Meet Nadina

Nadina’s story is a pretty interesting one, this is what she shared with me:

I was born in Latvia, but ironically enough I’m not Latvian. I was born into a Russian speaking family and my roots belong to  Czech and Russian part of Ukraine. I was in love with horses ever since I can remember. I kept dreaming and drawing them till one day when I was about 10 years old I saw a horse passing by our summer house. I took my bike and followed. I probably asked 100 questions of the rider, but I found what I needed – a place where I could meet horses. My parents couldn’t afford riding lessons or own a horse, so I had to work hard at a stud farm looking after mares and foals, mucking out, cleaning the yard. I learned riding bareback there. The most important thing I learned was about the horse itself! I learned all about their nature, how to respect it and how to let the horse feel comfortable with myself and people around.

Of course I always kept drawing. Winning competitions with my art was just as normal for me. I knew one day I would be an artist and I knew horses would be beside me.

One sunny day a bad traffic accident happened to me and it seemed life would never be as colorful again as before. The doctors wanted to remove my leg from the top of the knee, I had bleeding in my head and my spine was damaged. For 3 years I believed I was dying. Of course there were no horses around and loads of people didn’t want to communicate with me as I was depressed. I was dead alive.

Then one day I was looking at my riding gear. I began to cry, and then I decided – I must find horses! And I found them. I started working at a big show jumping yard to take care of horses after they were injured, grooming, loving them, walking in hand with them. My legs were sore, I was lame and weak. The horses took care of me. Day by day I felt better and in couple of months I was able to ride.  Nobody would notice I had such bad injuries. Horses gave me another chance to live and I love them just for that!

I became trainer in the yard, breaking and re-schooling horses. As I always say there is not a bad horse; There are stubborn people. All my horses always became like dogs, even stallions were focused only on me. We were best friends. I just enjoyed my new life beside them. I kept my dream of being an artist, but I had to work for my education. I finished Art College and later University. I had a break in painting and got some commissions. I did loads of photography, had a brilliant social life around horsey people.

Family life brought me to Ireland and a new beginning that wasn’t that easy. I missed horses badly and I decided: if I can’t have horse beside me in reality, I will keep doing my equestrian arts and have them in my images. I developed a business in Ireland of photography services, started painting again and found it comes more easily and better than years ago. Then a day came when I was offered to ride on daily basis, re-schooling racing horse. I do mostly flatwork. Some would call it dressage, I call it therapy for myself and at the same time doing something good for horses and their owners

I’m a lucky girl! I’m riding, I’m taking photographs and I do painting — all about horses. They are deep in my heart. They are my life!

I was able to ask Nadina a bit more about her art work and what she’s been up to recently.  This is what she had to say:

 Any observations on equestrian fashion styles in Ireland?  

 I must say  Ireland is not very  fashionable.  Most Irish people are practical because of weather  conditions.  Function rules over Fashion! Where I come from, the riding style and  fashion mostly  comes  from Germany and  The Netherlands. In Ireland, I don’t see Pikeur’s, Cavallo’s  or Eskardon‘s  newest  collections, but it is absolutely common to see that where I come from.   I always wore  my  Cavallo dressage shiny  boots and had loads  of different stylish breeches and  body warmers to match as well my  horse’s outfits.  In Ireland,  I  bought  cheaper  boots and  most  of the year  I have to wear  raincoat- It’s not very stylish!  

Do you focus or specialize in a particular equestrian sport with your art?

 I don’t have to focus on some special sports,  I am happy  to do anything where horses are involved whether its western, freedom or classic sports.  My new  obsession is  hunting stuff.. it’s  timeless  and  very classic. I love traditional things!

Nadina was one of the photographers for a World Record Breaking Event!  The largest gathering of 50 Side Saddle Ladies met and went out for a big day of Foxhunting with the Meath Hunt in January.

At the Meath Hunt,   I absolutely fell in  love with French ladies, their outfits are  very unusual for  my eye, so of course they  stood out.  Most of the ladies wore classic British habits. 


It was a very special foxhunt.  Ladies and Gentlemen gathered from all over France, England, Ireland, even the United States was there!  Several travelers took a horsey holiday from Middleburg Hunt, VA.

While Nadina is not running around the countryside taking pictures, she’s in deep concentration in her studio painting!  She has challenged herself to 100 days, 100 paintings!  Several artists have done this challange before… She posts her pictures on facebook and her website.

Well … the idea of  the challenge is not original, I have seen some other artists do it before.  I love challenging myself, but still I don’t  like pressure, so this challenge is mostly for myself. The main thing  for me is to learn and experiment  with  different  techniques of painting, do something I did ages ago in college or  try something  new.  I learn something  new with every  piece I do, especially  because the time I spend on every painting is no more than a few hours from sketch to  finishing strokes, no time for mistakes. I find it  relaxing and inspiring. 

Here are some examples of her 100 paintings!

She will be finishing her 100 day challenge in April!  At the end of this journey,  one lucky fan will win and original!

If you are a fan of Nadina, check out her website and follow her on Facebook!


March 5, 2013

2 Replies to “Ironia Art & Photography…Capturing the heart of Horses, Ireland and me!”

  1. Corinna says: March 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    What a beautiful and inspiring story! Thanks to you both for sharing with us readers! The painting and photography is stunning. The leaping side-saddle daredevil made me gasp. Loved it all!

  2. Allison says: March 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Lovely article. I recently discovered Nadina and enjoy seeing her work on Facebook and her website/blog.

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