Pony hopes pinned on prose

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 13:00 17/01/2014
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

DREAM RIDE: Alice Rozga, 10, with her first book written about her dream that her wooden horse, Stella, will come alive.

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Brightwater girl Alice Rozga's longing for a pony is so powerful that it can bring toys to life.

Alice, 10, has dreamed of nothing but a pony of her own for as long as she can remember.

The fantasy grew legs when her family moved to New Zealand from Wales, and Alice became surrounded by other children with their ponies in tow.

When her mother, Cheryl, suggested she could finance the steed of her dreams by writing a story and selling it, Alice promptly went out and penned a novel of 93 pages.

She began in June last year, completing every aspect of the book from illustrations to layout, although her older brother helped her with the cover.

"I know it sounds terrible, but I just didn't realise for ages that she was doing the whole thing," Mrs Rozga said.

She had expected that Alice would write something more akin to a short story.

The book is called Stella, The Magical Pony, and the first run of 50 volumes was published by the Copy Press in January.

An additional reprint of 100 is due out later this month.

Alice's favourite store, the Richmond Saddlery, is stocking copies, but the Rozgas have not had much luck with local bookstores.

They hope to get a stall at the Nelson Market, and Alice's uncle has offered to take Stella, The Magical Pony to the London Book Fair in April.

Since writing the story, Alice has also decided to do some extra fundraising so she can donate part of the book's proceeds to the Nelson SPCA.

She said the story was based on a wish she made a year ago, when she thought about what might happen if a wooden horse that she and her father made together became real.

"There was a beautiful grey pony standing right in front of me. It was my wooden pony, but not wooden anymore, alive. I slowly walked towards her and stroked her gleaming coat that had once been wooden. The mare nudged my arm. ‘Stella', I murmured without meaning to. ‘Your name is Stella', I said."

The white wooden horse, also named Stella, is fully kitted out with a halter, reins and a leather saddle that Alice found secondhand for $15.

It has a black paddock-mate named Spaghetti who is made out of a tyre.

Stella is described in the book as a grey Welsh mare standing 13 hands high, or 1.3 metres in height.

Alice said her dream pony would be just like her.

However, she said she would be happy with a real-life pony no matter what its appearance.

She is getting riding lessons every Sunday at The Giggling Pony equestrian centre in Wakefield, and has begun earning money towards her own horse by grooming two ponies for $5 a time. Alice has saved more than $1000, but hoped to double this sum to cover grazing, vet bills and feed, as well as the cost of the pony itself.

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