Partying with Princess Ellie

Ist July was publication day for Princess Ellie’s Perfect Plan, the much requested 13th book in my Pony-Mad Princess series. So I’ve had a double celebration recently – the publication of the new book and the 10th anniversary of the series itself. To mark both occasions in an appropriately horse way, I sponsored the first ridden pony class at the Royal Isle of Wight County Show and invited Anne Finnis (the person who originally thought of the series) to come down from London to watch the event with me.

anniversary cakeAnne and her husband arrived on the Friday evening, so we started celebrating with cake and champagne. I’d baked the cake myself and, although I’m not the world’s best cook, it tasted okay.

We had to be up early on the Saturday because I was giving Princess Ellie books to the competitors in the leading rein class which started at 8.30. I really admired them for managing to look so smart so early in the morning. This is the young lady who came second. For some reason horse and pony classes at the County Show gives blue rosettes for first and red for second, although most places do it the other way around.countyshow1

Next in the ring were the two competitors for the First Ridden Pony class. Everything went well until a tractor starting up near by and frightened one of the ponies so much that he misbehaved and dumped his rider on the ground. Luckily she wasn’t hurt and I gave her a book to cheer her up. That left the one remaining pony as the winner, but he was so lovely that I’m sure he would have one even if there had been a dozen other ponies. His name was Huey and he also won the leading rein class too so he ended up with a championship rosette as well. You can see it on Jack’s jacket.

countyshow2His sister rode Huey in the first ridden pony class and you can see her rosette on her jacket. It had “The Pony-Mad Princess” on the ribbon tails because I’d sponsored the class.rosette

After the two classes were over, I’d finished my official role of handing out prize books so we went to explore the rest of the show. It was a lovely event, full of animals and country activities. The falconry display was fascinating – one of the birds flew so low over my head that its wing brushed my hair.

We thought it would be good to try some of the activities but pole climbing looked much too scary. I felt much saferĀ  milking a cardboard cow.






My publisher, Usborne, had asked us to post pictures of the day on Twitter, but it’s difficult to look at photos on a mobile phone in full sun. In the end, we solved the problem by hiding under my coat which earned us some strange looks from passers-by.



2 thoughts on “Partying with Princess Ellie

  1. Jani Tully Chaplin

    Dear Diana,
    You are obviously a lady after my own heart! I rode from a very early age, competed in all disciplines until I had children of my own. Horse-mad didn’t come near my passion for riding! My favourite book as a child was ‘Wish for a Pony’. I taught my son and daughter to ride before they could walk; my son gave up when Archery took over and he became Devon & Cornwall Junior Archery Champion when he was 15.
    My daughter has made her career with horses; giving her ponies was the best thing I ever did for her. In September she is getting married so hopefully, before too long, I will have another small person to put in the saddle.
    I loved seeing the photo’s of you presenting prizes to the classes you sponsored – it took me right back to those happy days of Leading-rein and First Ridden classes at summer shows, especially the typical disaster where the ponies were frightened.
    One year at the Devon County Show, where I was competing in the Junior Show Jumping, the leading-Rein class had just formed the final line-up in front of the grandstand. The commentator announced how well-behaved all these tiny ponies had been and that was what they were chosen for, to take care of their little riders. He suggested a round of applause (silly man). As the sound of clapping reached the show ring, every one of the ponies exploded; bucking, rearing and bolting and depositing their riders on the ground, to loud wails and cries, and panic striken mothers who didn’t know whether to chase the escaping ponies or pick up their screaming children! Not one pony was left with a rider, out of a class of over 30! I bet that commentator could have eaten his words.
    How delightful of you to give your books as prizes; as a newly published author/illustrator myself now, I am inspired to do the same thing with my books. I already give a percentage of all sales of The Manor House Stories, in perpituity, to different children’s and wildlife charities; now I have a new idea thanks to you!
    I have very fond memories of the Pony Club, both during my childhood and then Miranda’s. I will contact them today and suggest donating some of my books as prizes or for them to sell to raise funds. I might do the same with the Devon County Show – some of my proudest moments and happiest memories are from our County Show.
    Your books look super, I must get one next time I am shopping, to keep for my future grandchild!
    All good wishes,
    Jani Tully Chaplin

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