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Jane Badger Books

Patricia Leitch: Horse in a Million (eBook pre-order out 19 September, Jinny 6)

Patricia Leitch: Horse in a Million (eBook pre-order out 19 September, Jinny 6)

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eBook on pre-order released 19th September

Shantih is always there when Jinny looks out of her window at Finmory, grazing with Bramble, the Highland pony. Jinny loves her wildness, even when Shantih carts Jinny round at the Finmory Gymkhana, turning Jinny’s dreams of a cup to dust.

But one day Shantih is not there, and neither is Bramble. And ponies have disappeared from Miss Tuke’s stables too.

It is Jinny’s worst nightmare: her horse gone, and no clue at to where. 

Can Jinny track Shantih, Bramble and the Highlands down before they are sold?

Jinny 6

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Read a sample

“If only Sue were back,” Jinny had moaned, a week before her school broke up for the Easter holidays. “It’s not nearly so much fun riding by myself.”

“I thought this was to be the Easter of the Inverburgh Show?” Mike had asked. “Thought you’d be doing nothing but schooling Shantih, so you’d be brilliant to make up for last year’s disaster.”

“It is and I am,” said Jinny severely. “But it would be more fun if Sue was here.”

She ignored her brother’s remark about last year’s Inverburgh Show. He was right. It had been a disaster, an absolute disaster. “But it was all Clare Burnley’s fault,” Jinny thought. “Really I knew that Shantih wasn’t ready for a show.”

The Burnleys owned Craigvaar, a large detached house a few miles from Finmory. They didn’t live there, but came up from England to spend their holidays in Scotland. At Easter, Clare brought two of her horses to Craigvaar. She took them both to the Inverburgh Show and always won all the cups.

“But of course it means absolutely nothing to me,” she had told Jinny once. “I won my first cup in a Leading Rein class when I was three, and really I’ve just gone on from there. To tell you the truth, one has quite a shock when one doesn’t win. One really takes it for granted, doesn’t one?”

Hearing the sound of Clare Burnley’s loud, self-confident voice in her ears made Jinny screw up her face with disgust. She had spent last Easter seeing Clare and her horses through a golden haze, until the haze was swept suddenly away and Jinny had realised what a fool she had been.

“If Sue were here,” Jinny had said hurriedly to Mike, switching off from anything to do with the Burnleys, “we could have a gymkhana of our own. Sort of trial run for Inverburgh.”

“Have it whether Sue is here or not,” said Mike.
“You’d help me organise?”

Mike had grinned, pushing his fingers through his short, curly hair.

“Well, not really,” he said. “There’s the football team, and Mr. MacKenzie says I can drive his tractor.”

“There you are,” said Jinny. “That’s why I need Sue.”

“What’s she doing?” asked Mrs. Manders.

“Don’t know,” said Jinny. “I’d a letter from her at Christmas and it’s still my turn to write back.”

“Perhaps she would like to come up for the holidays,” Mrs. Manders had suggested. “Petra will be away on her music course most of the time. Be no problem.”

“Oh yes,” said Jinny, who had forgotten that her sister would be away. Petra was nearly sixteen years old, and, as far as Jinny could see, did nothing but bath herself and play the piano.

“Phone her,” said Jinny’s mother. “No harm in asking.”
Jinny hesitated. “I wouldn’t want to leave Shantih,” she had said, “so I don’t expect Sue would want to leave Pippen, and it would be far too expensive to bring him with her.”

“She did last summer,” said Mike.

“Behind their car.”


Jinny had ignored him.

“Go on, phone,” encouraged her mother. “For all you know, Sue may be longing to come back to Finmory. Do it now, then you’ll know.”

“Right,” said Jinny. “Action this day.”

She found Sue’s phone number from one of her letters, looked up the correct dialling code and dialled. Holding the phone to her ear, she waited, listening to it ringing out, wondering who would answer. The phone rang on and on. Jinny’s breathless expectancy changed to a dull certainty that there was no one at home.

“Count ten rings and then I’ll put it down,” she thought.

She had reached eight when someone lifted the receiver, and a breathless voice said, “Hullo,” and added, “Sue Horton here.”

“Nearly put it down,” said Jinny, “I’d reached eight.”

“What?” said Sue. “Pardon.”

“I was counting to ten … ”

“Jinny!” yelled Sue. “It is, isn’t it? Jinny Manders.”


“You never wrote back. Not since Christmas.”

“I meant to,” said Jinny. “How are you?”

“Rotten,” said Sue. “Pippen had a warble.”

“A what?”

“Ghastly sort of maggot thing,” explained Sue. “The fly lays its egg on the pony’s leg. The pony licks its leg and swallows the egg. It hatches out and works its way right through to the pony’s skin. A lump comes up on the pony’s back, and once it’s ripe, out pops the grub.”

“Disgusting,” said Jinny. “Poor old Pippen.”

“Worse to follow,” said Sue. “I didn’t know about warbles, did I? So when I saw the lump on his back I thought it was only an insect bite, plonked his saddle on, and rode him at a rally. Killed the grub stone dead. It went rotten, and the vet has just been here gouging it out.”


“I know. Poultices for the next week and not to be ridden for three or four weeks. Just when the holidays are here. I could scream.”

“Do,” said Jinny. “You’ll feel better.”

Sue screamed.

“Well, in a way … ” Jinny began, and was going to say it was a good thing that Pippen had been struck down, then changed her mind, realising that Sue couldn’t be expected to see it quite like that.

“I’m phoning you to find out if you’d like to come and spend Easter with us. I said you wouldn’t because of Pippen, but if your mother would look after him it would be a chance to come here.” Jinny paused, half afraid that Sue would consider her heartless and yell that she couldn’t possibly abandon Pippen in his warbled state.

“You could ride Bramble,” offered Jinny, when Sue didn’t speak.

“I’m struck dumb,” said Sue. “It would be super. I’d love to come. I’d need to ask first, but I’m sure Mum would keep an eye on Pippen. She’s quite keen on him now.”

“I thought we might have a Finmory gymkhana,” said Jinny.

“Yes! Oh yes!” enthused Sue.

Mrs. Manders came out to the phone, tapping her watch and mouthing, “What are you gossiping about?”

“Need to go,” Jinny said to Sue. “Poverty-stricken parent grabbing phone.”

“I’ll ask,” said Sue. “Whenever they get home.”

“Phone me back.”

“Will do, but I’m sure it will be O.K.”

“Good,” said Jinny. “Love to Pippen. Bye.”

Page length: 126

Original publication date: 1980

Who's in the book?

Humans: Jinny, Mike, Petra and Mr and Mrs Manders, Ken, Mr MacKenzie, Sue, Miss Tuke, Clare Burnley, Tam, Jake, Moira Wilson, Peter, Jim and George Hay, Sara Murdoch

Horses: Shantih, Bramble, Punch, Snuff, Pym, Jock, Belle, Jasper

Other titles published as

Series order

1. For Love of a Horse
2. A Devil to Ride
3. The Summer Riders
4. Night of the Red Horse
5. Gallop to the Hills
6. Horse in a Million
7. The Magic Pony
8. Ride Like the Wind
9. Chestnut Gold
10. Jump for the Moon
11. Horse of Fire
12. Running Wild

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