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#27 A holistic approach to wellness for equestrians with Ifa Simmonds

Ifa Simmonds is a certified fitness professional with over a decade of experience working with, coaching, and instructing people over their fitness hurdles and towards their goals. Ifa has spent 6 years now helping equestrians with their riding fitness challenges in areas related to stability, suppleness, strength, and stamina.

Realizing that many equestrian clients have prior injuries, imbalances, overuse strains, and have fallen off without proper recovery, which are all issues that continue to affect their riding and competitive confidence, Ifa developed a systemized approach to their fitness training that allowed them to make the most progress. This program strengthens rider weaknesses for more impactful riding, while enhancing the overall technique for an enjoyable, effective, and efficient riding experience.

On this episode, we discuss fitness, nutrition, and mindset for equestrians, how to get started, common blocks like making time, overcoming challenges, and more.

Podcast Transcript

This transcript was created by an AI and has not been proofread.

This transcript was created by AI and has not been proofread

[SPEAKER 2]Welcome to the Equestrian Connection podcast from wehorse, the online riding academy. My name’s Danielle Kroll, and I’m your host. On this week’s episode, we’re talking with Ifa Simmonds, a certified fitness professional with over a decade of experience working with, coaching, and instructing people over their fitness hurdles and towards their goals. Ifa has spent nine years now helping equestrians with their riding fitness challenges in areas related to stability, suppleness, strength, and stamina. Realizing that many equestrian clients have prior injuries, imbalances, overuse strains, and have fallen off without proper recovery, which are all issues that continue to affect their riding and competitive confidence, Ifa developed a systemized approach to their fitness training that allowed them to make the most progress. This program strengthens rider weaknesses for more impactful riding while enhancing their overall technique for an enjoyable, effective, and efficient riding experience. Equestrian fitness is a hot topic, so I can’t wait to chat with Ifa and learn more. Let’s get started. Welcome to the Equestrian Connection podcast, Ifa. I’m so excited to have you here. And as I mentioned before we started recording, I think this is going to be a really popular episode. So welcome.

[SPEAKER 1]Thank you so much for having me. I am extremely excited for today’s talk and let’s get going.

[SPEAKER 2]Awesome. So let’s start at the very beginning. How did you get into horses and what were your first few years like as an equestrian?

[SPEAKER 1]A really good question. I actually, it’s funny because I’ve been hearing this phrase more and more often, which is I didn’t grow up in a horse family. So my family by background is more nature-specific than they are animal-specific. However, I like to blend the two of those. So I’ve always loved horses. And ever since I had my first little bouncy mechanical horse when I was a little baby named Quaqua. That was my first introduction to horses, not a live one. But from that day, based on where we were geographically and financially, just didn’t have the opportunity and access to reach out to equestrians or to even be nearby. So I grew up in a city and this just doesn’t really kind of happen often. It’s not where I am in New Jersey. I got into horses officially around 17 years old at my first gym job with one of my trainer co-workers. She was an avid equestrian and owned her own farm and had a bunch of horses and she used to run trail rides for people, but it wasn’t anything that was, you know, on a major scale, but she just loved it. So she always invited us to come over and And I took advantage of that. And the first time I actually got on the horse was around that same age. I just fell in love with it. So I would go as often as I possibly could and she would hook me up and I would get discounts or even just come in, you know, help out and, you know, I need to do it for free. And so that happened for, I don’t even remember, maybe I was at that job for a couple of years. So a couple of years from there and then life happened and she moved on and sold the farm and I moved on into different jobs. And it just has been more sporadic since that timeframe. But to answer the rest of that question, my first experiences in the first years of it were absolutely amazing. And, you know, something that I wish I had the opportunity to experience so much earlier. So I really, really look forward to the ability to ride more often, because I ride for pleasure now, trail riding, and I’ve taken some lessons in different disciplines, which I really enjoy. But that’s pretty much what I would say.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, I think that, you know, in terms of like, I wish I had started earlier and that it’s like, well, at least you started, you know, like, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s always nice to no matter what age, you know, to experience the benefits of horses. So when you met your coworker and you know, got into horses that way, how did you begin to merge? Okay, so I work in the fitness industry, you know, I train people and then now I want to train equestrians specifically, like how did that come about?

[SPEAKER 1]That’s a fantastic question and a question I’m asked often. Like, what, how? Funny enough, that actually, that merger happened a few years later. It did not happen at that first gym job, which was not in a Horse Central or specific area at all. But my second job, I worked in a fitness studio. Are you familiar with New Jersey at all?

[SPEAKER 2]I’m not, so I’m here in Canada, so, you know.

[SPEAKER 1]Well, there’s a major horse population here and it’s in different pockets. So the first pocket that I had the experience with horses in was not a horse specific area. But when I moved gyms and jobs based on school, that was. And so here in the Flemington and Reddington area of New Jersey, it’s very, very horse centric. And so that’s where riders used to start coming into the facility. And when they came the facility and the studio, I was the guy that got the job. And I was like, oh, yeah, I love this and let’s do it. And they were like, help me out because I had this or I have that or this has been going on for a while. And I want to get back to the level that I once was or I know that this is the hindrance that is taking away from where I could be. And so with that excitement, that passion and that understanding of what they needed at that time, that’s what led to me going. Oh, I want to do this. But the caveat would be I didn’t have the understanding of the owners to say, yeah, we see the value in this. I mean, I went to tech shops. I went to Dover. I went to Horseman’s Outlet. I went to all of the different places and I connected with people as best I could within my range and my job. Right. Because I was training people who were not equestrians also training equestrians at that time frame. And so one turned into more and it just continued to multiply. However, that’s pretty much the answer is location. And everybody’s like, but that doesn’t make any sense. And it does when you have the opportunity. And I always like to phrase it as when you are passionate about something, those things continue to find you. And so with that passion from my little mechanical baby horse that I had as a little kid, all the way up to not having those many years and not having experiences or opportunities to be around him. And then finally having that aha moment, it’s like, oh, wow, I found this thing. and then moving forward even more until now I’m in the right location for that. It’s like, here’s what we do. And so fast forward, I continue to work through that opportunity of training riders and doing what I could within my means, COVID happened. And during COVID, instead of going to facilities because everything was closed, I was able to actually go and say, this is what I wanna do and this is how I do it. And now I don’t have anyone telling me what to do. So I’m in my own driving seat, and I can actually say, this is where I want to take it, and how I go further forward from there.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, it’s so interesting how COVID created such a large shift, especially, like you had mentioned, in the fitness industry, where now, all of a sudden, it’s like, OK, so how do we, using that COVID buzzword, pivot? Right.


