Samantha Alexander

British author of four different series of pony books , two aimed at teens and the other two at slightly younger readers. Her books are light and lively in style and many explore issues which will appeal in particular to teenagers, but at the same time retain a feel of the traditional pony novel.

But don't be put off if your teenage days are far behind you as the humour and writing style makes them accessible to adults too if you can get over some of the more cringingly 'teenage' moments! (Boy trouble features in a lot of the books.) Most of the older people who have read them have enjoyed them - myself included!

Surprisingly, I can't find much about the author herself. The short biog from the books is as follows:

"Samantha Alexander lives in Lincolnshire with her son, husband and a variety of animals including a thoroughbred horse called Bunny and a goose called Bertie. Her schedule is almost as busy and exciting as her plots - she writes a number of columns for newspapers and magazines, is an agony aunt for teenagers on BBC Radio Leeds and in her spare time regularly competes in dressage and showjumping events." (2002)

Hollywell Stables Series
Modern series set in a horse rescue centre. A good blend of humour and horse welfare related issues with a little bit of adventure thrown in for good measure.

PONYMAD SERIES RATING: 3 - 4 HORSESHOES

1) FLYING START
(MACMILLAN PB 1995)
Reprinted in paperback
SUMMARY: Mel, Ross and Katie, along with their stepmother Sarah have started a rest home/rescue centre for horses. But they need to raise more money if the centre can continue.

2) THE GAMBLE
(MACMILLAN 1995)
Reprinted in paperback
SUMMARY: The Hollywell team are helped by Rocky, a famous pop star.

3) REVENGE
aka THE CHASE
(MACMILLAN 1995)
Reprinted in paperback
SUMMARY: One of the ponies goes missing. Is it an act of revenge? The children determine to get to the bottom of it.

4) FAME
(MACMILLAN 1995)
SUMMARY: With the help of their pop star friend Rocky the centre has become famous.

5) THE MISSION
(MACMILLAN 1995)
SUMMARY: The children get mixed up in more trouble and end up in a horsebox heading for France!

6) TRAPPED
(MACMILLAN 1995)
SUMMARY: The children are held hostage.

7) RUNNING WILD
(MACMILLAN 1995)
SUMMARY: Can the Holywell team save a pony from a mysterious Black Beast roaming the moors?

8) SECRETS
aka DECEIT
(MACMILLAN 1995)
SUMMARY: More trouble as the Holywell gang get mixed up with a horse-drugging crime.

Other Editions:

HOLLYWELL STABLES OMNIBUS ONE
(MACMILLAN)
SUMMARY: Contains books 1 to 4 in the series

HOLLYWELL STABLES OMNIBUS TWO
(MACMILLAN)
SUMMARY: Contains books 5 to 8 in the series

Collectors Info:
The books are all paperback first editions. They were originally published in single volumes then in two omnibus editions, each containing 4 of the novels. All are fairly easy to find in UK and USA and usually cheap. Harder elsewhere.

Riders Series
Teen series about a girl who is aiming to become a top eventer at the same time as struggling with boy trouble. Excellent books for teenagers, although adults will enjoy the humourous style too.

PONYMAD SERIES RATING: 3 - 4 HORSESHOES
Review of series

1) WILL TO WIN
(MACMILLAN 1996)
SUMMARY: Alex is a teenage girl with one ambition: to become a top eventer. But her her horse Barney has other ideas. And she finds herself distracted by the gorgeous Ash who runs the yard where she keeps Barney. But it is Ash's crusty and reclusive Uncle Eric who surprisingly turns out to be the most help.

2) TEAM SPIRIT
(MACMILLAN 1996)
SUMMARY: Alex and her deadly rival Camilla have been put on the same Pony Club Team. Can they forget their differences for the sake of the team?

3) PEAK PERFORMANCE
(MACMILLAN 1997)
SUMMARY: When a champion eventer arrives to run a course at the local pony club Alex is determined to catch his eye, but this causes trouble with both Ash and her trainer Eric.

4) RISING STAR
(MACMILLAN 1997)
SUMMARY: Ash stuns Alex when he tells her he is giving up eventing and selling his horse. Can it be true?

