This is a brand new trilogy of stories about a boy called Joe who moves from Birmingham to a smallholding in the country because his dad has a new job as headmaster of the local primary school.
Joe, who’d been very happy in the city, hates the countryside at first. But then he finds an old horseshoe buried in a field, and his life begins to change…
Several boys who are keen on riding have asked me why there are so few horse and pony books with boys as the lead characters nowadays, so I hope these stories will help to redress the balance. While writing them I had to do quite a lot of research into farriery, horseshoes, the rehabilitation of lame horses, Romanies, aikido, heavy horses and Pony Club mounted games. Fascinating.
Lightning in the trilogy is a mare, not a gelding, but I was thinking of Danny when I was writing about her.
Oh, and in case any girls reading this think the Horseshoe Trilogy is for boys, the good news is it’s for everyone!
There are plenty of horses in Joe’s life, and many of them were inspired by real ones I have known, from a thoroughbred racehorse called Chocolate Buttons to a couple of spotted Dartmoor hill ponies called Bubbble and Squeak.
For many years we had a particularly wonderful Shirehorse called Sherman, so I particularly wanted to have a Shire called Sherman in Joe and the Race to Rescue. Originally he was going to be black, like the real Sherman, but that would have made the book cover too dark, so I had to make him grey!
(published May 2nd 2013)
Joe sat on his bed with the arc of rusty metal balanced in his hands . . . If horseshoes really were lucky, surely everyone would carry them around and nobody would have bad luck. No, it was just superstitious nonsense. And yet – it was daft, of course, but he couldn’t help wondering…
There are lots of things Joe would wish if he had the chance – that his family hadn’t moved house, that his mum hadn’t bought two ponies no one could ride, and that one day he might have a dog of his own. So when he finds a lucky horseshoe in his garden, he makes some wishes just for fun. After all, there’s always a chance they might come true.
(published July 4th 2013)
At the word go, Lightning leapt forward like a racehorse let out of a starting stall. It was all Joe could do to hang on as she galloped in and out of the poles . . .
Joe is delighted that his pony, Lightning, is brilliant at mounted games. The two of them make a great pair and Joe can’t wait for them to try out for the Prince Philip Cup team. There’s just one problem – Lightning seems quite small now that Joe is growing so fast. What will he do when he’s too big to ride her? And what will happen to Lightning if she’s sold?
(Published March 6th 2014)
The Shires – at least Joe guessed that was what they were – came so close that the air trembled as they passed by, their harness clinking like armour . . .
Thanks to his wonderful pony, Lightning, Joe has already become a key member of his Pony Club mounted games team. But fresh challenges await him with his new mare, Fortune, and when he meets two majestic Shire horses called Velvet and Sherman he becomes fascinated by the very different world of heavy horses. Joe soon discovers how awesome Shires can be when a flood threatens the animals at The Hidden Horseshoe Sanctuary and he needs some serious horsepower to rescue them.
Our farrier, Josh, made a Shirehorse shoe that would fit Sherman for the Horseshoe Trilogy. You can watch edited highlights here.