In 1976, Mrs Pam Langsford, a resident of Terrey Hills, who had a riding daughter, arranged for a petition to be presented to Warringah Shire Council, with a request for suitable land to hold Rally Days similar to Pony Club activities. With help she acquired over 400 signatures, and then approached Mr Frank Beckman, who was then the local councillor, to submit it to council.
After several meetings during 1976, it was suggested that they form a Pony Club with application to NSW Pony Club Association, and a Mr Alan Flitton offered his property, which was adjacent to the Japanese School, for use until permanent grounds could be found.
At a meeting early in 1977 Mrs Pam Langsford attended a Zone 23 meeting to inquire about joining the NSW Pony Club Association. At a public meeting at the Terrey Hills Community Hall, a committee was formed and Mr Jack Golding suggested the name “Forest Hills”, made up with the “Forest” from Duffey’s Forest and “Hills” from Terrey Hills. At this meeting it was suggested that as they were unsure that the Pony Club Association would allow another Pony Club in the area with Avondale and Manly Warringah Pony Clubs, they would call themselves the Forest Hills Equestrian Association and Pony Club. It was then that the first “Neddy’s News” was printed, July 1977.
The Forest Hills Pony Club was officially accepted into the NSW Pony Club Association October 1977, and the first official Pony Club meeting to select a committee was chaired by the then president of Zone 23, Mr Ian Dewhurst on 14th April 1978.
For considerable time the Club rented grounds near the Japanese School until negotiations with the NSW Education Department in 1979 granted permissive occupancy of lots 3 and 4, 127 Booralie Road, which was opposite where the entrance to the golf club is now.
The preparation of the grounds was started and all machinery used was owned and operated by pony club parents who manually cleared and burnt off the area, which was just scrub and bush, and then with the help of Terrey Hills Apex planted grass.
The grounds were officially opened by Dr WW Grant from the Education Derpartment in October 1981 with official guests including the president of Warringah Council, Mr P Couvret, Councillor Mrs J Sutton and Mr Smith MP.
Nine years after the opening of the grounds, in 1990, the grounds were devastated by a violent storm that hit the district bringing down numerous trees and destroying the canteen. About the same time, the Minister for Education, Mr Laurie Brererton, was realising many education department assets which included our grounds, and the Pony Club was asked to vacate its home of 10 years. The club then approached the Warringah Council for a new venue. Fortunately the Council had just completed their tip at the JJ Hills Memorial Grounds and after post and rail fencing all around the arena and the building of an toilet block, opened the area as an open equestrian ground, and suggested that the Club moved into it.
In those days not many families had floats and most members rode to the Booralie Road grounds, which made it quite difficult to get to The JJ Hills grounds as it meant crossing four lanes of Mona Vale road! Initially this was resolved by the NSW Police who escorted the troop of riding members across the road, which of course everybody loved. However this was only a short time solution, but again very fortunately the Department of Main Roads was in the process of upgrading the Mona Vale and Booralie roads intersection and with extensive meetings between the DMR, the Club and the BMX Club, our near neighbours, it was agreed that an underpass under Mona Vale road would be built.
At this time there were no facilities or shade at JJ’s, so the club purchased an old caravan canteen which was towed up there every Rally Day, and shade was created by slinging a builders tarp over a frame and attached to the toilets.
In 1992 the underpass was officially opened by Councillor Green, who then walked to the grounds through a guard of Honour formed by the mounted members to a morning tea. Thoughts then turned to building a clubhouse, so funds were raised, the first coming from many of our members spending a weekend inserting addendums into hundreds of magazines and in mid 1994 building commenced. Councillor Green then opened the new clubhouse in November 1994.
From there on the Club continued to flourish, the first cross country course was built and opened by Councillor Julie Sutton in 1995, and this was developed and expanded over the following years. A sand arena was constructed, 30 stalls built, a tractor purchased, a new shed erected and so it continues. In 2012, grants for flood lights for the arena and grounds were obtained and errected to allow riding members access to an area to ride during the winter and non-day light saving hours. Further plans for an an expansions of the club house are under way and should be seen in the near future.