A week or so ago at work I was keeping an 8 year old girl – a relation to my boss – entertained by leading her around on our little Shetland pony, Banjo.
As we were walking up and down the drive, we were discussing one of my many loves – horse books. Although only 8 years of age, this young girl was very bright and reading above her level. She also had the audacity to claim she had more horse books than me! I may just have to check out her library.
Alison Lester came up in conversation and I found this amusing as at the time I was contemplating reading The Snow Pony as my next horse book to devour.
I thought the book would be written for young readers due to this young girl enjoying another of Lester’s books. I was proven wrong.
The Snow Pony does indeed detail the love a young girl (14 or so) has for a brumby that her father catches for her while out droving but it also describes greatly the troubles encountered by a family in a time of drought that rely on cattle for their living.
The young girl ‘Dusty’ has to grow up quickly and in a time when she’s competing and winning at show jumping events, rather than focusing on the excitement of the win, the fact that she’s earned money that will keep them eating becomes more of a focus.
The Snow Pony flows over a few years, showing the desperation in the family as the drought continues.
Alison Lester does a great job of describing the work involved in running a farm, ‘breaking in’ the pony and the high plains area where the cattle are mustered. It is on one of these musters that Dusty is truly put to the test and the family that is falling apart has to reconsider what’s really important in such a tough financial time.
I really enjoyed the book – it’s a very realistic story of drought times in the Australian bush – something that rings all too true for the current season in Victoria.
Author: Alison Lester
Fiction – very factual though
In my library? Definitely. An enlightening and entertaining read that would appeal to early teens or older.
“A pony is a childhood dream, A horse is an adulthood treasure.” – Rebecca Carroll