I came across this stunning pony while hiking in Dartmoor National Park in Devon. Most of the wild ponies there are skittish (or demanding food), but he came right over to me and let me stroke him and gaze into his amazing blue eyes.
Recently, I discovered a wonderful new website called Fear-Free Horse Training. Whether you have your own horse or ride at a school, there are plenty of tips to help you heal or create a better bond with horses. As Neil Davies says, ‘Horse training is about building confidence one step at a time. It’s not about confrontation or respect or being the boss or winning fights.’
My Pet of the Month is Benjamin, one of 300 or so of the wallabies and kangaroos at Nina’s Ark, an extraordinary sanctuary near Litchfield National Park in Australia’s ‘Top End.’ I went there to research my fifth Laura Marlin mystery, The Secret of Supernatural Creek.
Incredibly, there are people in this world who think it’s cute to keep joeys in city apartments. Baby kangaroos become big, bouncy adults and then the trouble starts. Nina rescues orphaned and injured marsupials and birds, rehabilitates them and returns them to the wild. She knows the names of every one. To support her incredible work, visit Nina’s webpage.
If you’d like your pet to be Pet of the Month, send a photo and tell me why I should choose them…
Winter Magic, a collection of snowy short stories curated by Abi Ephinstone will be published by Simon & Schuster in November 2016. It features tales on huskies, dragons, circuses and snow queens by award-winning authors such as Piers Torday, Katherine Woodfine and Michelle Harrison. And me
My story is called The Room with the Mountain View. When Lexie breaks her leg in the first hour of the school skiing trip to the French Alps, she’s overjoyed, imagining that she can spend a peaceful week in her hotel room reading novels. But when a famous circus star disappears and Lexie is the only witness, she finds herself caught up in a real-life mystery that may prove deadly.
Growing up, I adored adventure and mystery novels but my favourites were For Love of a Horse by Patricia Leitch and The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. Then, about a decade ago, I read Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. That immediately became my favourite children’s book ever. Despite the many wonderful novels I’ve read since, nothing has replaced it in my affections. Now Pan Macmillan has published a beautiful 15th anniversary edition. I’m honoured to have written the foreword. If you’ve never read the story of Maia’s Amazon adventure, I highly recommend it. It’s unforgettable.
To win a copy, sign up to my newsletter…
‘Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.’
‘It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.’
‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’
(Sweetpea, the kudu, tucks into carrot cake at Wild is Life sanctuary in Harare, Zimbabwe)