A Brief History of Meadowbank Pony Club 1968 to 1998 - by Lorna Stewart

Prior to 1968A riding group, instructed by Willie Vet-menlen had been meeting in a paddock opposite St Johns Theological college. Willie still lives behind Sunhill Garden Centre where she has horses. For many years she grazed her horses on Apirana reserve.
1968 FebruaryAn application was made to the Auckland District Pony Club (which had been in existence since 1949) to form a Branch to be called Meadowbank Pony Club Branch of Auckland District Pony Club. Drenching was carried out at the “old shed” which is now the stables, and horses entered through the top gate in Pines 1 (near Gowing Drive). Rallies were held in Pines paddocks, and members had afternoon tea in the shed which had been the milking shed of the previous dairy farm. At that time there were no pens or stables.
President : Mr J. Stewart
1969Grazing was “unsettled”. It appears horses were grazing in several places, including Mount Taylor in Glendowie, and there must have been some on the present site of Pines and Telephone paddocks, although there was no formal lease with Transit New Zealand at that stage.
1970 DecemberA ribbon day was held on the grounds at 109 St Johns Rd.
AprilTenancy of the land on St Johns Rd (motorway reserve land) was accepted by the Ministry of Works ( then landlords for Transit New Zealand). Much of the lands rough and covered with gorse. The present entrance was just a track through the gorse. The lease was finally signed in 1971.
MayMembers grazing on Mt Taylor (city council land) complained as they were paying the club $1-25 per week whilst other members on St Johns Rd land paid only $1-00 per week. The Mt Taylor group sent a sample of thistles to the Committee as these thistles were covering much of their grazing land.
NovemberThe thistles were sprayed.
1971 MayThe club tendered for 8 acres on St Johns Rd at the rear of Glowing Drive, which must have been part of Pines 1/2 paddocks. They then had all Transit New Zealand motorway reserve land from Merton Rd. through to the Creek paddock. Much of this land was covered with gorse, blackberry and other weeds, and needed a lot of working bees over the years to clear it, topdress and oversow the ground with grass.
30 members were grazing on the ground and there were 40 members in total.
President: Mr Dick Roud
DecemberLetter from Sue Bason, Croft House, included “I am returning herewith your peanut jar, which 1 am sure you have missed-apologies for not returning it sooner – these things are often so useful.”
1972Applied for right of access across the Railway land over the tunnel – now the tracks between Pines 2 and Telephone 1. There was a waiting list of 18 members.
1974The club purchased a 16ft square tin shed as a Clubhouse and this was placed just to the left of the main gate in the centre of the lawn.
197550 riding members. A new all-weather dressage arena was about to be constructed and was completed in 1976.
1976The club had 11 instructors.
President: Mrs Henry
1977 SeptemberThe Committee decided to make it compulsory to have all horses vaccinated against strangles.
1978 FebruaryThe old shed in Pines 1 paddock was to be repaired and made watertight with the view to conversion into stables at a future date.
JunePresident: Dick Roud (again)
1979Problems with strangles vaccination which had been causing side effects with some horses. A new one was imported from Australia but there were problems with this also, so strangles vaccination again became voluntary, and new horses onto the grounds were quarantined. This decision was to have some very negative effects in 1984 when there was an Auckland area outbreak of strangles. Tube drenching was suggested as the method of choice for worming.
DecemberDick Roud was made a Life member of the Club.
1980 JulyPresident: Mrs Broderick
DecemberThe Pegasus Ride was introduced for adult riders who had their own grazing, but who wanted to use the Pony Club riding facilities.
1981President: Mr Richards
Grazing was in Pines, Telephone, Hilltop, Fishers, Mt Taylor. The responsibility for Mt Taylor was uncertain although the Pony Club paid for the rental.
MarchA paddock big enough for two horses was leased in Churchill Park.
1982 JunePresident: Ray Williams
September$52,000 was allocated for upgrading of one dressage arena.
