Sunday, 30 December 2007

Review: JOSEPHINE - Pony Club Challenge

Pony Club Challenge is the next book in the Woodbury Pony club series.

It was first published in 1984, but the picture to the right shows the Dean compilation which was first published in 1994.

The blurb for this book reads:-

"We've been given a challenge," instructor David Lumley announced to the Woodbury Pony Club. "To take on the Cranford Vale in a tetrathlon - swimming, shooting, running and cross-country riding. Who wants to start training?" James, Alice, Harry and the other members can't wait to compete against the brilliant Cranford Vale team. But will they be able to get themselves and their ponies into shape in only three weeks?

As for illustrations, there is a quick map on the first page. This map is not credited and there are no more further illustrations.

The book differs a little from the previous book: Jennifer Blacker on Sea King has now left the Pony Club, and there is a new boy called Sebastion Fuller (referred to as Seb) with a pony called Jigsaw (a name all 3 sisters chose to use). Sarah, has an additional new pony; Bowie and as she already had a pony called Chess, that means Tina is mounted for the majority of this book.

Anyway, this is a good follow up to the previous book. Again, like Pony Club Cup, there is full of useful information and titbits about schooling weaved into the story. But as they are competing in the Tetrathlon, it also gives (to a certain extent) information about how much rider fitness is equally as important as horse fitness.

The book is full of thrills and spills, not just horse wise, but when there is a nasty incident with the guns used for the tetrathlon, which annoys the local stud owner immensely. But when the members help him, he soon changes his mind. A lot of it is dealt with fund raising: the only bit that dates it slightly is when it says "Everyone felt much more cheerful at the sight of pound notes", as in the UK, we don't use pound notes any more (they were withdrawn from circulation in 1988).

But to some extent this is more adventurous than the previous one and the one thing that shines through is teamwork. Teamwork in order to make themselves a decent team for the Tetrathlon, teamwork for the actual fund raising and teamwork for helping the local stud owner. Seb makes an good and interesting character, and is more predominant and all round good character than Jennifer Blacker.


haffyfan said...

I love this one! It was the first one in this series I read and I had it on constant renewal from the library until my mum bought it me along with cup and trek.

For me it's just about as perfect as a pony book can get!

Fiona said...

I wish I'd read this as a teenager as I did just what Tina did and tied a pony to a door! It bolted taking the door with it and was slightly injured. Once done, never again; my dad had to pay for the replacement of the door, which didn't go down well.

Kate said...

This was the first one in this series that I read and I loved it. Haven't managed to get my hands on Pony Club Trek yet but the other two books in the Woodbury series are some of my favourites.