Mulberry

Published by Oxford University Press, July 2013

The first in a new series!

This looks sweet doesn’t it? A cute little girl, a pretty black pony – I bet you are thinking this is going to be another adorable tale about a girl and her perfect pony, every mother’s dream. Erm, well – no. I keep ponies so I have first hand experience of them. They are NOTHING like the books.  They either move too fast, won’t move at all or will not allow themselves to be caught in the first place.

So why write a pony book? My seven year old daughter was lent a lovely little black pony called Brie. She was lent her because nobody else wanted Brie. Her nickname was Walking Evil. She bit, kicked, launched herself in full attack mode at every other animal, went completely bonkers with excitement in competitions or when faced with a jump (oblivious to the terrified child on her back), sulked, had ferocious mood swings and was generally  foul tempered. Yet although she was probably the worst pony ever, she made us laugh every day and she can never be replaced. Because she was also big hearted, loyal, intelligent and very, very brave.  There will never be another Brie for us.

She was the moon and stars for my daughter and she didn’t care that Brie was old and bad tempered, almost toothless and had so many ailments she rattled when she walked with all the pills inside her. To her, Brie was the most beautiful, the most talented, the most loving and the most amazing pony in the world. I think somehow Brie sensed that and she couldn’t help loving a child that saw the very best in her. Writing Mulberry not only immortalised that wonderful relationship but it let my daughter hear Brie speak back to her. Also, the imperfect ponies are the funniest and if you ever decide to take up riding, you’d better develop a sense of humour.

And if you do take up riding, look out for Shetlands. They are terrifying!