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Equine Community Rallies to Help Ukrainian Equestrian and Ad Designer Nika Parsoni

Fourteen days after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Nika Parsoni left her town of Odessa for safety in Romania. There was no work in Ukraine, and Parsoni had to find a way to support her family.

“My family, my dogs stayed in Ukraine,” she said. “I left to help my family with money and food. I am the only one who can work and help at the moment. There is no work in Ukraine, and my parents cannot leave for many reasons.”

Taking up an interest in animals when she was 15, Parsoni began show jumping at a friend’s farm, and still competes in the amateur division today. Five years ago, she also became interested in photography, which eventually led to her designing ads for dogs and horses.

“I started to get more interested in photography, and became an animal photographer. My favorite things to photograph were dogs and horses,” Parsoni said. “I decided that I want to connect my career with animals, so I started developing spiritually through photography, then creatively through design. Here in Odessa, we don’t really need designs like the ones I make. It’s not really appreciated, and very little money is paid for it.”

But, knowing she needed to be able to send money to her parents, Parsoni posted on Facebook asking the equine industry for help.

“I charge $65 for my work. I really need this job, I try to provide for my family during the war,” she wrote. “I know that I’m not a popular designer, and few people know me, but I’m asking for help.”

Over 150 likes and 250 shares later, the equine community is answering her call. People are commenting messages of support and placing orders with Parsoni. Horse show exhibitor Lydia Menossi ordered a design from Parsoni, and was thrilled with the results.

“I found her on Facebook and saw she was looking for customers. I noticed how amazing her ads were and how truly talented she was. She is so willing and easy to work with. She created exactly what I asked for,” Menossi said. “I highly recommend working with her as she is so sweet and truly humble.”

Parsoni elaborated on her process, which involves a discussion with the customer about their preferences, searching for the right backgrounds, matching the background to the customer’s photos, and finally showing it to her customer for approval.

“My favorite thing about designing ads is pleasing the customer,” she said. “And the development of the design itself – to create something special for everyone that will be loved.”

Parsoni was grateful for all of the support she has received thus far.

“Ordering a design is the best way for me and my family,” she explained. “I’ve also been trying to help shelters and stables, because there is the possibility of humanitarian catastrophe in our country. It has already begun in many regions.”

“War is hard. Nobody expected this to happen. We live in uncertainty,” she added. “Life during war changes a lot, especially the psychological aspect. I want everyone to learn about things like war only from books or the news, not in real life.”

If you want to help, you can order an ad from Parsoni by messaging her on Facebook, which is linked here.

About the Author – Olivia Bradish has been an equestrian for 15 years. She attends the University of Michigan and works for The Michigan Daily. Olivia shows the all-around events with her horse, CSR Roan Bar Penny, known around the barn as London. They enjoy showing in the showmanship, horsemanship, equitation, and trail.