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The first committee meeting of the Avondale Horse and Pony Club was held on the 12th of May 1951 at which Lesley Maxwell was elected President.
Like many worthwhile institutions Avondale Horse and Pony Club was born in modest circumstances, the dream of a 4 very young ladies, who believed they could bring together a group of young people who owned, or could beg or borrow a pony and form a club.
With the help of enthusiastic (or perhaps long suffering) parents and relatives they did just that, with almost immediate and overwhelming and lasting success.
Whilst the club officially began in 1951, for several years prior to that it was operating in various paddocks and open spaces. It’s first “grounds” were at the northern end of Westbrook Ave Wahroonga, now a new residential area but at that time the vestibule as it were to the Wahroonga tip.
The club started as “Avondale Riding Club”. In about 1957 approval in principal was given by the appropriate authorities to the granting of an area comprising it’s present grounds. Years of hard labouring work were required before a scrubby rock escarpment at the end of Catherine Street, St Ives could provide an area useable for horse activity and thereafter years of filling grassing and in general, unremitting husbandry to produce the beautiful grounds of today.
On the 7th of July 1979, H.R.H. Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips opened the Princess Anne Equestrian Centre at the St Ives Showground. This was a special occasion for Avondale as 34 members, 31 of them mounted, and its quadrille team gave a superb performance.
Avondale has a deserved reputation for producing riders schooled in the basics of good horsemanship and consequently has placed quite an accent upon Dressage and for many years, until 1988, organized the NSW Junior Dressage Championships in which, many times, Avondale riders have figured prominently. Avondale has also considered versatility in other spheres such as jumping and eventing as equally important once the basics of riding are under- stood.
Most importantly, for 60 years Avondale has, and continues to, give many hundreds of young people a healthy and self-disciplining activity.
This article was compiled from information kindly supplied by PCA NSW from the official Pony Club book. Craig Neale.