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Penny is a horse later belonging to Felicity Merriman.

Facts and Specifics[]

Penny is one of the more prominent pets in the historical character series. She is a Thoroughbred[1] bay mare with a copper chestnut coat, dark hair, and a white blaze and stockings. Benjamin Davidson immediately identifies her as a gentleman's mount, the kind bred to be kept well rather than used to pull a work cart. Penny's prior owner is unknown before she is won by Jiggy Nye in (what is gossiped to be) a gambling game.

Penny is mistreated by Jiggy severely, in large part because he cannot break her into behaving. Felicity takes an instant liking to Penny--privately naming her so shortly after their meeting with only Ben overhearing her, both for her independence and her coat color. When Felicity and Nan hear Jiggy say (in anger) that whoever can ride her can have her, Felicity resolves to do so and, over the course of about five weeks, tames her enough to ride and rides her to her house to demonstrate. When Jiggy angrily demands Penny back--not only refusing to sell the horse but saying that he will kill her if Felicity is seen near her again--Felicity decides to release her and gets her to jump over the fence of the pen holding her, letting her escape into the woods.

Felicity never stops thinking about Penny; every time she sees horses she searches for Penny among them and tells Elizabeth Cole about her soon after they meet. Several months later in summer 1775, Penny is found again among five horses that Mr. Wentworth has brought for in a lot of horses that Grandfather is contemplating purchasing. Felicity recognizes her and Grandfather buys her, making Penny hers.

Penny later gives birth to a foal, Patriot.

In the Books[]

Meet Felicity: An American Girl[]

Meetfel 19

Felicity first sees Penny, who is being abused.

Felicity first hears about the horse at Father's store from Mrs. Fitchett; Jiggy Nye has won her in what was probably gambling. She meets Penny for the first time by walking with Benjamin Davidson to deliver a bit to Jiggy. Jiggy is heard, then seen yelling and trying to back the horse into a work cart. The horse is panicking; she is wild eyed and skinny with burrs in her mane and tail and mud on her rough coat. Felicity's whispers calm her for just a moment, but Jiggy takes that moment to try and tighten the rope and thus panics her again. She eventually breaks away from Jiggy and Ben (who was called over to try and grab her) and runs around the pasture freely while Jiggy rages at Felicity and Ben. Felicity thinks she is a dream and Ben identifies her as a chestnut mare thoroughbred; she was trained to be a gentleman's mount, not a work horse. Ben thinks that Jiggy Nye has made her vicious and she will never be a proper mount again; Felicity does not believe this, thinking that underneath her wild eyes is a spirit just like under her dirty looks are a beautiful red-gold coat. It is the color of her coat that prompts Felicity to name the horse Penny; Ben agrees on this, as well as encourages her to name the horse after her independent spirit. When they get home Ben tells Mr. Merriman that Jiggy Nye didn't take the bit because he can't control the horse, and that it is a headstrong and independent minded chestnut mare fast as fire. Jiggy Nye's story is that a man found her wandering the woods and put a notice in the paper to have any owner come and claim her, but no one ever did and so Jiggy won her from the man in a bet. Mr. Merriman says that it's a shame that Jiggy Nye has the horse and fears it will not end well; this makes Felicity resolve to go see Penny as soon as possible.

Felicity next sees Penny when she goes to the tannery with Nan and William. Penny is tethered down and in even worse shape; she is thinner with more of her coat matted, and a cut on one leg She's straining at the rope, pawing the ground, and jerking and tossing her head. Felicity climbs on the fence and throws sugar to her, and is then caught by Jiggy Nye. Penny whinnies wildly when Jiggy grabs Felicity a second time, and Jiggy tries to beat her but she rears up and breaks free. Jiggy curses that he'll give the horse to anyone that will ride it. Felicity sees Penny running around the pasture as she leaves, glad she's broken free. When Mother hears of this trip she chastises Felicity and insists that Felicity put the horse out of her head; Felicity does not.

Meetfel 40

Felicity in the process of taming Penny.

Soon after Felicity starts going out every night and taming Penny by sitting quietly near her and bringing her treats. Felicity works her way up to touching, then leading, and finally riding Penny. Meanwhile, Jiggy Nye brings her water but no food, saying he won't feed Penny until she allows him to ride. Felicity continues to ride Penny and tame her, and finally grooms her well and rides her to her home, showing her family that Penny is tame. Her father says that Penny is beautiful, but that she belongs to Jiggy Nye and Felicity must give her back. Felicity protests and when Jiggy Nye shows up demanding she give back Penny, Penny rears in fear. Felicity is forced to give up Penny and is quite upset.

