One of our absolute favourite parts of getting to know any business is getting to know the PEOPLE behind the brand, their why, and their vision!
We spend a lot of time putting our heads together and making sure we continue to build a business and platform that aligns perfectly with both our values and visions for helping our horse industry. We have dedicated many, many hours into creating something we are both proud to say we are the cofounders of and cannot wait to share where we are headed!
With that, we want to show you who “us” and “we” refer to when we are sharing information and stories, be that on our podcast, Canada Horse Podcast, or any of our social media platforms! We are both passionate equestrians who have joined forces to enable both our strengths to show and grow!
Our combined experience in business and horses, along with our unshakable confidence in our vision is the driving force behind our brand and we cannot wait to connect with Equestrians all across Canada as we continue on our journey! We are committed to informing equestrians with the: education, experiences, products, and people that will help close that gap.
We come from two very different backgrounds in the horse industry and after having started in new disciplines in the past few years, we see a gap in the accessibility to quality education and knowledge for all horse owners. We know how it feels to want to belong to a community of like minded equestrians where we no longer have to worry about judgments, inconveniencing others or being divided by discipline or location.
Meet the Informed Equestrian Team: Nadine Smith & Nikki Porter:
Nikki grew up in the competitive world and was immersed in horse education through heavy involvement in pony club from the age of 9-18, achieving her ‘B’ level at the early age of 16 and competing in the International Pony Club Quiz that same year.
Her competitive world brought her to the Royal at 14 where she competed on her large hunter pony, Valhalla. Nikki continued to show hunters until she graduated high school and went off to university where she studied English and Sociology, eventually graduating from the University of Maine with her Bachelor of Secondary Education. After teaching in the classroom for nine years Nikki resigned and is now an author, podcast host and Equestrian Mindset Coach.
Growing up, Nikki always had someone she could turn to if she lacked understanding in any area from riding, horse care, and everything in between due to pony club, which allowed for various forms of education through camps, classroom lectures, competitive quiz trips, achievement of levels, clinics and more, her close relationship with her grandfather and riding coach. Now as an adult, in her effort to up her horsemanship and reining skills to a higher level, she realized there was much more to be learned and finding accessible, like minded trainers with similar values wasn’t as easy as she once thought.
Nikki now sees that her experience of feeling supported and guided as a new rider is not shared by all horse owners. Through her friendship with Nadine and others, clinics and clients she teaches, she sees that horse ownership happens on various levels and the degrees in which people are supported through quality education are vast.
Nadine did not quite have the same foundation of support and knowledge to grow as a young horsewoman starting out. Throughout her journey, she worked hard to gain as much knowledge as possible and actively sought the support she needed.
Nadine fell in love with horses when she was introduced to them at her neighbor’s Standardbred race barn in rural PEI when she was only six. She’ll never forget the night her mom asked if she’d be interested in starting riding lessons; at nine years old she officially started riding English and her passion for horses has continued to grow ever since.
Nadine’s grandfather bought her her very first (totally green and sassy) pony, Holly Nova, and shortly thereafter came her foal, Rocky. Holly and Rocky boarded at the barn next door and Nadine assumed total responsibility for their care at 13 years old.
Where (and when) she grew up, there weren’t opportunities to join organizations like Pony Club or 4H, and through the years, accessibility to coaches and lesson programs wasn’t consistent. Throughout her journey she worked hard to gain as much knowledge as possible and actively sought after the support she needed. She did manage to find her teenage dream job working at a riding stable and stayed there for many years, eventually managing the day to day operations and care for the 25+ horses.
After several years of focusing on her career and moving around Canada with her husband, Nadine was finally able to live out her dreams of buying a reining horse and entering the world of competition. The challenge was – she was now in Nova Scotia, didn’t know anyone in the industry and was unsure where to look for information on how to get started.
Every year, it seems that things get more clear and she gets more confident entering the ring or trusting her own intuition. Often though, she has noticed others in similar situations to what she has experienced and wished there was something she could do to help them feel more comfortable with their horses, around their peers and in the arena.
Informed Equestrian is designed to help equestrians make informed choices for themselves and their horses from the development of their skills to the bedding or bits they choose, all while creating a more positive and inclusive equestrian community through their non-judgmental and open-minded approach.
As fellow, passionate horse owners we offer educated and researched information for you to make informed choices for yourself leaving you feeling informed in all areas of your horsemanship. We offer you the WHY behind options for you and your horse, leaving you the freedom to choose what is best based on your needs, not the needs or opinions of others.
Through our social media, blog, podcast, and future courses, we teach you to stand confident in your knowledge & understanding, allowing you to walk away from judgement and criticism in the horse world and into a life with horses that focuses on what is truly important, the privilege of owning, caring for, and loving our horses.