Deborah Savage

American author of young adult coming of age type books. Many have a horsy theme. I can't find much info about the author herself or what her involvement was with horses. She is however the great grand-daughter of M. W. Savage - a larger than life character who in the early 20th century trained Dan Patch, a horse who has been dubbed "the greatest harness horse in the history of the two-wheeled sulky." The record Dan Patch set for the mile has been equalled but never broken. Ms. Savage has written a novel based on the story of Dan Patch and the character of M. W. Savage.

The author also appears to have a deep interest in New Zealand and Maori culture, with both forming a backdrop for some of her novels, including two of her horse stories.

Pony Books:

(COLLINS [NZ?] 1984)
As far as I can ascertain originally published in New Zealand.
Published in the USA by Houghton Mifflin in 1986.
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Set in New Zealand. Animal-loving teen Alexa and her older brother Tod live on an isolated sheep station. Used to doing everything with her brother, Alexa feels terribly left out when her father takes Tod to the annual sheep muster, leaving her behind. In retaliation she sneaks off with a horse and a dog to investigate a mysterious tale about an otter told to her by an old Maori.

Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Historical pony story set in the early part of the 20th century and based on the true story of racehorse Dan Patch. Fifteen year old Theo is passionate about horses and wants to work with the racehorses on the nearby ranch of trainer Mr. Savage who trains the champion trotter Dan Patch. Her parents don't take her ambitions seriously, they are too caught up with helping her sister Claudia pursue her own dream of becoming a professional violinist. But things change when Theo meets Carl, a young immigrant who works on Mr. Savage's ranch. He encourages her to pretend to be a boy in order to get a job there...

Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Ben, a boy from a poor family with dreams of Olympic equestrian success, forms a close friendship with a rich troublemaking girl who is always being expelled from her schools. But will their very different personalities and backgrounds mar their friendship?

Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: After her best friend's death seventeen year old Wim throws herself into her job at the local stables. She is resentful when she is asked to care for her elderly and confused great aunt who is visiting them from New Zealand. But surprisingly she soon she begins to grow close to Aunt Kia. She starts to learn about her Maori background and other mysteries unfold…
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Collector's Info:
I am unsure of the publishing history of A Rumour of Otters. All the books are easy to find in the USA. Kotuku is still in print. Not too hard to find in the UK either, Under a Different Sky and Kotuku can be bought new from Amazon, the others second-hand from there and one or two other internet booksellers.