[SPEAKER 2]The people that kind of started it for you, the equestrians that came to you saying, hey, I’ve got these imbalances. I’ve got this going on while I’m riding. Can you help me with it? Like they clearly understood the benefit of fitness for the saddle. But there are so many equestrians who maybe haven’t made that connection yet. You know, we put so much time and energy into the fitness of our horses. but not necessarily into the fitness of ourselves. So what would you say to people who maybe haven’t quite made the connection of fitness as a rider to convince them or persuade them to look at fitness for themselves?

[SPEAKER 1]I think to answer that question, we have to go back to what you just said is. They understood the differences in the value of that. I don’t know if they were completely on board with it at that point. I think where they were, were at the pain points that spoke to them that said, I’ve tried everything else. This has to be the thing, or I’m going to go somewhere and try something. Because they have tried other trainers before and said this, they don’t get it. They don’t this, they don’t that. And that’s very common for what I continue to hear in 2023, which is seven, eight, who knows how many years later, who’s counting. in that same case, taking it fasting forward, it’s like, how do, how did they get to the point where they said, I don’t know what to do, but I’m going to walk into a place that doesn’t advertise for a question. And I’m going to, and I’m, luckily I met the right person who could help me get there. And so for, for people who are still on the fence of why this is important, how this is important and, and, and where this fits into our lives, I would, I would give the, the, follow-up question of the famous statement is a horse is a horse without us and we are humans without before we are equestrians. And so we have to make sure that we are bringing our best selves to our horses because our horses understand exactly our energy, our mood, our feelings before we even understand what’s going on.

[SPEAKER 2]All right, I’m going to quickly interrupt this episode to ask you, are you looking to get fitter for the saddle? Do you want to increase your body awareness or your mental fitness? We often focus so much on our horse that we forget about ourselves as the rider. So check out to access over 175 online courses with top trainers from around the world in a variety of disciplines and topics. We also have courses on equestrian fitness, yoga for equestrian and mindfulness for equestrians. And as a member, you get access to everything in our WeHorse library to watch whenever you want. Oh, and we also have an app, which means you can download a course or a video to watch without Wi-Fi, which is perfect for those days at the barn when you want a quick pre-ride stretch or a dose of training inspiration before your ride. So what are you waiting for? Go to and check out our free seven day trial to access our WeHorse library and see if it’s a good fit for you. We can’t wait to see you in there and let’s get back to the episode.

[SPEAKER 1]And so when we bring that tension, that uncertainty, that tightness, whether it’s through the hips, through the back, whatever the case is, That’s the aspect that we have to ask our question. If I’m not taking care of my fitness, because we oftentimes also think that fitness is always about lunges and crunches, and it’s not. It’s not. It is literally the act of taking care of yourself in whatever capacity that works for your body. And now how we do that is we add what we love to do, with what we need to do. It’s kind of like giving, as I was just talking to someone just before this, I said, you give your kids the vegetables, but you know they don’t like it, but you have to figure out a way for them to get the proper nutrients for that. So you have to do that in bits and pieces. And how you do that in this case, for those who aren’t completely on the complete understanding of how this happens, is you do it in bite-sized shoes. You find a coach, i.e. myself, who says, okay, we’re going to take you from this where you are right now, and get you to this part in three months. Can we do that? Absolutely. If I can get you from here to there in three months, would you want to continue? Would you see the value? And the answer is most likely, absolutely. Let’s go on to the next thing. And that’s where that wellness journey comes in. It’s not you start today and you have to do everything right now. It is a journey through the quarters of the year that gets us to where we want to go mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And so all of those things are tied in, which is exactly why. I don’t just speak about how we do what we do physically, but I also like to tie that in with those two so that we’re getting a well-rounded picture of how this makes that. But to also answer that even further with our top riders, as we’re seeing right now, more than ever before in our history, we’re seeing some of their fitness regiments. We’re seeing some of their mindset habits. We’re seeing some of their pre-show routines. And we haven’t had access to that pre, let’s just say once again, 2020. And so in that timeframe, we’ve seen so much more and have had access to what they’re doing. And if we’re not taking that aspect, at all, even if it’s 1% of their major level of their energy and expenditure, then how can we expect to continue to idolize and get closer to where they are? And I think you said this on another podcast, but it’s like, you understand as a pleasure rider that there’s a cap. that you’d get to at some point based on your physicality and your skills. But even if you could hone in on those things just a little bit more each and every time and each and every day, opportunity you’re with your horse, you know that you’re continuously making progress, which means that you’re going to be able to enjoy this for so much longer.

