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Saddlebred Story Spotlight: Falling in Love with the Process for Nicole Foster

Nicole Foster was first introduced to the American Saddlebred when she was only 8 years old. She started taking riding lessons at Bob Jensen Stables in Lakeville, MN in 1986 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, Nicole now currently resides in Texas. Nicole began her own lesson and training business in 2006 and cites it as one of the most challenging things she has ever done. She spent over 14 years giving lessons and training young people with her own business. Nicole has trained National Champions, World’s Champions, Reserved World’s Champions and Highpoint Champions. Nicole’s success has earned her the United Professional Horseman’s Association peer-voted award of “Person of the Year” twice. 

Nicole served as an ASHA Honorary Board Member in 2020. She has been a leader in developing and perusing expanded Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for our association.  Nicole is passionate about creating 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. 

Nicole 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. 

Nicole’s 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. 

Saddlebred Story Spotlight Q & A with Nicole Foster

Favorite memory with the American Saddlebred?

Showing my junior mare, CH Highpoint’s Syncopated Rhythm, at the American Royal to a very appreciative crowd! She was quite a handful in the warm up but put on a great show once we made it down the chute. 

Proudest accomplishment with the American Saddlebred?

I’ve been very blessed to have had a great career with many highlights but probably winning the Lexington Junior League Five Gaited Pleasure and Three Gaited 13 & under Junior Exhibitor qualifiers and championship classes at the last Red Mile. It was a memorable week indeed!

What is one piece of advice you have for enjoying the American Saddlebred?  

Fall in love with the process- not the finish line. These horses have so many gifts to offer that if you only focus on the next win you could miss the best part of just being around them.  

How has the American Saddlebred impacted your life? 

They introduced me to a career that I loved, friends that I cherished, and a farm to call home. I’m forever grateful for being a part of the Saddlebred world.