NovemberThe Club faced the possibility of losing their lease on Mt Taylor, and Churchill Park. Subsequently the lease of these reserves and of Kiano reserve was given to Mr Bob Loe, who accommodated horses already on the grounds. Wadhams paddocks were being sub-leased by the Wadham family for their race horses.
1983 FebruaryApplied for the lease of Apirana Reserve (known to Pony Club now as Apirana, Middlegate, North East and Nursery paddocks.
JuneThe lease was granted on 1 June at a rental of $5,882 per annum, all of which was refunded annually when receipts were produced to prove that the equivalent sum was spent on maintenance of the Reserve.
JuneA trophy was purchased, to be called the Award of Excellence, given only as a special award, not necessarily every year.
AugustA working bee levy was introduced.
OctoberTube drenching was carried out on a concrete pad, where the present pens are now. There was no water to wash it down. Horses were held in pens built up to the neighbours fence. The front fence had just been completed. Grazing at this time – each group had one paddock close to main riding paddocks, one paddock a short distance away and one far away – for example: North East, Hilltop 3, Railways.
1984 JanuaryA ribbon day held on the in-field at Ellerslie Race course, attracted 100 entries. The Auckland Racing Club allowed the Pony Club to use the grounds, toilets and building free of charge.
FebruaryA strangles outbreak hit the Auckland Area including Meadowbank Pony Club – the grounds were closed and horses quarantined.
AprilStrangles was still around Auckland area. A number of events had been postponed or cancelled. Only one third of Meadowbank Pony Club horses were vaccinated but vaccination became compulsory again in the following September.
MayPresident: Barry Hagen
Discussions commenced on building a new cross country course, to be designed by Barry Hagen The Club was offered the opportunity to tender for an A-frame building, at present being used by the St Johns ambulance at the Easter Show grounds.
JuneLorna Stewart joined the Committee and wrote Newsletters.
AugustThe strangles quarantine was lifted.
SeptemberAn area was set aside for sick paddocks.
Lorna Stewart became secretary.
Ron Stewart (architect) drew up plans, elevation and and proposed location for the clubhouse.
DecemberThe showgrounds committee agreed to our tender of $2,000, with a deposit of $500, and the rest payable by December 1985 (no interest charged). Tony de Geest (builder) whose twin daughters were members, was employed to remove the top of the building and have it transferred to the site, where he re-built it. Removal cost $4,000.
New ribbons were introduced- for the first time we printed our own in the tin shed, as the commercially made ribbons were getting very expensive.
1985 JanuaryThe Ellerslie ribbon day attracted 123 entries.
FebruaryThe A-frame has arrived and we were awaiting Town Planning permission to have it permanently sited. The permit was eventually granted in June. A condition of the Town Planning consent was that the grounds be tidied up around the clubhouse, including removal of the pens against the neighbours fences and that trees be planted, grass be mown, and no horses be grazed there, unless hand held.
MarchClub house in use, but no steps yet.
Horses still grazing on Mt Taylor, but no longer Pony Club responsibility.
41 horses on Pony Club grounds.
1985 JunePresident: Barry Hagen
Dick Roud no longer on Committee, but with Tony Rixon still out in long hours maintaining the grounds and equipment.
NovemberA bonfire and barbeque was held for members on Guy Fawkes night , behind the stables.
Dan Bergin, drainlayer, and member’s father, spent many hours working to raise the sewer man-hole cover to the level of the terrace outside the clubhouse.
1986 JanuaryAn Open Ribbon Day was held at Ellerslie Race Course.
Telephones were connected to the Clubhouse.
FebruaryWednesday 26- a rally night- 5.30pm. the official opening of the clubhouse – formally opened by Sir Laurence Stevens who as instrumental in getting the building for us. Members assembled mounted, in uniform, outside the Clubhouse.
The annual rental of Transit New Zealand land was doubled.
AugustThe Wadhams family reluctantly gave up the lease of the two paddocks, enabling us to increase membership from 45 to 48. By this time the Wadhams no longer had a training stable at the back of Ellerslie race course.