[SPEAKER 2]You just dropped so many good nuggets. Like within that, and like, I mean, if you’re listening to this, like rewind and like re-listen to that again, it was so good. But just to kind of emphasize a couple key pieces there that you had said is one, truly the holistic approach and we’ll get into that a little bit more in our discussion as well is that going beyond like you had said just the lunges and the crunches and making this a true holistic like wellness aspect But also the idea of the bite-sized pieces. I think a lot of people, they jump into things. They’re like, all right, starting Monday morning, I’m going all in, you know, and they throw everything at themselves. And by Wednesday, they’re like, well, this isn’t sustainable. You know, and and and then you either give up or you feel disappointed or, you know, whatever the thought process may be. But I really liked how you mentioned, you know, the small little bite sized pieces of the vegetables in the pasta sauce, you know, so that you can just like slowly integrate it into your life and make it a sustainable long term approach. I love that you brought that up.

[SPEAKER 1]And so add to that when you’re when you’re with your point there, I want to I want to add to those two things with actual clients. And so one would be someone who came to me in the past year and she said, I’m nervous about the going too hard too early and not having the opportunity and then falling off and then having to recycle because that’s been my thing. And I said, let me tell you from experience, I know exactly what that’s like. getting off schedule because of clients and not having my own workout regimen or not taking care of my own wellness enough, and then doing that. So I said, my goal throughout this time is for both of us to continue to sustain something realistic. And if we can sustain something realistic throughout this time, then we’re automatically going to be able to do it for longer. So she said, okay, cool. So now she’s been working with me for well over six months. And she’s like, the ability for me to sustain this and to feel like I’m making progress and to know that I’m doing that because I can see it. I have you to help me through that. And then also for you to take certain things off of my plate. I also never mentioned the idea of weight loss and all of those body transformations that are physically prevalent in a lot of our fitness industry because Because it’s not necessarily about that. But I also try to let people know that whatever we do together is going to make you better. And if it makes you better, it’s automatically going to make your horse better. And that’s exactly why we should do it. And the second person said, just recently in the past month and a half, she said, I always tend to find myself with an injury every year. And I’m tired of that. And I’m tired of that. So how can what we do together foster the right mental and physical components so that I’m not nervous about the things that I do physically, but I also feel more comfortable and confident in what you say we’re going to get through and what I’m also planning for myself. And I say we do it. One, two, three, and four. And that’s the system that I always talk about. And that’s kind of where I go with that. But I wanted to make sure I added that because those two things are things that people deal with, especially equestrians ourselves, where we go hard at something and then we fall off because we did too much too quickly.

[SPEAKER 2]Absolutely. So if someone was looking to get started with this, would you look at okay, I’m going to recommend XYZ exercises. So let’s say okay, you’re going to do this many days of strength training, you’re going to do a cardio day, you’re going to do a day of stretching or yoga. Like, are there any specific stretches you would give out, you know, around like the hips or something for equestrians or is it one of those things where it is entirely based on the unique individual their goals their past you know their history things like that that’s that’s a couple different questions in one

[SPEAKER 1]You’re asking me to go into the rabbit hole and I don’t want to dork out on people on the podcast. So I’ll do my best to keep that as specific as possible. But here’s the most important thing. It is the experience that I’ve already had doing this for so many years, right? So I’ve, most people are just finding out about me right now because I’ve been just getting it done in the area for years. And so before social media was your resume and everything else, then, you know, now I’m rebuilding that, but that experience is something that you can’t take away from what I’ve done and what I continue to do and how I get there. So. That’s the system that I have created, right? And so that system is pretty much the culmination of what saves you stress, time, energy, and money.

[SPEAKER 2]And so like… And just for people, if you like look at the acronym of, I think it’s so fun. So the acronym of SYSTEM is S saves, Y, you, S, stress, T, time, E, energy, and M, money. I think that’s so clever.

[SPEAKER 1]And, and it’s, it’s not completely unique to me, but it is definitely something that makes the approach of what I’ve been doing more accessible and more realistic for more riders. And then here’s why that answers that question. So on that individual plan that I’ve seen over the past, who knows how many years, um, I’ve dealt with riders who were eventers, dressage, leisure. uh, hunter jumper trainers, coaches, it just continues to go on and on. But most importantly, it is what does, what do all equestrians need? And then how do we hone it into their discipline specifically, but also where they are. And that really goes through those core pillars. So in every single program that is put together or that a rider joins, they’re going to get certain things that work for them based on the assessment that we do. So we always do in our coaching program, and I’m working on a subscription style program right now, but the coaching program is where they get me a hundred percent. And I’m always there dialed in with them month after month. So we all need stability within the sub suppleness, strength, and then stamina, and it has to work in that capacity. And so I always say to them, how stable would your horse be on three legs?

[SPEAKER 2]Not very stable.

[SPEAKER 1]And so that works the same way with us. When we skip a step, if we’re working on strength before we make sure that our stability and suppleness are in place, then we’re going to have a pillar that is not strong enough and necessary in this capacity. So if someone shows me during that assessment that we need to spend a little bit more time on stability, I’ll add extra things onto their program in. phase, right, or in that jump, as I’d like to call them. So in jump one of the three month coaching program, it’s stability and suppleness and jump to a strength and stamina. And then jump three, we culminate those four pillars. And we continue to add on to the mindset, the other aspects of what they they need, but also what they’re interested in. And so does that make sense so far?

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, absolutely. So and just to reiterate for people that the four core pillars that Eva is speaking of is the stability, suppleness, strength and stamina.

[SPEAKER 1]And they have to be in that order.

[SPEAKER 2]Okay, interesting. Okay. Tell us more about that.

[SPEAKER 1]It’s like in dressage, if you’re trying to go up the levels and you’re trying to do PSG and you’re not even ready for the simplest of transitions, you’re not ready yet. And there’s a reason why.

