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!