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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Amateur Exhibitor Madison Nirenstein

Amateur competitor Madison Nirenstein looks forward to a promising year in the show arena. She will be showing her two horses, No Doubt Im Trouble (Danica) and Hubbout A Dance (Henry) under the guidance of Highpoint Performance Horses.

In terms of goals this year, Madison says she is hoping to do well at the big shows in the trail and equitation.

“There are moments where you feel like you click with your horse, and I feel like Danica and I have really come together as a team in the trail,” Madison shared. “This is my last year in the novice, so I’m very excited for the NSBA World Show and Congress.”

The duo just won the circuit championship at the Prairie Classic in the Novice Amateur Trail.

Nirenstein told us that Hubbout A Dance started learning the equitation last year and has really stepped up. “Ashley Bailey has been teaching him and has does a phenomenal job,” Nirenstein says. “We ended up winning the L3 Amateur Equitation circuit at the Prairie Classic as well, which I was extremely proud about, considering it’s a huge step from L1 to L3.”

Nirenstein continues, “One of my main goals is winning the Congress. I’ve been a bridesmaid multiple times, but have never won my own Congress Championship. Hopefully, this year will provide me the practice I need to achieve that goal.”

We wish Madison and her horses continued success in 2021.

While many in the industry may know of her equestrian accomplishments, Madison’s life outside of horses has been even more fascinating.

1) I founded my own company during the middle of COVID.

Google hired me straight out of college to help businesses with their marketing efforts. After working there for a little under two years, I recognized a serious need for paid ad marketing expertise – Google and Facebook advertising – and a lack of structure in many companies’ marketing and social media plans.

With the knowledge I gained at Google and my own social media expertise, I took a massive leap of faith and left the corporate world to found Limitless Marketing Management. I now consult with various businesses on their branding, website design & user-ability, social media engagement & growth, and paid ads services.

It took some serious thought to make this change during a global pandemic, but I could not have imagined a better start and am looking forward to my company’s future! Not to mention, I can do my job from anywhere globally, which makes horse showing a bit easier.

2) I was a competitive drag racer.

My entire family has always had an interest in cars. As soon as I got my high school license, my dad taught me how to drag race. I began to compete at Sonoma Raceway in the Wednesday Night Drags. I quickly realized I had a knack for racing and would compete almost every week.

Each division had a year-end award, very similar to what we have for AQHA and NSBA. The person with the most wins throughout the year is granted the title and a huge trophy. In bracket racing, you not only have to win one race but every single race that night.

So for me to “win the night,” I sometimes had to compete six to ten times, winning every single time, to claim the title for the night. Then, the same process would repeat every week. I ended up as the only woman to win any of the seven divisions, ten points ahead of second place.

3) I’ve traveled to 19 different countries.

It is usually a bit hard between work and riding to find time to spend a week or two in another country. However, whenever I get the opportunity, I jump on it. Seeing other parts of the world and different cultures is fascinating to me, and I’m trying to check places off my list that are a little more “off the beaten path.”

The most exotic place I’ve traveled to is Egypt. I went with my family when I was younger, and we rode camels to the Pyramids of Giza. However, my all-time favorite spots are probably Croatia, Italy, or Indonesia.

4) In middle school, I had to pick between gymnastics and horseback riding.

In middle school, I was competing in both gymnastics and horses. Because of the time commitment and the fact that horse shows and meets usually landed on weekends, my parents told me I had to choose which one I wanted to pursue. At the time, this was a rather challenging decision.

Because I am a very competitive person (with myself), I decided to pursue riding, as I knew it was far more likely to get to the World Championships for horses than it was gymnastics. At this point, both felt like a far off dream. And, let’s just say…I wasn’t the best gymnast. Looking at how horses have shaped my life, and knowing what I know now, this decision should have been a no-brainer. Horses always come first.

5) My grandparents got me into riding when I was 6.

No one in my family was involved in the horse world. My grandparents found a summer camp and suggested my parents take me to it as a fun pastime. My mom signed me up, and the day we showed up to camp, I started crying and didn’t want to get out of the car. I guess I was afraid of the horses.

My mom has never “forced” me to do anything, but I will be forever grateful that she made me get out of that car since it was paid for, and in her words, “I was SURE going.” I’ve been riding ever since. I’ve only taken one small 6-month break from riding during my freshman year of college. I think my parents were still convinced it was a phase. They quickly realized I couldn’t live without it, and I bought my horse, Danica, soon after.

6) I have run into or hung out with an abnormal amount of famous people.

My friends joke that I have super random luck with running into famous people. I have run into people in the airport, at events, and through mutual connections. Because my brother is one of the top automotive YouTubers, and I have some social platforms myself, we have found ourselves in the presence of more and more big names. It’s pretty cool. I’ve met or spent time with Kevin Hart, Selena Gomez, Yungblud, Jeffree Star, Pitbull, Psy, and E-40, to name a few.

7) I would have never guessed I’d win my first gold globe in Amateur Pleasure Driving.

In 2020, I began driving my horse, Henry. Driving is relatively hard to practice all the time because you need a big arena, and the conditions have to be just right. Because of this, I practiced one time with my trainer (Charlie Cole) at Highpoint, and then, my first time alone in the cart was showing at the Sun Circuit. I guess he had a lot more faith in me than I did myself.

We ended up qualifying for the world show in Arizona. We then got some practice at the Big A and headed straight to NSBA, where we were Reserve in the Amateur Driving. I had a total of four shows before the world show to learn to drive and prepare. I was extremely nervous and just wanted to show off how beautiful Henry is in the driving. I would never have imagined we would win the world that year. It’s a true testament to Highpoint for getting me prepared quickly as COVID made horse showing challenging and to Henry for being such an amazing horse.

8) I love the gym & working out…but I hate running.

I usually go to the gym about five days per week because I love lifting weights and staying healthy. However, I hate running. I will do just about anything but run. I started picking up the Peloton and recognized that maybe stationary biking is more my thing. Funny enough, showmanship is one of my favorite events. I don’t mind running if there’s a purpose.

9) I double majored in Neuroscience & Political Science at the University of Michigan.

Everyone always asks me how these majors could relate, and while I do have a pretty well thought out answer, it truly boils down to separate interests. I initially thought I wanted to go to law school and quickly realized that four more years of grueling education was not for me. I also knew I didn’t want to become a doctor but found neuroscience fascinating.

Luckily for me, a software sales internship crossed my path and led me to work for a company called Qualtrics in Dallas, Texas. This gave me the marketing and sales expertise I needed to get a job in that field.

10) I wouldn’t say I like the cold, but I’ve been living in Michigan for six years.

After moving to Michigan for college, I was set on getting back home to California. I had my one-way ticket booked but was reached out to on LinkedIn by a Google recruiter. I thought it had to be fake because I didn’t know Google reached out to people via LinkedIn, so I let it sit in my inbox for quite some time.

I finally decided to respond, figuring I had nothing to lose. Four interviews later, I got the job, and they told me I would be working out of the Ann Arbor, Mi office. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity and ended up staying in Michigan for two more years.

For someone who hates the cold…Michigan wasn’t ideal. I’m moving back to California in May and will run my business from there. I will miss being able to drive to the Congress, though. In college, I went back and forth between my events and classes. There was one week where I drove back and forth a total of five times.