I’m listening to an interview with Elyne Mitchell’s daughter, who has written her mother’s biography. Next year is the hundredth anniversary of her birth and they’ve released an omnibus edition of four of the Silver Brumby books, which, of course, I’ve just downloaded from iBooks.
I read several of them in my childhood. Like most little girls I loved horses ( still do, though I have given up my dream of having a horse in my life). Most girly horse books were about riding, but not these. They’re about Thowra, a wild horse in Australia’s Snowy Mountains and they’re gorgeous! There are fantastical elements in them, but the horses are horses and do what horses do.
It’s kind of sad, as an adult, to realise that brumbies are feral horses, not native animals, and that people go after them in helicopters and kill them when there are too many. The books were so very Australian, you could almost smell the cold air and the gum trees. Horses have played a huge role in Australia’s development, as working animals, but like camels, they don’t belong in the wild here. And yet, Elyne Mitchell’s silver brumbies that can move invisible through the snow do seem to belong here. The movie, by the way, suggested that creamy or silver referred to palomino, a theory that the Wikipedia article takes up, but only read it if you’re interested in DNA and genetics, which it discusses in great detail. 😉 It does describe the main characters, though it leaves out Storm, Thowra’s best friend
I remember once offering a Silver Brumby book to a student who had asked for a book about horses and being looked at as if I was from Mars.
“Miss, I wanted a book about RIDING!” she said.
Some people you just can’t help.
But if you read this and haven’t ever discovered the world of Thowra and his herd, go and get the first book in the series right now! You won’t regret it.