SeptemberAt the request of senior riders, grazing was restructured to allow for groups in 2 near or adjacent paddocks and a seniority list was established. At this time there were 9 paddock groups as Jennys and Creek paddocks, and Merton Rd paddock (now the site of a garden centre) were in use. A total of 51 horses grazed on the grounds.
NovemberBonfire and barbeque on Guy Fawkes night.
1987 JanuaryRibbon day at Ellerslie Race Course.
The dressage arenas were deteriorating again, with fluid clay under the scoria.
AugustMerton Rd paddock was lost, when Ministry of Works decided they could get more money leasing it commercially.
SeptemberA large gully in Telephone 1 was filled with waste, clay and soil. This hollow was below the first cross country jump and riders coming up from the paddocks were unable to see what lay ahead of them. A metalled track was built to the left of the fill. Also filled was a gully below the pens, where there is now a cross country jump.
1988 MayPresident: Barry Hagen
Grooming pens were rebuilt and doubled in number.
Both dressage arenas have had work done on drainage and have been rebuilt.
1989Ribbon day held at Ellerslie Race course. Attendance was down to 80. Shifting all jump stands and poles to the race course was a huge undertaking, and rings had been set up in torrential rain. It was decided to discontinue ribbon days at the race course.
MarchBarry Hagen has malignant tumour in brain.
MayPresident: Tony Rixon
AugustRoger Richwhite (the BBQ Factory) sponsored the materials for the building of two new cross country jumps – one in Pines 2 and one in Chair to be built by Robbie McLean in November.
November21st birthday ODE held- special ribbons, cash prizes and a birthday cake.
Robbie McLean built 8 new XC jumps – his labour account $1,400 for 5 days work. Additional materials approx. $600.
1990 MayPresident: Tony Rixon
1991 MayPresident: Tony Rixon
New introductory course XC course built, one dressage arena upgraded, 12 instructors and 45 members.
1992 MayPresident: Tony Rixon
1993 JanuaryClubhouse has been burgled three times.
MayPresident: Tony Rixon
AugustRixon family left Meadowbank for Drury. Tony had been the mainstay of the maintenance programme on the Club grounds for 11 years.
President: Noel Salter
1994 MarchA woman drove her car through the fence at the top of Hilltop 1 paddock, and killed a horse.
MayPresident: Judy Styles
Sue and Sally Guy left area for Waiau Pa. Sue had been associated with the Pony Club as a parent and instructor for 24 years. 1972-1994.
OctoberA serious incident on footpath between Alluni St and the Club when a member’s horse, being ridden from St Heifers Bay Pony Club, on the footpath, pushed an elderly female pedestrian over a low concrete wall. She was not hurt but was very upset. Parents and riders were reminded that horses and riders have no right to be on the footpaths. If they feel they must go onto the footpath to avoid heavy traffic, then they must move off to give way to pedestrians. Horse droppings must be removed immediately. Horses going to St Heifers Bay Pony Club should go by float.
1995 MayPresident: Judy Styles
1996 MayPresident: Judy Styles
JulyPower installed at the stables.
AugustTussock moth eggs and caterpillars are to be sprayed in the area and our Farm Manager, Susan Enright had discussions with Paul Bradbury, Community Liaison for Operation Evergreen regarding problems which we might face. Initially it was though that planes or helicopters would fly high over the Pony Club. Shortly after this a special meeting was held of all members and it was concluded that we had to remove all the horses from the grounds for the duration of the spraying which would be low level by fixed wing aeroplanes. The Horses still in the Club for Winter grazing were removed, many to Whitford, where their riders attended Whitford Pony Club rallies. The horses were out of the Club for 10 weeks and returned on December 14. Operation Evergreen funded the transporting of horses, and paid the Club for the lost grazing income.
1997 MayPresident: Chris Perkins
1998 MayPresident: Chris Perkins