[SPEAKER 2]It’s like the training scale for people.

[SPEAKER 1]It’s exactly the training scale. So you need to go in a specific order to get to that next level. And so if you lack stability, but you’re trying to work on strengthening, your joints are not going to be able to handle that. So, i.e., it would be your leg is not, your aids aren’t on the way you need them to. You’re not cuing, you’re not communication, excuse me, communicating with your horse effectively. Let’s go back and look at the stability. You’re jostling around. Oh, okay, your posture is affected. So after that, we can then go into suppleness and then so on and so forth. So strength is the culmination of the first two. And stamina is the culmination of the first three. So that’s the beauty of why it has to be in that order and why the system is what you don’t have to figure out. And as we’re seeing right now in the social media day and age, we wanna break everything down into bits and pieces and like, oh, I need that. Give me that right now. And it’s like, you may not be ready for that right now. So getting back into what you said, are there specific stretches for people? The answer is yes. based on what I know you can handle. Now, on my social media page, I’ll have to speak about those different pillars, and I do, in different ways, in different months, in different time frames. But to bring it all together, that’s why they come to someone like myself, because we have that system, the four pillars and the process of how we get you from where you are right now, whether you’re a pleasure rider like myself, all the way up to someone who’s actually competing for money.

[SPEAKER 2]Mm-hmm. I love that. And I really enjoy the fact that the idea of having someone or a system that takes the guesswork out of things is huge for people, and not just equestrians, for people in general, because we’re all busy. And I also want to use the word busy with air quotes. We’re consumed with so many things. And so having something that says, here’s what you’re doing today, here’s what you’re doing tomorrow, here’s what you need now, here’s what we’ll work towards, I think is huge. Because if we just go, I mean, like, there’s obviously like unlimited free resources. I mean, you can go on YouTube and watch, you know, and take a fitness video and follow along. But it’s not necessarily what you need in that moment. And so having a system that you can follow is huge.

[SPEAKER 1]Exactly. You said in an interview, you and Anna Buffini said in an interview about the YouTube thing, and I did a video on that months ago where I was like, love the conversation, it’s an excellent podcast, but I want to add that it is also important that we meet with someone so that they can say, okay, let’s say you meet with me on a call, right? And we go over your strategy and where you’re supposed to go. And I say, you know what? Right now, I don’t think that we’re going to be on the right page for that. Let’s do the YouTube route for three months because either it could be financial, it could be time, it could be energy, it could be effort. And then let’s come back after that time when you’ve got certain aspects together. But I don’t rule anything out, but I want to make sure that people know that there’s like a chain of command and how we improve ourselves and our journey in that wellness. And YouTube is fantastic. I’ll be in that market soon. But at the same time, there comes a step where it is like, now you need someone to let you know, this is what you should be doing at this timeframe.

[SPEAKER 2]And would you also say in the opposite way to where it’s, okay, let’s get the core pieces, like installed, essentially, let’s get all of that. And then, then you can go on and you know, the baseline for yourself, and you can go on and follow a, you know, a video at any time or something like that. But it’s important to go through the pillars before you then go and you know, and choose your own workouts.

[SPEAKER 1]Yes, the answer the short answer to that would be yes, it’s twofold. Because more than anything else, especially in today’s day, how we get from one place to another is by having someone there who’s able to coach us. That’s what education is about at the school system. That’s what coaching is about when you’re an adult and you have a business or you are just trying to learn more information. That’s why we have all of these different platforms. We, of course, is another fantastic one for that. As the owner of the company, what’s his name again? I forget.

[SPEAKER 2]Christian.

[SPEAKER 1]Thank you. Christian just said on his last podcast interview with you was like, I wanted the ability to learn from my trainer without the timeframe that he and I were able to make happen on a normal basis. And so, but that’s exactly what we are. Even at that digital scale in WeHorse, we are your coaches for this timeframe because you cannot reach the same exact thing that you may need or that works for both of our calendars right now. And that’s the blessing of having that. But knowing that is the most important thing. If you don’t know that, then you’re going to be moving around aimlessly and on that yo-yo that we talked about before, which is high energy, do too much, and then crash, and then we have to figure out how to get back up on that wagon again. So that’s all about what I talk about, which is just I’m here to make sure that you have a specific plan and approach to where you are. So it may not be right now that we can work together, but here’s where I see you able to progress in the next three or six months, even without me. It’s not always about working with me. It’s about figuring out what’s best for you. And that’s something I want more people to understand is that’s okay if we figure out that right now you need to go the YouTube route just for a few or right now you need to just do a program that doesn’t have the coaching and then next time you will need that so it just depends on where you are in your journey and that needs to be um touched upon both coach and rider.

[SPEAKER 2]And so in in referencing the idea that you know a lot of times um we we need to save time um we need to take the guesswork out because our our head is filled with so many different things we’re so busy and and we all know as equestrians our horses eat up so much of our time and not to mention you know then we’ve also got careers and social lives and family and just like every day Responsibilities. Yeah. So how would you recommend fitting in the time for wellness? You know, and where would where would that look for certain people that feel like they just don’t have the time in their day?

