There’s more to the American prairie than canyons and cowboys. Designer Ann Ringstrand tells us about her trip to the Amangiri Resort in the deserts of Utah.
Photography ANN RINGSTRAND Text MARLENE TOLDBOD / The Horse Rider’s Journal No.10
When Ann Ringstrand, the founder and designer of Swedish fashion brand Hope, decided she needed to re-energise after many years of hard work, she turned to the world of horses. “At first I was thinking about taking a yoga trip,” she says. “But since I was going on my own I thought that it might be too lonely, not talking at all during exercises or afterwards. So taking a riding trip seemed the natural choice.”
During the past year, there have been some structural changes in the way her brand Hope is run. Since Ann set up her first business 12 years ago, she has pretty much had a say in everything, being CEO as well as Head of Design. But now she has chosen to focus solely on the creative part of the company and has reassigned herself as Brand Director, meaning that she is responsible for the visual expression of the brand. It’s a process that has taken time, effort and energy. “I needed a little treat as a way of saying ‘good job’ to myself,” she explains, “as well as a way of getting ready for my new position in the company.”
After some thorough research and a personal recommendation, her attention was drawn to the Amangiri Resort in Utah. “I arrived at a small airport, with my little bag containing a few necessary belongings like yoga clothes, riding pants and of course Hope boots. We drove alongside ancient Navajo land, and the further we got into the canyon the more cactuses appeared.”
The Amangiri, meaning “peaceful mountain”, is located in Canyon Point, in the middle of the Southern Utah desert. It contains 35 suites in sandstone houses set in the most picturesque mountainous landscape. “It is the most fantastic place. I was there for five days and rode every day, either with a private trainer or with a small group on trips around the canyon. The horses were calm and gentle, and you got a true cowboy feeling of being on the prairie.”
Ann has been riding since she was a little girl and kept at it until she was 18, when she moved to the States for a while. But as an adult, she has rekindled her love of horses, and has begun riding again. “My daughter also rides, so it’s a great thing for us to do together. At our summerhouse, I have the best horse, a Vallack, that I love.”
Ann believes she made the right choice in going to Amangiri. “That horse-riding trip was probably one of the best investments I’ve ever made. The feeling of the place followed me home, leaving me blissfully happy for a long time after.” In fact, Ann enjoyed the trip so much that she is taking another one this November, this time with her husband and two children. “We’re going to ride in Napa Valley. That way we get to enjoy both the fine wine and the horses,” she smiles.•