The People of Wellington – Ann Friedlander
I talk a lot about my horses, but a huge part of life in Wellington involves the relationships I’ve formed with my clients. One of my loyal clients is an artist, Ann Friedlander, who has an interesting life of her own. I took a moment to sit down with her and talk to her about her life, her art and why riding is so important to her.
How did you start riding?
I was working as an art therapist and a client worked as a groom. I thought I would give riding a try – everyone in my family plays golf but I have no interest! I made an appointment at the local riding academy. I sat with the mothers of the students as we were the same age, then I would have lessons.
Favorite aspect of riding?
I enjoy the daily training of my horses.
Does riding influence your art?
It seems to me that riding influences my whole personal life. It is important to be sensitive, spontaneous, but not impulsive in order to be fair to the horse. My painting process has improved by these traits too. Painting is not about throwing paint on a canvas and expecting a miracle to occur any more than dressage is about climbing on a horse and saying “giddy up!” For me, painting and riding are enthusiastic commitments for greater skill and understanding over a long period of time.
What’s it like living in Wellington?
Living in Wellington is a dream for anyone interested in learning dressage. I have been fortunate to have had wonderful gifted teachers- Linda M Smith, Nancy Later, and you – all of whom have taught me what I need to know.
I have had to reach out of the Wellington area to achieve my artistic goals. I consult currently with my mentor Nicholas Wilton, who is in Sausalito, CA. Then too, I have a group of supportive fellow artists that are scattered around the country with whom I stay in touch by means of a private Facebook page. I am grateful to have a beautiful home and dressage facility that I have been able to develop just outside of Wellington. It is a special place and I enjoy it.
How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Any special practices or diet?
My Mother followed many healthy eating practices during my childhood and that formed a good foundation for my food choices. We ate raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, and drank fresh orange juice. I have no interest in fast foods or most processed foods. I believe that adequate rest is often overlooked or maybe I just require more sleep than other people.
From your perspective, how do you think I influence your riding as a teacher?
In 2013 I had a serious riding accident. I needed a special horse that would be safe and a teacher that could understand my physical challenge and help me with my recovery as a rider.
I was introduced to you and we clicked! I am so impressed with your ability to understand my horses and me. You respect me and my prior dressage education; it seems that you let me “run the show” during lessons, while commenting in ways that lead me toward more effective riding. You do have a training plan but you implement it in such a way that I may think it’s my idea.
Describe some of the milestones or progressions you have made in your riding through training.
I have deepened my understanding of dressage concepts, I have improved the way I use my body, and I create a special relationship with my horse that is immensely satisfying working with you. In addition, I have received affirmation for the ways that I have found work for me in training my horses, which of course, boosted my confidence.
Is there a particularly special place on your beautiful property where you like to spend most of your time in?
My favorite place to sit, on my beautiful farm, is the barn aisle.
Tell me about your animals.
I have four horses and two little dogs. I am very grateful to the 2 horses that I ride because I was very broken and they have helped me become stronger and straighter, and they forgive me when my legs might not work 100%, always to return to their beautiful movement when I do better.
I’m blessed to have 2 of my retired horses living here. All the horses are good friends and a joy to be around.
What are your thoughts on training and competition? Why do you enjoy it?
I love the daily training with my horses, especially during lessons under your watchful eye. When I feel really proud of the way my horse and I go together through all the bits and pieces, then I want to show.
Do you have any advice to give people just starting the sport?
My advice to young people taking up the sport is to seek out a teacher who will lead you to greater kindness and sensitivity in your riding and in your training of your horses. You will then achieve true success.