Follow your heart

September 5, 2023

Empowering Young Dreams: Cadence Cotter’s Equestrian Venture

Cadence Cotter, just 12 years old, is not only a passionate equestrian but also the proud Métis owner of Manes and Reins Equestrian Co based in Linwood, Ontario. Her entrepreneurial journey began out of necessity. “To be able to afford extra lessons on my pony and to be able to show,” Cadence reveals, she had to think out of the box. With her mother’s laser business as a backdrop, Cadence inquired, “Were there things I could make that could help me pay for more riding lessons and show passes?”

Today, Manes and Reins Equestrian Co. offers custom products for equestrians and their horses. What began with stall signs evolved into a line of ribbon holders and has now expanded to a line of Ojibway Spirit Horse-themed items. Speaking about her journey, Cadence says, “I’ve been doing this for almost three years… Last weekend I talked to [a local store] and they agreed to carry them!”

But this is not just a business for Cadence; it’s a mission. She donates a portion of her sales to barns aiming to resurrect the endangered Ojibway Spirit Horse Breed. Her latest line features these majestic beasts, “I am most proud of my new line of Ojibway Spirit Horse keychains, necklaces, and earrings.”

Navigating the business world at such a young age is not without its challenges. Cadence admits, “I have a hard time talking to stores… I get nervous and don’t always know what to say.” Yet, she remains undeterred, with the steady support of her family and mentors. Eddy Paul from Futupreneur and Sergio Islas from Best Buy, both mentors to Cadence, emphasize the ‘social enterprise’ aspect of her venture. Sergio especially advised her to highlight her age, proving that the youth can indeed be trailblazers.

Community, according to Cadence, is at the heart of her entrepreneurial journey. Drawing inspiration from her mother’s work ethic and dedication to the community, Cadence believes in originality and creating a positive impact. “That whatever I do needs to positively impact my community, and my community is the horse world and the Indigenous community so doing both,” she says.

Her advice to budding entrepreneurs is a blend of her own journey and the teachings of her mentors. “Go to your community for support,” Cadence emphasizes. 

Register to watch Cadence pitch at the Youth Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 14, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Manes and Reins Equestrian Co. to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#54) before September 17, 2023.