The pony show by Kate Welshman
Ill. by Heath Mackenzie. Pine Valley Ponies series; bk 3.
Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743624326
(Age: 7+) Horse-riding. Gymkhanas. Friendship. Overcoming challenges. Maddy is back with her pony Snowy and they are having fun getting ready for the local gymkhana. She is rather apprehensive about it and is doing her best to get the skills that she needs to show off her pony in his best light and as her mother says, to have fun while she is doing it.
Readers who are fascinated by horses will find much to interest them in this chapter book. There are lots of tips about riding and the events in a gymkhana are described as an integral part of the story, as well as in a glossary at the back of the book and the big message of the story is that there are 'different horses for different courses' as Maddy and her friends work out what competitions they and their horses are best suited for.
Friendship plays another important role in the story and this time Maddy finds that Alita is not as stuck up as she thought. In fact she is very helpful and teaches Maddy how to plait Snowy's mane and give him rosettes and a perfectly groomed tail. Of course Snowy is not a pony who likes looking perfect - he prefers to roll in the mud! Heath Mackenzie's illustrations have captured his personality and appearance in a very humourous way that adds to the appeal of the book.
This series is a perfect choice for a newly independent reader who likes horses. Although the third book about Maddy and Snowy it was very easy to pick up the story and characters without having read the earlier books, and this is a bonus for children who want books about horse riding.