[SPEAKER 1]I think it’s another. That’s a fantastic question, and it’s another reiteration of look at what the top pros are doing because If we can’t find any time in our schedule, and I don’t know if many of you have seen some of their schedules, but those schedules are the definition of rigorous. From earlier in the morning, then we wake up all the way to the end, even with the teams and the assistance that they have to help them. They’re going day in and day out, but those same top riders, majority of them, still implement that aspect. For example, Boyd Martin wakes up super early in the morning every day and absolutely needs to do his things so that based on the injuries that he’s had, he’s able to do his job for the rest of the day. That’s a necessity. So for that early time of morning, he said, it doesn’t have to be long. I do this amount of this on this day. I do this amount of this on that day. For me, my explanation and when he and I had that conversation was phenomenal, but Overall, it is finding 15 minutes, finding five minutes, finding 30 minutes. Most of the workouts in the program, in the training program are 30 minutes or less. So very, very time effective. And it depends on how fast you move, where your fitness level is and how much time you have. But I always tell my clients, if today is a tougher day and you have a schedule for today, do have today. You do another tomorrow, and now you’re still getting the bite-size amounts of movement and habit that you’re not losing that momentum so that you can continue to move forward. But that is where the biggest value comes in, is knowing and having someone help you figure out this is how you do it, even when you’re traveling, even when you’re busy, even when you’re in between, you know, horse shows and expos and all the rest of the things help you do.

[SPEAKER 2]So would you say that like really honing in on your why is a large part of it? Like why you want, like why it would be important to work out and then keeping that in the back of your mind?

[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. If I could add to the why, the where as well. And the where is interesting because it’s like, where do you want to go?

[SPEAKER 2]Oh, oh, I love that. At first I was like, where?


[SPEAKER 2]I love that. What are we going at? I love that. Where do you want to go?

[SPEAKER 1]Okay.

[SPEAKER 2]Love it.

[SPEAKER 1]We get so focused in and we’ve been taught to focus in so strategically on the, what is your why? And so many people still can’t answer that question, but it’s just like, if we were to close your eyes, if you were to just look out and say, and dream for a moment, where do you see yourself? I love love this at that same specific area. So it’s not just one. It’s more than one in it. And I go back to like, that’s why the program is holding because I can I can give you a workout plan right now. If you told me three ailments and your workout history right now, the top of my head, that is easy for me. But that does that is not the whole picture of who you are and where you want to go and why you want to get there. And so you have to add those components for people to really be able to get outside of their heads and start getting into their hearts. And most people have a tough time expressing that publicly to someone else, but you have to find someone who understands and that you can trust to get there.

[SPEAKER 2]I love that. I actually resonate more with the concept of where do you want to go rather than like what’s your why. I absolutely love that. Like, yeah. Good wine. Good nugget. Love it.

[SPEAKER 1]You got to put that in the show notes.

[SPEAKER 2]You got to put that in the show notes. Honestly, just like everyone just needs to like re-listen to this multiple times.


[SPEAKER 2]Let’s talk about a couple of things that aren’t necessarily like fitness specific and they have to do with the concept of fitness and having a level of fitness, but they aren’t like working out. One of them that you had mentioned prior to us recording was safety. So safety being a big part of it as well. So talk about that as to why that’s also important for you as a trainer for equestrians. Gotcha.

