Eric Hatch (1901-1973)

American author, staff writer on
The New Yorker and also screenwriter. Born in 1901 in New York City.  He was in addition an expert horseman, steward and show judge.

His horsy experience was to provide fodder for a humourous horse story, which was his most famous contribution to the genre. It was a very popular book and was made into a Disney film in 1968 entitled
The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, although the film does not seem to have been as well-received as the book. The book itself was originally written as an adult story but was also marketed to the younger reader.

Eric Hatch also wrote another humourous adult novel called
Spendthrift in which horses appear. It too was made into a film starring a very young Henry Fonda. Both the story and film are about a horse-loving playboy's romance with a stable-girl.

Hatch wrote many other novels, short stories and screenplays for a number of films and TV shows, as well as some non-fictional riding/horse care manuals. I am not sure if horses appeared in anything else, so if anyone knows please drop me a line!

Pony Books:

Not sure about the first edition, the earliest edition I can find was published as part of an omnibus of 3 novels by the author called THE HATCH WAY by Little Brown in 1936. I cannot find any information about it being published before this on its own.

Reprinted in paperback in 1948
SUMMARY: Humourous adult novel. A dissolute playboy who likes the horses falls for a stable-girl.

(CROWN [USA] 1965)
Reprinted by Dell in paperback. Title changed to THE HORSE IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT to tie-in with movie
There was also an edition published in Germany
SUMMARY: Humourous story suitable for both adults and children. Frazzled and broke advertising executive Freddie Bolton is nagged by his daughter to buy her an expensive horse...but funds are low. Then he concocts a plan to buy a horse for her and use it for advertising. It seems a perfect solution, but of course things are never that easy!
This was also made into a Disney film.

Collector's Info:
Both books are fairly easy to find in the USA. Spendthrift is available in hardback as part of an omnibus called The Hatch Way, this is fairly rare. I have not seen any earlier editions of the book and am not sure there are any. In any case the 1948 paperback is far easier to find than the omnibus and is usually cheap.
The Disney film tie-in of The Year of the Horse is the easiest edition to find of that title.
The books are rarely seen outside of the USA.
The film The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit is available on DVD and is easy to find in USA and UK.