5) IN THE FRAME
(MACMILLAN 1997)
SUMMARY: Alex finds herself distracted from riding when she gets a modelling job.

6) AGAINST THE CLOCK
(MACMILLAN 1997)
SUMMARY: When a top dressage judge asks to see Barney, Alex is over the moon as it could mean selection for a junior team. But the meeting turns into her worst nightmare when someone else claims Barney is their horse.

7) PERFECT TIMING
(MACMILLAN 1997)
SUMMARY: Alex gets mixed up with a boy who is in trouble with the police.

8) WINNING STREAK
(MACMILLAN 1997)
SUMMARY: Top showjumper Blake Kildaire comes to give lessons at the local pony club but someone is out to make trouble...

Collectors Info:
First editions of all titles are paperbacks. All are easy to find, especially the first. The series is linked to Horse and Pony Magazine who the author wrote for. I think the first book was given away free with the magazine. There was also a competition run by the mag to find the 'cover girl' for the books. Easy to find in the UK and fairly easy in the USA. Harder elsewhere however.

Winners Series
A girl sets her sights on winning the Grand National with a horse everyone else has written off. Aimed at a teen to  young adult readership. Our heroine has left school, and there is less of the 'teenage issues' as in the Riders series. As with Riders, great books for teenagers and adults alike.

1) RACING START
(MACMILLAN 2001)
SUMMARY: Justina finds it tough working in the world of racing. How will she ever achieve her ambition of wining the Grand National? Then she discovers Murphy's Law, a horse she knows has the talent to do it. When gorgeous jockey Rory begins to believe in her, it seems her life is looking up.

2) CROSSING THE LINE
(MACMILLAN 2001)
SUMMARY: When the others at her stable seem to lose faith in her, Justina begins to ride for a rich rival trainer. But is this the start of a new career or the end of her dreams?

3) BREAKING THE RULES
MACMILLAN 2002)
SUMMARY: Justina is getting closer to her dreams of becoming the first female to win the National. But someone is out to put a stop to her attempt. Can she risk Murphy in order to fulfill her ambitions?

4) RACE TO GLORY
(MACMILLAN 2002)
SUMMARY: Her dreams are just around the corner but does Justina really have what it takes to win?

Collectors Info:
First editions of all titles are paperbacks. Easy to find in the UK and USA and usually cheap. Hard to find elsewhere however.

Riding School Series
Modern series about six girls at a riding school. Each book is written from the viewpoint of a different girl, and each deals with a different horse-related problem. Very well written. Aimed at a slightly younger age group than her other series, but once again written in a style which makes it accessible to the older reader too.

1) JODIE 
(MACMILLAN 1999)
SUMMARY: Jodie is a talented rider, but after a horrific accident she is frightened to get back into the saddle. Can she ever overcome her fear?

2) EMMA 
(MACMILLAN 1999)
SUMMARY: When it appears that Emma's carelessness has put one of the ponies in danger, she must fight to prove her innocence.

3) STEPH 
(MACMILLAN 1999)
SUMMARY: When Steph is dropped from the top riding group, she is shocked and hurt. She turns her back on everything she has been taught and risks losing her pony Monty foreverů

4) KATE 
(MACMILLAN 1999)
SUMMARY: An old ghost story is causing chaos at the stables. Kate determines to solve the mystery.

5) SOPHIE 
(MACMILLAN 1999)
SUMMARY: The girls at the riding school can't believe their luck when they receive a letter from the pony magazine "In the Saddle" inviting them to take part in a photo story based around an Akel-Teke stallion at the nearby Highflyers stud.

6) RACHEL
(MACMILLAN 1999)
SUMMARY: Rachel is overjoyed when the riding school is nominated for Riding School of the Year. But joy turns to fear when she disobeys doctor's orders and puts her life in danger.

Other Editions:

Riding School 3 in 1
(MACMILLAN 2001)
Reprinted by Macmillan.
SUMMARY: Omnibus edition containing the first 3 books in the series.

Collectors Info:
First editions of all titles are paperbacks. Easy to find in the UK and USA and usually cheap. Hard to find elsewhere however.