<p>[SPEAKER 1]Um, I’ll do my best to not get anyone to riled up with this one because it’s a, yeah, it’s a really passionate space for me because I went so many years with like trying to figure out the athletic side of equestrianism, and what we do in our horsemanship journey. But then, as I was, once again, I was, people were coming to me, riders were coming to me in my domain. And then when I started going to them in their domain in 2020, 2021 timeframe, all the light bulbs kind of click because I was in my comfort zone, but now I’m in their comfort zone. So I’m seeing them riding beforehand and I’m also seeing them directly afterwards. So it could, depending on, you know, the schedule of that day. So in this same capacity, it’s like, ooh, I got, I got beat up a lot for like, where’s the athleticism of what you all are showing me? I’m here to make that happen, but when I’m not here, what is being done, i.e. warming up, i.e. cool down, i.e. self-care, i.e. the mental fitness side of it, the inner game, as I call it inside of my program. What type of things are we doing in that capacity? And the answer was typically like, nothing, I warm the horse up. And it’s like, so how can you fight me on my statement if there’s no real exponential example of where and why we’re here. So you bring me in because you want to get to the why and the where, right? And I bring those two together and help you get there. But then you tell me afterwards, but the sport is so, you know, it’s dangerous, this and that. And it’s like, but I’m asking you to think of your mindset. I’m asking you to to to protect yourself, i.e. sometimes oftentimes we’ll do neck stretches at the end of our sessions in person or if I’m doing a workshop or anywhere like that and people are like, oh my gosh, I needed that. That’s so important. Okay, great. Now here’s this neck exercise to strengthen that, right? So we put the helmet that’s extremely important on our head, but if our neck can’t handle the whiplash of our horse spooking or a fall, how much more important is the helmet? So we have to strengthen the whole portion of ourself with the thing that’s inside of our skull, our brain, all the way down to the bottom of our foot, right? So in our leg position, there’s a lot of internal rotation and pressure on the knee. It’s so many different components that lead to the safety that’s necessary to not only stay on our horse, but to continue to be productive and improve performance over time. The mindfulness aspect that I love to add into all of my programs is I ask my clients to spend unequivocal time with their horse that doesn’t involve riding. Just go to the barn or just go to your backyard, depending on where you are, and spend time and just be there. You don’t even have to do anything. Just let your horse know that you’re there. And that’s so important. And I’ve gotten so much like I don’t understand what you’re asking me to do. And it’s like, this is the bonding time. This is the mental preparation time. No phone, put your phone in your pocket, leave it there. But that’s the mindfulness that’s necessary for you and your horse to bond in the ways that you don’t even know that you’re doing it. I eat, it’s more than lunges and crunches. Because it’s so, this is one of the only sports, if not the only sport where we have another sentient being that’s there with us, that’s a part of the journey. And we’re asking so much of it. They, he, she wanna know that you’re there for them too, period. It’s not just about grooming, because as we know, we can groom our horse and then they’ll go run out there and roll around in the dirt. And you’re like, are you kidding me? That’s not what they care about, right? So it’s just that spending time aspect. And for those who have families, kids, or whoever else, significant others, oftentimes it’s like, I just want to be there. Like, that’s all I need. That’s it. We don’t have to talk. We don’t have to do anything, but just we’re there. We can feel something without speaking. And our horses understand that so much more. And the clients that have done that have received so much more value out of the program because of that exact example. But we also do mindfulness in terms of meditation and breathing and show nerves and all the rest of those sort of things. But more than anything, because that’s becoming even more common, it’s like, what are we actually doing that is there with our horse that either has something to do with fitness and or mindfulness. And I work on both of those things. Warming up with your horse watching you is important. isn’t boring, right? Be in the stall, and you’re in the aisle, and you’re doing your warm-up movement. And next thing you know, it’s time to ride. They’re like, oh, OK, cool, because I’m going to get my warm-up in just a couple of minutes, too. But I just saw that you’re taking this journey from a different lens, and you’re actually implementing it. And I like that.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]And now, going into the aspect of mindset, That’s another thing that has become more and more and more popular of a topic for equestrians. And again, I do think that it’s something that in the past few years, maybe COVID brought it on, but we’re now seeing the importance of mindset from the top riders. And in what ways do you feel like a not necessarily a positive mindset, but like a healthy mindset is important for not only your fitness goals, but also your equestrian goals and a combination of the two.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. And I forget the number of the episode, but Catherine Dufour said it just recently, which is like the. And I’ll tie it all in the example of where we are as an industry, how we talk to each other, how we comment on each other’s posts, and what the things that we say all have an effect on us. And for us to understand that the mental side of that, like we want to talk about being a positive mindset rider and doing this, that, and the third, but the industry still needs a major shift.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]You’re right.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]a lot of bigger brands that are talking about it right now and companies that are just like, we do need to have a mindset shift here. And that has to come from both sides, the inside out, as well as the outside in. And the more that we understand that she just said is like, you’re aware that there’s a human like that posted this and there’s a human that’s reading this, like the things that you’re saying have to be adjusted. And it’s the same thing when it comes to barn culture or showing culture. And just the comparisons that we typically see and feel, excuse me, at these shows make it so much different in terms of what we can bring to our horses. How calm can you be when you’re looking over your shoulder because you know someone’s staring at you or looking you up and down? Even if you did your warm up, I’m there with the writers and I’m helping them do that. And we can we can see people kind of looking at them and kind of judging. And you’re just like, this is not the environment that we want. And so we have to work on that from two sides. And so how I see that fit is The inclusivity that we’ve been talking about in the recent timeframe is one great way to do that but it also has to be something that people stand up to and for those comments when they see them on these posts, you have to say, you know what, I don’t think that that was. something that wasn’t the intent of their post and that’s not where they were going with it. Let’s just kind of leave that one out. And just saying that sometimes the person who made that comment that may not have been or looked at the person that may not have been the best thing can now look inside of themselves and go, you know what, I do need to look at that. Nobody said that to me before. I was able to do this 10 to 15 times. And now this is that one point where someone, you know, shine the mirror on me and said, I think that might be something you should look at. So when it comes to the mental aspect from top writers, all the way down to pleasure writers, it’s important that we understand how we’re feeling. And when we understand how we’re feeling, we then know exactly how to shift or get ourselves out of that. I like to use music as my medium for that with myself as well as my clients. But I also tell them to, if you’re feeling anxious and you still need to go to the bar because you have a lesson or you have a goal or you have this or that, the third, spend that time with your horse and just work on calming yourself down rather than just getting on and Because that’s not going to make the ride beneficial for either of you. And then you increase your probability for being unsafe.