Unbridled Equestrian Pursuits

Unbridled Equestrian Pursuits Michael And Natalie Nicodema Are On A Quest To Transform Wellington’s Legal And Wellness Landscape


By Vyla Carter and Olivia Parr

In Wellington, where equestrian pursuits reign supreme, a dynamic duo has emerged as transformative figures, seamlessly blending the worlds of law, wellness and the love of horses.

Michael and Natalie Nicodema, a husband-and-wife team with more than three decades of shared history, have not only made indelible marks in their respective fields but have also left an enduring impact here in Wellington.

Michael Nicodema is a seasoned trial lawyer and principal shareholder at Greenberg Traurig PA’s West Palm Beach office. With a career spanning 30 years, he has earned a reputation as a versatile trial attorney, tackling everything from intellectual property cases to civil rights issues. However, it was his keen observation of the underserved legal needs within the equestrian industry that led him to initiate a groundbreaking venture.

“Two and a half years ago, during COVID-19, I finally decided, ‘You know what, I’m going to see if this is going to work,” Michael recalled. “So, I got together more than 50 top lawyers in my firm to cover all the practice areas you might think an equestrian, or someone in the polo world, or even the racing world, would need for their everyday business ventures.”

This initiative resulted in the formation of Greenberg Traurig’s Equine Industry Group, a legal sanctuary catering to the intricate needs of the equestrian world. Michael emphasizes the group’s vast expertise, covering areas crucial to equestrians, polo enthusiasts and racing aficionados alike.

As part of one of America’s largest and most prestigious law firms, the Equine Industry Group serves as a legal advocate for those deeply embedded in the equine sector.

Michael sheds light on common topics within the industry, ranging from transactional concerns like horse import taxes to litigation issues tied to buying and selling horses. “Whether it’s environmental, corporate, the sale of a barn or a dispute over a horse sale, you gotta know horses. And we know horses,” he said.

Beyond his legal endeavors, Michael has embraced the world of podcasting, providing a unique lens into the equestrian lifestyle. “That’s when I started thinking about a podcast,” he said. “And I started doing it, very low tech, by cell phone, interviewing the guests at really nice equestrian venues, the polo club or Global… Now we’re going to start doing some at Wellington International.”

One of Michael’s favorite podcast episodes delves into the unexpected synergy between law and cuisine.

“I think my favorite podcast was with Tim Gannon, the co-founder of Outback Steakhouse. Great polo man and a great entrepreneur,” he recalled. “It was such a free and easy discussion. One of the things we talked about was how Tim invented the Bloomin’ Onion, which is one of the signature appetizers on the Outback Steakhouse menu. Whatever topic I teed up, Tim’s words and stories had me 100 percent locked in. I could have talked with him for hours.”

While Michael extends legal support to the equestrian community, Natalie pursues her lifelong passion for riding horses while making significant contributions to community wellness. From her early days riding with clubs to owning and showing several horses throughout her riding career, Natalie found solace and balance in her connection with horses.

Inspired by a year-long illness, she transitioned from nursing to establishing her health and wellness coaching practice. “I’ve always been fascinated by health and wellness,” Natalie said.

Her illness became the catalyst for exploring alternative paths to well-being beyond conventional medicine. Now, through coaching, she assesses individuals’ lifestyles, environments and diets, guiding them to optimal health. Natalie’s coaching has not only transformed lives but also extended the lifespans of those with low life expectancies due to cancer.

“Being a champion or mental toughness comes through the body first,” Natalie advises equestrians. “If your body’s not strong because you slept badly, you didn’t feed it, you’re injured, you’re not going to feel that confidence that you need to be that winner in the ring.”

Her engagement in the horse world has been a conduit for change. “Every time you help somebody, you’re really helping a multitude of other people,” she said, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between equestrians and their horses, and urging riders to prioritize their well-being to be true partners with their equine counterparts.

Whether in the legal arena or the stables, Michael and Natalie commit themselves to the Wellington and horse-loving communities.

“We are just so passionate about the industry and horses, and we want to do everything we can to make sure that horses in equestrian sports are treated with the respect, dignity, love and care they deserve because for horse lovers like us, they are very, very special,” Michael said.

In the narrative of the Nicodemas, law and wellness converge in a harmonious blend, enriching the Wellington community and echoing the timeless bond between humans and horses. Through their unwavering dedication, this power couple continues to shape the narrative of Wellington’s legal and wellness landscapes, leaving an indelible imprint on the community they hold dear.