As a young girl living in New Zealand Stacy Gregg wanted to be two things when she grew up – a horse rider and a writer. She now considers herself very, very lucky to be both at once!
Becoming a writer was the easy part – all she needed was an exercise book and a pen. Stacy wrote loads of poetry and short stories at school and then became a journalist, writing features for magazines and newspapers and working as a fashion writer (v. glamorous and lots of fun!) before her first book in the Pony Club Secrets series was published in 2007.
Since then Stacy has written 18 books – 13 in the Secrets series and 4 in the Pony Club Rivals series as well as her latest novel The Princess and the Foal.
The horse riding dream was tougher to achieve. There were many years of saving up and begging her unhorsey parents (and teaching her dog to showjump in the meantime!) before Stacy finally got her first pony when she was 10. It was the best day of her life when she got Bonnie – a dark brown mare who had one white sock and a perfect white heart on her forehead.
After Bonnie came the talented but difficult Black Jill (the inspiration for Georgie Parker’s own talented but tricky pony Tyro in Pony Club Rivals)
Talented but difficult ponies often populate the Pony Club Secrets books – and maybe that is why Stacy has a soft spot for them in real life!
Stacy’s last horse, Ash, was a superstar showjumper and eventer and there have been her daughter’s beloved ponies too – Pidge and Maddie – who are both temperamental mares with attitude!
Her current mount is a 17 hand monster-sized sweetheart named Diesel (pictured above). Diesel, who is part-Clydesdale, is so big that Stacy has to use a step ladder to put on his saddle and bridle! And, you guessed it – he is talented but difficult too!!
What was your most embarrassing moment?
- Probably the time when I was riding Bonnie and my saddle slipped (I hadn’t done the girth up tight enough) and I slipped all the way around underneath her tummy. She just stopped and stared at me like I was a complete clot!
- How do you relax?
- Riding in the forest with my daughter.
- Who inspired you when you were little?
- Mark Todd. I remember when he won the Badminton Horse Trials on Southern Comfort. I was amazed that a New Zealander had won the most coveted eventing prize in the world. When I was at Pony club we all worshipped Mark. I also loved Lucinda Prior Palmer who rode for England and wore a lemon yellow jersey on the cross country course – she won Badminton six times!
- Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
- After writing The Princess and the Foal, I would love to meet Princess Haya’s parents – Queen Alia and King Hussein of Jordan. They were extraordinary people who really loved their children and were devoted to their country. It was such a privilege to write a novel based on the true story of Princess Haya’s childhood and her remarkable journey.
- Did you visit Jordan where the Princess grew up?
- Yes! I travelled to Amman which is the capital and spent time at the royal stables with the horses – those stables are exactly as I describe them in the book, very beautiful and surprisingly Spanish in architecture because Santi, the man who built them, was Spanish. I visited the royal palace too – the lions at the front door were gone for a while but they are back there now just like they were when Princess Haya was a little girl.
- Do you always travel to the places that you write about?
- I try to! For the Pony Club Secrets series I’ve visited Spain, The UK and Gisborne in New Zealand which is the location for Blackthorn Farm. Gisborne is really remote geographically and it’s a very horsey place – lots of polo players and show jumpers live there. I love riding on the beach in summer when I visit!