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Absolutely and you know John Haim who who specifically works on um riders mindset with the the inside out outside in and and I love I love that was a big turning point for me when I had first heard that was the idea that if we are looking at our outside environment so let’s say we’re at the burn or at a show and we’re taking in all the things on the outside of us the other horse in the warm-up ring that’s acting up, the people that are leaning on the rail watching us, the fact that the wind is blowing and it’s making our horse spooky, whatever it may be. We’re taking in all the outside aspects and we’re bringing it in and then that is dictating how we feel versus inside Oat, which is you’re setting your own level of awareness and breath and, you know, all of the mental state and then taking that on the Oat side and the change that that makes not only in us, but in our horses. And I think that that plays a large part in our holistic fitness. So not just fitness is in working out, but wellness, I should say. The words that we say to ourselves, the habits that we keep, you know, the routine, I think that is a huge thing is what is your inside out? And are you living outside in or are you living inside out? And I just I love, love that.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Horses do that for us. I mean, if if nothing else, isn’t that why we’re here for the feeling that we get when we’re with our horses? Now, when we’re at a show and there’s tons more horses, shouldn’t that make everybody feel like they’re at Disney World? Or in the context of like the happiest place on earth, like because there’s other horses everywhere, that’s the reason. And oh, there happen to be people who love that too. That’s the environment that brings the outside in. It makes the inside feel like, okay, yeah, I can be less grumpy. Okay, yeah, I can do this because I’m in the environment of the reason why I do that. Like when basketball players, baseball players, when we see the field, we’re on the court, wherever we are, it’s like, yeah, there’s other people here that love this too. Let’s do this. And that’s the same energy that I want to feel myself being in the odd ball out most of the time, all the way to everyone else who’s in there, who’s outside in and inside out. And that’s the nature aspect that brought me and the horses from where I was raised together. And that’s why this is, that’s just, it’s amazing for me.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Absolutely. So your program and your training, you incorporate not only like the physical fitness, but also the mental, you know, mindset and meditation and that, and also nutrition. So can we talk a little bit about the importance of nutrition for equestrians and how that will positively or negatively affect us?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely. So I want to start with I’m not a nutritionist, so I do not give specific plans for people. We do talk about what type of things that I feel are better for your health, what type of things we can remove, foods, timeframes, behaviors, things like that. We can talk about that’s in my scope, but actually prescribing a nutritional plan is something that someone else goes to school for, to Ph.D. type of levels for. um the importance of nutrition and how it has an effect on equestrians as a whole is immense and that is the uh other aspect of our holistic approach which is the mental the emotional the physical and the nutrition side of what feeds all the rest of it if you do not have a nutritional base you cannot exercise the best way possible if you do not have a nutritional base you cannot um you don’t you’re not going to have the right mindset because your brain on sugar is an ADHD filled place. And so it’s not the exact acronyms, but it is a hyperactive place where your brain is unable to focus the way it needs to. your brain on salt is the same exact thing. If you give yourself at a horse show here, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks just before you go and ride.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Which seems to be the horse show diet, doesn’t it? You’re side eyeing right now. The horse show diet does seem to be salt and sugar.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And so those are the same components that I say. This is what happened last year. I sponsored a big horse show here for the nutritional side of it. And I brought in healthier options. We had salads, which that’s like a no-go at a horse show. I didn’t know that until after. But I guarantee you, what I want to let you know this is they ate that first and they tore it up. And what they said, and it wasn’t just Just for everyone to know, it wasn’t just lettuce and such. It was not just salad. We had sandwiches and such, but there were healthier options than what’s normally available. And through that, afterwards, their response for people was, I’ve never had horse show food that good before. I’m so glad that you brought a different aspect of that. I felt different. That’s what they’re saying, not me. And so for me, that gave me the light bulb to say, why can’t we do this more often? Why can’t we do this more often? So I’ve been on a kick to make sure that we are eating better, at least making different decisions just beforehand. Prep your food. I can give you options on quick ways to do that. Absolutely. Little snack balls, a little snack bar that you can make. that are really simple. And if you don’t have the opportunity to do that, or if you’re not in a geographic location for that, we can talk about that idea as well. But overall, the nutritional side of it plays a major effect on every aspect of our health. And that coupled with sleep and our recovery is where everything just kind of goes over the moon and we’re feeling like, you know, Mary Poppins and we’re flying with umbrellas and just happy because our body gets what it needs. And when our body gets what it needs, it is the happiest and it gives us all the right open doors to the successes that we want.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, and I think horse show burnout in itself is a real thing. We are so hyper-focused on, how is our horse doing? OK, I’ve got to get ready for this class. OK, the warm-up ring right now is crazy. There’s so many things running through our head from a emotional burnout perspective that then if we’re overloading ourselves with caffeine and sugar, we’re gonna have that afternoon crash like and it’s gonna be a bad crash you know and that’s why you’re loading your horse at the end of the day and you’re you’re barely walking on the trailer yourself and it’s driving that way yeah and so if we can help ourselves with the proper nutrition, you like you had said the proper sleep beforehand, which I know is easier said than done, like horseshoe sleeplessness is also a real thing.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I’m very familiar with that one as well.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Yeah. And but it’s like, if we can take some of the added things and make it easier for ourselves. You know, I think the whole experience can be so much better, you know, rather than, okay, so it’s almost a guarantee we’re going to be a little bit stressed. You know, it’s a guarantee we’re going to be a little bit tired. It’s, you know, all of those different things. But then if you add on eating poorly, it’s just going to make it worse. So just help yourself a little bit there.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]That starts with our coaches, our trainers as well.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Good point. Good point.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]A lot of their stress passed down to the kids, adults, riders, whoever they’re working with. And that, for me, is not acceptable. That’s a lack of organization, oftentimes, at shows, at the organizational level or the show manager level, all the way down to the lower levels. And that also has to change. And so once again, that goes back into the outside and inside out. How organized, how comfortable, how happy can you be if you are not in an environment that fosters that? It’s like that feeling when you walk into someone’s home for the first time and you just kind of get that feeling like, Yeah, this feels good. And then you walk into someone else’s home and you’re just like, this feels like a little bit chaos is going on. You don’t want to be there long, even if they’re your friend or your family or whatever the case is, you want to get back to the place that feels like this is comfortable. And that is doable, but we have to be there for each other to make that happen. And we also have to look at the habits that we continue to do and revamp them. It doesn’t have to completely change, but they need to be tweaked to the point where, okay, I know my rider is not going to ride their best if I’m stressed and I’m stressing them out. How about I keep my stress as much as I can to myself and I just say, hey, go and take a five minute meditation break. go over there and warm up for a little bit. And that’s time to go through our warm-up series for yourself and then get ready to ride your horse and get in the zone for that. I’ll take the pressure of whatever I need to and keep that there and allow you to do your job because how am I going to expect your best if I stress you out?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Such a good point. And okay, so let’s keep going with this, the topic of community.