Canterdown is an English girls' school where horses come before games (""!!!"" is your appropriate reaction), the older girls arrive each term trailing sorry looking ponies in carts, and those under nine live only for the day when they too can ride. Hence the general dismay and hostility when the dictatorial new headmistress, who dislikes the smell of stables and is herself taken with motor cars, tries to ban horses from the school. The girls are more sympathetic when they learn about Miss Pobjoy's sister's horseback accident--and impressed to discover that the ""fatal"" outcome was not death but a career as number two girl jockey instead of as the lawyer her family had wanted. In the end Miss Pobjoy wins her pupils completely by trying (unsuccessfully) to learn to ride, and the sister, appointed to the board of governors, sets out to upgrade the school's horsey accomplishments (inspiring the girls to greater scholastic ones in the process). There are some humorous scenes, most involving Miss P. and the local farmer/ handyman; all are in a familiar mold, as are the characters, but--along with Williams' wrier tone and smarter style--they do put this way out front of the average girls' school/horse story.