Avondale Pony Club, a slice of paradise in the suburbs
Avondale Pony Club is one of St Ives’ best preserved pieces of history, having withstood the test of time over the last 60 years to remain one of Sydney’s most popular pony clubs. The first committee meeting was held on 12 May 1951 by four very dedicated young ladies, who had a dream of bringing together like-minded horse lovers to form a pony club.
With the help of enthusiastic (or long-suffering!) parents and relatives, the girls were able to build a club almost immediately, with Lesely Maxwell elected as the first president. The original Avondale Riding Club grounds were actually at the northern end of Westbrook Avenue in Wahroonga (now a residential area).
In 1957 approval was granted to develop a scrubby rock escarpment at the end of Catherine St, St Ives, into an area that was appropriate for horse activity - and so the hard work began! After many years of labouring, filling glass and levelling ground, the beautiful grounds St Ives residents have access to today started to take shape.
Avondale Riding Club developed a reputation for producing riders that excelled in various forms of riding and mastered skills around basic horsemanship and care. Whilst encouraging versatility across various disciplines the club became quite prominent in the dressage scene and until 1988, held the NSW Junior Dressage Championships, where Avondale riders figured prominently many times.
Edwina Tops-Alexander, one of Australia’s best show jumpers and highest-ranked female riders internationally, also started her riding career at lil’ old Avondale!
Today, Avondale boasts a cross country course, various colourful show jumps and a full-size sand dressage arena. The club welcomes members of almost all ages (8-80) and anyone wanting to join will simply need to join Pony Club NSW and complete the registration form on the website. Pony Club members do require their own horse or a lease pony. Avondale also offers ground membership options open to any riders wanting to use the amazing facilities.
It has taken a village to keep this little slice of paradise maintained and open for people of all ages to utilise; aside form horse riding, a lot of locals use the grounds for exercise or recreational purposes. Having been around for over 60 years, the Avondale Committee always welcomes support from the local community in maintaining the grounds - they are currently holding a fundraiser to improve and upgrade some equipment!
Avondale Pony Club
Catherine Street, St Ives
Ph: 0410 401 621