Meetfel 60

Felicity coaxes Penny to leap over the fence to freedom.

The next night Felicity sneaks out one last time and rides Penny; Penny then runs towards the now mended fence. Felicity is sure that Penny can't make it, but Penny leaps out of the pasture fully. She continues running towards the woods and turns back to see Felicity; Felicity tells her to go on as she is now free. Penny hesitates, then she nickers and runs off into the woods.

Felicity Saves The Day: A Summer Story[]

Penny is not seen again until this book, though Felicity talks about her often. She was passed to Mr. Wentworth in a swap and he recognized her as a Thoroughbred, even being skittish; she is among the five horses he brings for Grandfather to overlook and Felicity is brought along as well, as she has a good eye for horses. She is at the far end of the pasture, away from the other horses. Her coat is the color of mud from dust and she is skinny and scruffy; when a stable boy tries to put a rope around he neck, she whinnies, kicks up her heels, and runs wildly in refusal. Mr. Wentworth calls her handsome and fast as the wind, but skittish and shows signs of being so badly mistreated that she trusts no one.

However as she rears up Felicity recognizes her and runs towards her, whispering that she remembers her and to come to her. Penny calms, nickers, then steps towards Felicity and nudges her shoulder gently. She follows behind Felicity and Felicity explains she is Penny to Grandfather. Grandfather buys her along with the other four horses, and Felicity writes to Elizabeth about their reunion.

Before the Merrimans return to Williamsburg--along with Ben--Grandfather says that he's unlikely to be able to ride her given her speed and high spirits and, with news that Jiggy Nye is in jail, she'll be safe and sends her along with Felicity; Felicity gets to ride her back to Williamsburg.

Changes for Felicity: A Winter Story[]

Penny is discovered to be pregnant; Edward and Marcus have known for some time and suggested that Grandfather tell Felicity himself during his visit.

She later delivers a foal with Jiggy Nye's help, whom is named Patriot.

Peril at King's Creek[]

Felicity often rides Penny around her grandfather's plantation. Felicity tells Mr. Haskall that Penny is the fastest of all of Grandfather's horses, which actually puts Penny at risk of being captured to be used for British soldiers. Penny makes noise when Mr. Haskall is inside the stall, but Felicity walks inside the stable before he could take Penny away. When Felicity realizes that Mr. Haskall is a British spy who has been stealing horses, she writes him a trap letter, asking him to take Penny on a morning jaunt in her place. Felicity is worried that she'll lose Penny if her plan doesn't work but Mr. Haskall, knowing how much Felicity loves Penny, takes a different horse.

Lady Margaret's Ghost[]

Felicity: An American Girl Adventure[]

Penny's role and storyline is not changed significantly.

As Part of Felicity's and the American Girl of Today Collections[]


The American Girl Horse.

Penny was originally released as the American Girl Horse in 1998. This was marketed as a generic horse that, while resembling Penny, was marketed for both Felicity's collection and the American Girl of Today line. Original retail cost was $62; it was later raised to $65 and $75.

Penny was later exclusively considered part of Felicity's Collection and not seen with modern dolls (though still called the American Girl Horse and never listed as Penny). Penny was retired in 2010 with Felicity's archival. The horse was rereleased again in 2011 as both a generic horse for the My American Girl line and part of Felicity's Collection before being permanently retired.


Brown velour-covered horse with plastic nose and feet, black hair, and black tail.

Saddle Blanket[]

Blue cloth saddle blanket.


Simple brown leather saddle with adjustable stirrups.


Permanently attached leather reins.


  • Felicity is stated to have named Penny because her coat is the color of a bright copper one. This is somewhat inaccurate, as the US did not begin to mint copper pennies until after the Revolutionary War in the 1790s. However, British copper half pennies/pence and other copper coinage existed and circulated through the US Colonies and "penny" was a general term for any small coinage, not just the one-cent piece; thus the comparison is loosely accurate to the era.

See Also[]


  1. This refers to the English breed, rather than the more generic term for a purebred horse.