California Riding Magazine • August, 2012

Healthy Horse Boutique:
Marian Nilsen
Rider and trainer parlays her passion
into thriving business.

Q: You have become a familiar face. Some recognize you as a rider or trainer while others associate you with Healthy Horse Boutique. Who is Marian Nilsen?
I am someone who has spent a lifetime loving and caring for horses. Horses are my passion. I believe there is a hidden jewel in every horse and I have found some great ways to bring the best out in horses. I also believe every owner wants to do the same. So when I found things that worked I wanted to share. Healthy Horse Boutique is a result of me sharing. Sometimes as owners we spend more time worrying than riding. I just try to make it easier for owners to care for their horses so they can spend more time enjoying their horses.

Healthy Horse Boutique owner Marian Nilsen
enjoying what she loves - working with happy and healthy horses.

Q: What is Healthy Horse Boutique?
It's a health food store for horses.

Q: What led you to create a health food store for horses?
I was the girl who did so much for her horses I never quite knew or understood what was working and what wasn't. My horses seemed fine but I couldn't tell you why. However, I could rattle off a list of "stuff" I did. Then one day a naturopath took me under her wing. She taught me to take everything back to basics. As a result my horses bloomed! I got it!

Q: Got what?
Feed and supplement in a way that supports my horses so I can prevent a lot of health and training problems.

Healthy horses are happy horses.

Q: How is this a health food store for horses?
I learned how much of what I fed my horses was overprocessed. Their bodies were busy processing their processed food and supplements! I also learned to find feed and supplements without chemicals, fillers and sugars: it wasn't easy. To make it harder I also wanted them organic and non-GMO. And the big one... they needed to work! Once I found the basics and saw the results, I needed to let everyone know. Finally, there is a one stop shop for owners looking for products that do what they say they will do without the use of harsh or harmful ingredients.

Q: What are the standards you use to choose products?
I need to know the product works and to trust the manufacturer. I have a deep love for horses and respect for the owner's hard-earned income. If I cannot look that horse and owner in the eye and tell them it works, then I will not sell it.

Marian Nilsen aboard Romeo.

Because Healthy Horse Boutique is the only health food store for horses, I am approached by many manufacturers looking for a place to sell their products. There's a lot of stuff out there making claims but they don't deliver results. I do the legwork of weeding out those products so my customer doesn't have to. I know all my manufacturers personally. They are willing to go the extra mile to help my customer.

Q: On your web site you also have performance, fashion, grooming and Lotions & Potions.
It just seemed silly to make all these healthy choices then start grooming with chemicals, so I added grooming supplies.
Performance is for horses and people. I have products for athletes. Everything from an energy drink (NRG) for people looking for more endurance, mental focus and stamina (without caffeine or sugar so we can sleep!), to products to help muscle growth and for when we overdo it.

I created Lotions & Potions to fill a void. Horsey Lip Balm can be used to replace petroleum. The Rider Butter I made for myself. Sometimes I tweak my neck or back stacking hay or packing my horse trailer. This releases muscle tension and relaxes the mind.

Q: How do you balance your riding and teaching, with running Healthy Horse Boutique and maintaining a personal life?
They all intertwine - the riding, teaching, and traveling with HHB. To teach well, I need to ride well; to ride well I need to be healthy and
so do the horses. It is all one for me. So, my Healthy Horse Boutique carries products to keep everyone healthy.

Maintaining a life outside the horses is a learned skill. I teach, train and do business better with a clear head. I love the mountains and living in Colorado allows me quick easy access to all the activities I enjoy. Nothing like a few hours of skiing to put things back into perspective!

Healthy Horse Boutique offers supplements that are healthy and
easy to feed and your horse will enjoy eating them.

Q: Any final comments?
Building a health food store for horses is a big task, but important. I have spent a lifetime earning the trust of not only local horse enthusiasts but several of the industry's top riders. I just want owners to have a place they can go to get advice they can trust. It's about freeing up time and money and creating healthy horses so that we can all go to the barn and do what we love...enjoy our horse.

I invite everyone to share with me on facebook (, where I post specials, or visit the web site (, where I share all my favorite products.