Letter: Recalling Wellington’s Olden Days

It has been a very long time since I have been inspired enough to acknowledge the Town-Crier’s superior effort in defining the effect horses and their owners bring to our Village of Wellington.

My childhood was spent in Purchase, N.Y., watching George Oliver star as the leader of the Blind Brook Polo Club. Pepsi-Cola was to eventually purchase that choice piece of property, hence no more polo, race meets or competitive horse shows held on the lush parcel of green.

College, marriage and a move to Greenwich, Conn., where I was to become part of a professional team with my husband, Bob Freels, totally filled my life. We raised two daughters, now both successful riders and trainers, and I eventually moved to Florida with a new husband.

I continued to judge and steward horse shows all over the country, finally working my way to Wellington and back into the thriving equine industry.

I was here when Prince Charles and Princess Diana were guests of the polo community. We have shown at Gene Mische’s horse shows, long before the Winter Equestrian Festival became a reality. Bill Ylvisaker and Ken Adams were a big part of all in which I was involved. I give sincere thanks daily to the many who made this horse haven a reality.

Not only was Greenwich another amazing horse Mecca, but all of Westchester and Fairfield counties provided great venues for up-and-coming riders of several disciplines, and a multitude of famous trainers and riders from the 1950s to the present. Winters were often spent in such illustrious towns as Tryon and Southern Pines, Camden and Aiken, but nowhere was the concentration of horse activities such as in Wellington.

I am old enough to know all of these fabulous personalities and to admire the innovations each and every one has contributed to our unique equestrian lifestyle we so enjoy here in Wellington.

There is still space to share with horsemen of every talent, discipline and nationality. Congenial planning, friendly cooperation and open discussion will get all of us to our destination — the equestrian world spotlight will shine on Wellington.

Jeri Freels, Wellington