's for a year while he is away, Cassandra's father buys her Royal Flame, a beautiful pony. But when Royal is frightened and bolts one day her Uncle Richard sends the horse back, thinking she is dangerous. Cassandra and Joddy set out to find Royal and prove to Uncle Richard that she is not the bad horse he thinks her.
PONYMAD RATING: 2 HORSESHOES

RIDING COURSE SUMMER
(COLLINS 1963)
Reprinted by the Childrens Press in hardback with pictorial boards.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, Childrens Press edition.
SUMMARY: Ann and Angy are in despair over their hopeless riding. Along with some other local children, they set up a group whose aims are to improve their riding over the summer. But all does not go smoothly...
PONYMAD RATING: 4 HORSESHOES

HIGHLAND PONY TREK
(COLLINS 1964)
Reprinted by Collins in hardback as part of the Collins Seagull Library.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition
SUMMARY: Set in the highlands of Scotland. A family try to make ends meet by setting up a trekking centre.
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

CROSS COUNTRY PONY
(BLACKIE 1965)
Reprinted in paperback by Knight in the 1970s
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, paperback edition.
SUMMARY: A family set up an animal boarding centre, hoping to get ponies to ride! They get more than they bargained for in all respects!
PONYMAD  RATING: 4 HORSESHOES

PONY CLUB CAMP
Published under name of Jane Eliot
(COLLINS SPITFIRE PB 1967)
First edition was a small paperback.
As far as I know not reprinted at all.
Fairly rare.
EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition.
SUMMARY: A group of children are disappointed in their hopeless local Pony Club and envious of  nearby Bishopcotte Pony Club who are always having exciting competitions and rallies. But how can their riding improve with only useless old Miss Smithers to teach them? Sympathetic to their moans, a local horsy doctor arranges for a Pony Club camp to be held on his land with a new young instructor. The children are soon having all sorts of adventures, and those amongst them who are less than perfect are given the chance to redeem themselves in various ways. Will they take that chance and prove themselves and can they possibly beat the Bishopcotte team in the end of camp gymkhana?
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

FIRST PONY
Originally published under name of Jane Eliot
(COLLINS SPITFIRE PB 1967)
First edition was a small paperback.
Reprinted in hardback under the name of Patricia Leitch as part of the
Collins pony Library series (number 14 )
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, Collins Pony Library edition.
SUMMARY: When Sandy moves to the country she is overjoyed when her father promises to buy her a pony. She has the choice of two lovely well-bred animals but somehow she feels neither one is For her. Then she meets Karen who takes her to see Tarka, a half-starved and neglected pony with a cruel owner. Although in a bad state, Tarka somehow appeals to Sandy and she persuades her father to buy her. But will she ever recover from her ordeal and show the snooty Russell-Verne family that she is not a useless bag of bones?
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES
Read Review

AFRAID TO RIDE
Originally published under name of Jane Eliot
(COLLINS SPITFIRE PB 1967)
First edition was a small paperback.
Reprinted in hardback in the 1970s as part of the Collins Pony Library series(number 20)
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, Collins Pony Library edition.
SUMMARY: A story about a girl losing her nerve after a bad fall. Can she regain her love of riding?
PONYMAD RATING: 4 HORSESHOES

JACKY JUMPS TO THE TOP
aka JUMP TO THE TOP (Paperback edition)
Originally published under name of Jane Eliot
(COLLINS SPITFIRE PB 1967)
First edition was a small paperback.
Reprinted in hardback in the 1970s as part of the Collins Pony Library series (number 15) under name of Patricia Leitch.
Re-titled and reprinted in paperback by Armada under Leitch name.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, Collins Pony Library edition, paperback.
SUMMARY: A classic pony story about a  girl trying to train her cantankerous pony to become a top show jumper.
PONYMAD RATING: 4 HORSESHOES
Read /join in with a discussion of the book by our reading circle

REBEL PONY
(COLLINS 1973)
Published as part of the Collins Pony Library (number 19)
As far as I know was not reprinted.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition
SUMMARY: Kandy spends her time schooling horses for her dealer father, but never has one of her own. When the pair are at a horse sale she spots a beautiful but uncontrollable part Arab and falls in love with him, but her father won't let her have him. Then she finds out that a new boy to the area, Jack, bought the pony to save him from slaughter. He hasn't got a clue how to handle him and begs Kandy to help. Can the pair re-train Falcon, the rebel pony - and will Kandy ever have her own dream pony?

DREAM OF FAIR HORSES
aka THE FIELDS OF PRAISE (USA edition)
(COLLINS 1975)
Reprinted in paperback by Armada.
Published in the USA by Lippincott in 1978 with different title.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, paperback edition.
SUMMARY: Fantastic pony story about the bond between a girl and a horse.
PONYMAD RATING: GOLD CUP FOR AN OUTSTANDING READ
Read Review
Read /join in with a discussion of the book by our reading circle

PONY SURPRISE
(COLLINS 1975)
Published as part of the Collins Pony Library (number 30)
As far as I know not reprinted.
Fairly rare.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition.
SUMMARY: Humourous novel about a cantankerous pony named Augustus whom Penny and Ewan are allowed to ride. But is he really as useless as he seems?
PONYMAD  RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

Collectors Info:
The majority of these are reasonably easy to get hold of in the UK, although there are a few exceptions. A Rosette For Royal, Pony Surprise and Pony Club Camp are the rarest ones. The three titles which have American editions can be found fairly easily in the USA, the others can be a bit harder to get hold of there.

Short Stories in Other Books & Collections:

MIDNIGHT STALLION
in PONY TALES (Edited by Julia Goodwin)
(PONY MAGAZINE/D. J. MURPHY PB 2004)
ILLUSTRATED BY CLAIRE COLVIN
For more info on the books other stories please visit the UK Short Stories section of the website.
SUMMARY OF STORY: Kate longs for a life working with horses but fears she may be stuck forever on her parent's remote farm. Then she finds out her father has a shady past in the world of racing. When this past catches up with him again it brings something wonderful into Kate's life.
PONYMAD RATING: 4 HORSESHOES

Collectors Info:
Paperback original. Although not common can be picked up fairly easily and cheaply from internet book shops.