- Mountain Pony
- Mountain Pony and the Pinto Colt
- Mountain Pony and the Rodeo Mystery
- Mountain Pony and the Elkhorn Mystery
I’ve collected these books over the years, but had never actually sat and read all four of them together. Elkhorn was a very recent acquisition, so I had actually never read it at all, and the other three hadn’t been read in years. I was pleasantly surprised at how well these stories held up from my childhood memories.
Once again, these were published as Famous Horse Stories. Larom is definitely one of my favorite authors from that collection. While his stories are still kind of outlandish, they’re great fun and the characters are drawn well. These books focus on Andy, a teenage boy who is from New York but has traveled to Wyoming to visit his uncle, who owns a ranch in the mountains.
While the main players are done well (Andy, Uncle Wes, Sally), the background characters are very background, and some of them don’t even exist – for instance, we never meet Andy’s parents – not in four books! In many ways this book is more about the setting than it is the people, and there is a real sense of time and place – the wilderness of the Rockies in the 1930’s, when things were still a bit wild west-ish.
Andy is quite the “dude” when he first arrives, and within a week he recklessly purchases a horse because the horse’s current owner is abusing it. Luckily for Andy, Sunny turns out to be an excellent purchase, and the little sorrel cowpony is as important a character as any in these stories.
While Sunny is quite intelligent, he is still a horse, and I liked the realistic feel of these stories. Andy makes plenty of mistakes throughout the tales, but he grows and matures as well, and isn’t afraid to admit it when he does something stupid. Each book covers a different summer, and by Elkhorn, Andy has actually purchased his own ranch – albeit a small, ramshackle one.
Sometimes these books got a little bit ridiculous (especially Rodeo Mystery, which spiraled a bit out of control credulity-wise), but overall they actually read well, and were just enjoyable, wholesome tales that made me yearn to buy my own ramshackle ranch in Wyoming.
While these aren’t immediate classics, they are definitely books that would be enjoyed by fellow horse-lovers, or by young’uns who love cowboys. Overall, a 4/5 for this series, and one that I’m glad to keep on the shelves.
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