Nancy Caffrey

American author who mainly wrote pony stories for the younger reader.
She was born in Connecticut. She learned to ride at an early age and was instructing by the age of 15. She was particularly good at teaching shy or fearful children, helping build up their confidence by telling them horse stories. Later of course she was to write her stories down and eventually get them published! It is interesting to note that the characters of many of her books are also children who are lacking in confidence or sensitive. As well as instructing and writing, she also rode professionally in shows and was a reporter for an equine newspaper.

Many of her books are beautifully illustrated by her childhood friend Jeanne Mellin in a real-life version of the partnership of Alison and Tamsin in Joanna Cannan's
I Wrote a Pony Book! Notable artist Paul Brown also illustrated some of the other books, making them collectable for the illustrations as well as the stories.

Unfortunately many of the books have now become quite rare and some can be expensive, so she is not an easy author to collect.

Jay and Jan Series:

1) SOMEBODY'S PONY
aka LOST PONY (Paperback edition)
(DUTTON 1951)
ILLUSTRATED BY JEANNE MELLIN
Reprinted in paperback by Scholastic as LOST PONY. This edition is the only one of the author's books which is easy to find.
SUMMARY: A pair of twins train an apparently ownerless pony, but when they ride it in a show the real owner appears. Will they lose their beloved pony?

2) SHOW PONY
(DUTTON 1954)
ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL BROWN
Rare.
SUMMARY: Jay and Jan are given a neglected filly called Coquette to look after, restore to good health and train. Can they overcome all her problems and win a rosette with her at the horse-show?

3) HORSE HAVEN
(DUTTON 1955)
ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL BROWN
Rare.


Collectors Info:
Mainly hard to find books, even in their native America. The only one that is easy to find is the paperback edition of Somebody's Pony (entitled The Lost Pony), although even that is quite hard to get in the UK.

Other Pony Books:

PENNY'S WORTH
(DUTTON 1952)
ILLUSTRATED BY JEANNE MELLIN
Very rare.
SUMMARY: Charming story of a riding school pony who longs for an real owner. Her dream comes true when she becomes the mount of an insecure boy, and he regains his confidence with the help of the mare.

MIG O'THE MOOR
(DUTTON 1953)
ILLUSTRATED BY JEANNE MELLIN
Rare.
SUMMARY: Racing story with a fantasy element, set partly in Ireland. Irish horse dealer Shawn Flynn returns to his homeland to look for horses to sell in America. He sees the mysterious stallion Mig galloping in the mist and determines to have the animal. Mig ends up in a racing stable in America, but what is his secret and can he help Danny O'Hara win the respect of his father? Set at an older readership than the other books.
PONYMAD RATING: 5 HORSESHOES
Read review

HANOVER'S WISHING STAR
(DUTTON 1956)
ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
SUMMARY: Account of a young girl and her pony illustrated with photos. A sort of amalgamation of fiction and non-fic.

PONY DUET
(DUTTON 1957)
(UK 1st edition DENT 1959)
ILLUSTRATED BY RONNIE MUTCH
SUMMARY: Cathy loves horses but has lost her nerve due to a fall. Can the skewbald pony Duet that her Aunt gives her help Cathy regain her confidence?


SCENE FROM THE SADDLE
(DUTTON 1958)
ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
SUMMARY: A rider's perspective of the world of showing, as a young boy enters his pony for a show. Similar in style to Hanover's Wishing Star in that it is party fact, partly fiction.

Colllectors Info:
These range from rare to extremely rare, even in the USA, and many are very expensive. Not an easy author to collect!