ASHA Leadership Spotlight: Nicole Foster
Published Date: Sep 01, 2020
Written by Katelyn Norris
Nicole Foster was first introduced to the American Saddlebred when she was only 8 years old and it has been a “life-long love affair ever since.”
“I literally fell in love with it [the American Saddlebred] the first time I saw it. It was so beautiful and memorable and different from any other horse I had ever seen,” Foster said. “In that moment I knew I wanted to ride that horse.”
A native of Minnesota, Foster now currently resides in Texas. She is a 2020 Honorary Board Member and is heavily involved with the new Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. She spent over 14 years giving lessons and training young people with her own business. Starting in 1994, she has spent years showing her own Saddlebreds.
Foster began her own lesson and training business in 2006 and cites it as one of the most challenging things she has ever done. She took on multiple lessons in any effort to bring in business. Following the 2008 economic recession, she began to hone her business by taking on more serious clients; many went on to win prestigious titles.
“I trained National Champions, World’s Champions, Reserved World’s Champions, Highpoint Champions. I just had a lot of fun,” Foster said.
Before she pursued a full time job as a trainer, Foster was an interior designer. She did contemporary design for residential and commercial spaces. In recent years, she has received her realtor license and is a full-time realtor. She said she is enjoying mixing her interior designing skills with her realtor job because clients come to her for design help.
“I love helping people, I love helping families specifically to make a plan and make a vision and go with it,” Foster said. “I can go in there with my design background and say absolutely, do this, do this, do this. It’s a parley into my full time job.”
Foster brings this love of helping others into the Saddlebred community as well. Through being a part of the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives she is helping create a safe environment for everyone. Some of the initiatives include diversity and inclusion training and education and to dismantle inherent and unconscious bias toward BIPOC.
“…[H]aving gone through, being very often the only person of color on the grounds of a horse show, or having experiences that my white counterparts weren’t having, was a little lonely at times,” Foster said.
Foster hopes through the Diversity and Inclusion efforts that young people of color within the American Saddlebred community will know they have a backing for themselves. She never wants them to feel as alone as she did.
“My goal is to help the next generation of exhibitors and trainers and help them know that they can have a place in this industry and there is a place for all of us in this business,” Foster said.
Foster has also previously been awarded the United Professional Horseman’s Association “Person of the Year” twice. For Foster, this award is a great honor as it is a peer-voted award.
“Those two probably mean the most to me; I have a lot of great memories and things that I am proud of that I have done professionally in the horse industry,” Foster said. “But knowing that my peers respected me enough to give me that honor is definitely a highlight.”
Foster brings her multitude of experiences to ASHA, and she hopes to continue to change the Saddlebred community for the better.
“I’ve been an amateur, I’ve been a trainer, an owner, I’ve bred mares for people. I kind of have a lot of varied experience with the industry and the different relationships that are required. I want to continue forging those relationships with people,” Foster said.
ASHA is working with Katelyn Norris, a talented writing intern and Journalism student from Bellarmine University, to spotlight volunteers dedicated their time and efforts to ASHA, our members and the American Saddlebred community. We look forward to sharing more of our leader’s Saddlebred Stories!