Series: The Pony-Mad Princess: Book 13
By Diana Kimpton
Princess Ellie’s Perfect Plan
“Go on, boy,” urged Princess Ellie, as she cantered Sundance across the palace paddock. The jumping lesson was nearly over. This was her last try at the course, and she was determined to go clear.
She headed Sundance towards the first fence. The chestnut pony responded willingly and cleared the two crossed poles with space to spare.
Ellie felt a surge of excitement – she loved jumping. But she knew she mustn’t let her attention slip so she pushed away all her other thoughts and focused on the next fence: a single horizontal pole.
Sundance bounded over that just as easily and, as soon as they landed, Ellie turned him to the right and headed for the next jump. It was another single pole but this time the space underneath was filled with a piece of wood painted with bright red and yellow stripes.
Sundance snorted when he saw it, and Ellie felt him slow slightly and try to swing to the right. She pressed her legs against his sides to urge him onwards and managed to keep him going straight towards the fence. Sundance snorted again when he reached it and jumped much higher than Ellie expected.
He flew over the pole and landed so hard that he almost jolted Ellie out of the saddle. But she kept her balance and turned him left towards the last fence.
It was a double jump: two cross-pole fences set very close together. As Sundance approached the first fence, Ellie concentrated on the vital space between that one and the next. Should she try to get Sundance to cover it in two strides and risk being too far away from the second half of the double or should she let him take three and risk being too close?
She made her decision as Sundance cleared the first fence. She lined him up
to the second half and counted his strides, “One, two, three.” Then Sundance took
off and for a moment, she thought he’d cleared that fence too. But as he landed,
he clipped one of the poles with a hind foot, and it fell to the ground.
“Bad luck,” called her best friend, Kate, who was sitting in the saddle of a grey pony. “That’s exactly what Rainbow did with me.”
“Never mind,” said Meg, the palace groom, as she walked over to them. “You both did very well. Doubles are tricky. You just need a bit more practice with them.”
“Could we try jumping against the clock next time?” asked Ellie. “It looks like fun when I watch riders do that on TV.”
“It looks scary too,” said Kate. “But I’ve got to learn to do it if I’m going to ride in the Olympics one day.”
Meg laughed. “So that’s your plan, is it?” She glanced at Ellie. “And what about you? Are you heading for international competition too?”
“I’d love to,” said Ellie. Then she shook her head and sighed. “But Dad won’t let me go in for any horse shows, even local ones. He says loads of reporters would turn up to take pictures of me and spoil the show for everyone else.
And the flashes on their cameras might frighten the ponies and cause an accident.”
“I suppose he’s got a point,” said Meg. She gave Ellie a sympathetic smile and added, “Being a princess has some drawbacks.”
“Maybe I should be glad I’m not royal,” said Kate, whose grandmother was the palace cook. She reached forward and stroked the grey pony’s neck. “But there are some good bits to being a princess. And Rainbow is definitely one of them.”
“So is Sundance,” Ellie agreed with a grin. “And Starlight and Moonbeam and Shadow.” Having five ponies helped make up for the restrictions of being royal. And having Kate as her best friend made life even better.
“I think that’s enough jumping for today,” said Meg. “The ponies are getting tired.” She turned and headed towards the stables, leaving Ellie and Kate to ride back together.
As they walked their ponies side by side, Kate looked at her watch. “Mum and Dad should be back by now. I’m dying to know where they’ve been today.”
“Didn’t they tell you?” asked Ellie.
Kate shook her head. “They were very secretive about it. But they said they might come back with some exciting news.”
“Wow!” said Ellie. “Do you want to go straight home to find out what it is? I can untack Rainbow for you.” She knew her friend wanted to spend as much time as she could with her parents while they were here. They worked abroad most of the time so she only saw them when they came back for their holidays.
“That would be great,” said Kate. As soon as they reached the yard, she jumped down from Rainbow’s back and handed her reins to Ellie. She ran to the end stable and stroked the nose of her own pony, Angel. Then she raced off towards the apartment
at the back of the palace where she lived with her grandparents.
Ellie dismounted too and led the ponies towards their stables. She untacked them both and brushed the saddle marks from their backs. Then she fetched two bulging haynets that Meg had filled earlier and hung one up for each of them.
She was just closing Sundance’s door when the sound of running feet made her swing round. It was Kate, and her face was streaked with tears.
“I won’t go!” she sobbed. “I won’t! I won’t!”
Princess Ellie loves riding her ponies with her friend, Kate. But when Kate’s parents make a big announcement, Ellie is faced with losing her best friend. Will time run out before Ellie comes up with the perfect plan? A brand-new pony-mad tale!
Diana Kimpton has two passions - horses and writing. So it is no wonder that Diana creates brilliant pony stories, which demonstrate her own love and understanding of ponies. Diana also has a mischievous sense of fun, not unlike Princess Ellie! Diana has written a number of books and television scripts for children. She lives on the Isle of Wight, just a short walk from the sea.
Visit www.dianakimpton.co.uk to find out more.
“A sparkling new series of books from Diana Kimpton all about ponies, adventure and being a princess - they're full of authentic details about riding and looking after horses, as well as Princess Ellie's palace life (which isn't always as fun as it might seem)!”
Pretty Pony Club Magazine
“A cracking storyline for beginner readers.”
Cork Evening Echo
“Another triumph for Diana Kimpton.”
Books and Mud
“A heady cocktail of princesses, horses and mystery is enough to make any girl giddy. The text trots along with humour and enough horsey fact to hold the attention, while the lovely drawings help fit faces to story.”
“Full of authentic pony facts and sparkly princessy detail this series is sure to set the mind of any pony mad or aspiring pony mad child alight from around 6+.”