Borden Deal aka Leigh Borden (1922-1985)

American author. Born Loyse Deal in Mississippi in 1922. Before becoming a writer he tried a number of different professions, including firefighter, auditor and copywriter. He became a full time author in the 1950s and published quite a few adult novels and many short stories. He wrote under a number of pseudonyms as well as his own name including Leigh Borden, Borden Deal and Michael Sunga  His novels were well-received and two were adapated as a film and musical.

Two of his books featured horses, including
Bluegrass, one of the best adult horse stories written (in my humble opinion). I am not sure if he had any connection with horses, but certainly the wealth of information about thoroughbred breeding in Bluegrass displays, if not a deep personal experience of the subject, extensive research. His other horse story is a gothic romance set against a similar Kentucky bluegrass backdrop.

As Borden Deal:

Pony Books (Adult Fiction):

BLUEGRASS
(DOUBLEDAY [USA] 1976)
(1st UK EDITION  N.E.L 1977)
Reprinted in paperback by Bantam in 1978.
Published in the UK in hardback by N.E.L in 1977.
Reprinted in the UK in paperback in 2 volumes by N.E.L. in 1978
SUMMARY: Excellent adult horse story set in Kentucky. Maude is a nurse who dreams of breeding thoroughbred racehorses. Her world is turned upside down when she is left a substantial legacy by a millionaire patient when he dies. Now she has money to follow her dream but when she buys her farm she finds her problems are just beginning - for in the close-knit uber-traditional world of Kentucky bluegrass country, she is inexperienced, an interloper, and, far worse, a woman! Can she make it despite these handicaps?
PONYMAD VIEW: One of the best adult horse novels I have read. Not only is it a gripping story, the horse element is not just a backdrop as in many adult so-called horse stories but is in fact the heart and soul of the story. The world of American Thoroughbred breeding is re-created in detail and is an extremely interesting addition to the story itself. Highly recommended.
PONYMAD RATING: 5 HORSESHOES

Collector's Info:
Published in both the USA and UK, and fairly easy to find in both these places, especially the paperback editions. The first edition can be harder to find and more expensive.

As Leigh Borden:

Pony Books (Adult Fiction):

LEGEND OF THE BLUEGRASS
(DOUBLEDAY [USA] 1977)
SUMMARY: Despite the title, not related to the above book. Adult horse story with a gothic romance flavour. Leslie Talant leaves a career in New York to come to the Bluegrass country around Lexington to care for Mary Ben Ashe, a woman left crippled by a riding accident. She walks into a world seemingly ruled by the curse of a black ghost stallion and finds herself torn between love and loyalty, reality and madness.
PONYMAD VIEW: Although well-written and readable, after
Bluegrass this was a big disappointment. It aims to be a horsy gothic romance but in trying to merge the two elements, it fails to excel in either. Although it starts well, the story somehow never quite takes hold of you, and the hero is a stereotype straight out of a Mills and Boon novel. Neither is the heroine as appealing or sympathetic as Maude in Bluegrass.
PONYMAD RATING: 2 HORSESHOES

Collector's Info:
Unlike Bluegrass, this was not reprinted in the UK and is thus hard to find here, although fairly easy to get hold of in the USA.