Friedman displays  transcendent passion for her sport

Bonito and Dragonfly Farm's Michelle Friedman at the PSJ March Madness Shows at Highfields Event Center. (Photo by Ben Baugh)

Dragonfly Farm's Michelle Friedman loves horses; so much so, she gave up her day job to turn professional. The horseman is showing at Progressive Show Jumping's March Madness at Highfields Event Center. The Northville, Mich.-based trainer/rider and students are exhibiting six horses during the first week of March Madness. "We wanted to get out of the winter in Michigan," said Friedman, who showed Bonito in Sunday's Mini Prix, as well as in last Friday's Welcome Stake. "I love coming to the show every year, and have been here the last three years. It's very nice at Highfields, the staff is very accommodating, and I love the town." Bonito is a 14-year-old, 17.1 hands Holsteiner, and was Friedman's High Amateur Horse before she turned professional. The two have enjoyed a great deal of success in previous mini prixs. Friedman brought five of her students with her to Aiken for the March Madness shows. She also participated in the third week of the Aiken Winter Festival. "I've had Bonito for seven years, and he's won lots of High Amateurs, Mini Prixs and Welcome Stakes," said Friedman. "His barn name is Rio." Dragonfly Farm, out of Northville, Mich., was established in 2005, and the facility has 18 stalls and an indoor arena, said Friedman. "I have people who show, I have people who are pleasure riders; we back up to a state park (Maybury State Park), so there's trail riding," said Friedman. "I have people who are dressage riders, and who are show jumpers and hunters." Friedman was introduced to horses by her father when she was 8 years old. "I really enjoyed being an amateur, and was one for a really long time, but it started to interfere with my job, so I quit my job and became a professional," said Friedman. "I love horse showing. It gives you the opportunity to go to new places."