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]The energy that can surround us in the equestrian industry, whether it’s your boarding barn or, you know, the local scene, it cannot always be the best. I’m trying to, like, praise.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Praise. All right, we’re going to the ballet today. All right, she’s officially a dressage athlete.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I’m carefully watching my steps here. And then the same thing with social media, you know, like sometimes it can be scary to show up on social media. It can be scary to share. Right. You know, Aoife is raising his hand right now for those who don’t see. it can be scary to post your progress because you know suddenly you’re going to get so many comments about oh you should have been doing this instead and you know and whatever it may be and so how important I mean we all know the importance of having a positive community but what do you recommend for like where people can start what about setting boundaries what about like building your own community online and off and and how does that play once again a role in your wellness journey.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I hate sounding like a broken record, but I also think it’s extremely important that the message that someone says and they talk about and they spread are all exactly intuitive of exactly what they’re saying. And it goes back into holistic, and it goes back into outside and inside out. Because those same things are, like you just said, most of us know the importance of a community, but I would argue that we really don’t. Because how many times can we say we’ve comfortably been a part of a community that felt like it completely understood us through and through? It was a place where we felt completely cradled in a way. In my yoga journey, I like to do yoga and I also have a certification in it. It is restorative yoga for me. That gets me to that, I feel like the rest of the world does not exist right now. I have my bolsters. I have my blocks. I feel comfortable. I feel cradled through this practice. When I’m doing yin and restorative yoga, that’s where I feel like I’m at my best. Not even in my bed do I feel like I’m like, ah, yes. But in those moments where I have something that’s under me, so I’m not twisted too much. And I say that because most people don’t even understand that feeling.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]The feeling of true support.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely. Most people think they do. Like, oh, when I’m with my horses therapy, your horse did not sign up for that job. I don’t think you had it signed any dotted lines that said, absolutely, I’ll be here as your therapy animal. I’m here to understand and feed off of your energy and bring you the best possible support that I can, but I do not speak.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]And also don’t bring me your shit.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And it will let you know that as well in certain times. But that community that you were just talking about and asking, For me, I know what it’s like to be on the outside. I feel like that in the industry often. So connecting with community and group for people who look like me, Black people, Caribbean people, mixed race people, whatever the case is, is where I feel a sense of like, ah, they get it. It is not easy being the only person who looks like how I look like at a show. at all. And I do it all the time with the same energy that everybody’s like, how are you so bubbly? It’s because I That’s me at my core, and I just do my best to bring that wherever I go. Even if it’s challenging, I do my best to bring that. So you’re not going to see me at a horse show looking depressed and down and whatever it is. I’m going to bring IFA 100% all the way through. So for me, it is showing people what you want to see in them as well. Being that example. Trusting the process, that’s one of my favorite quotes most of my clients know about. And then also just continuously moving along that path and finding more people who understand that. And I noticed that those who join my program typically understand what it means to reflect and go inside. they have a different connection. Those who don’t, they just, they don’t, they don’t do well or they don’t sign up or they don’t, whatever the case is. But those people who are just like, yeah, I see he’s, he’s going to work with me a little differently. I want that. I like that. I can understand that because I am going to ask some tough questions. I am going to ask you to think, and I am going to ask you to work to be the best version of yourself, even if it’s at that 1% today, tomorrow, this week. Sometimes you just get 1% better that week. That’s it. But that’s the community where you can say, I know who I can go to. I know there are other people at this same juncture doing the same thing. I know that I can talk to someone similar in my same situation. that will help me through this. And that feeling of someone who knows what it’s like to be on the outside and how they bring you in is so special. I always say with my best friend, he just knows how to say, tell me more. And I always smile when he does that because you can just hear it through his heart and his mouth that he’s listening and he really wants to know how I feel in that moment. And it’s such an amazing feeling that most people don’t get when we just want to respond with another answer or respond with a, you should do this, or how about that? And it’s just like, how about you just get all of it out first? And then I ask you, would you like my input or would you just like to vent? That community happens the same way when people understand it because they’ve been through something, right? When you haven’t been through it and you’re asking someone to give you their information and you don’t understand it, it’s like, I don’t feel the warmth. So for me, that community is knowing that you have the right team of people and you have the right people around you who are aware of how to make the changes and the adjustments necessary to help you be better. And that’s why we’re here. We can be better so that we can get more from our horses and with our horses for the long term. So into our 70s, into our 80s, we want to ride as long as the queen did.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Absolutely. I think to, you know, to add to that, like you had said, it’s to have that community who is there to listen and who gets it, but also going back to, you know, what you had mentioned earlier about the importance of mindfulness and mindset. It’s also having that within yourself.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Right.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]You know, as well as that, because if we don’t have it in ourselves, we’re just looking for other people to validate us. And if we can have that inside, then we’re so much more receptive to building, you know, a positive community.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I think of that in the way of a good friend just told me in a conversation just this week, he said, Ifat, the way your social media is set up is, I’ll listen to him because I know how you are. It’s special in a different way. It’s you. It is not you trying to do this and do that and garner the attention of, he’s like, you’re gonna post, When you post, you’re going to do what you do. And I responded to him and said, I think I know that people forget how much work goes into this. And for what I do and what I put out, I always want it to be something that someone can say, I learned something from this. I learned something from this. I’m okay with entertainment, but that cannot be the main source of the information that is expelled to most of our people. So when it comes to what we do and how we do it, for me, it’s been a very tough journey of understanding how do I make it in the equestrian space because I look different because I’m talking about something that most people don’t want to hear about. I’m talking about so many different things that are like, how does this come together? And like I say, with that holistic piece, you can’t just take one needle in that haystack and then expect the haystack to automatically appear in the next week. It doesn’t work that way. You have to keep getting more of those, uh, more of that hay to continue to make the bale. And so it continues from there as in, it’s not singular, but it’s pluralized in how you do it. And so for me, at this point, I’m understanding that when I post, the most important thing is so that someone is getting something from it rather than the idea of, I did it though, like spit it out, just get it done. And it’s the same thing with this podcast and the WeForce platform. We don’t just do any old everything. We do quality content that’s educational and also is something that people come back to each and every time because they know what we put out and they know why we do it. And we know where we’re going with it, right? So it’s already big in Europe. It’s coming to the US. It’s been doing great here. I love the podcast. But every single time you listen to it, you know you’re getting quality information. And the people that are on are going to be there for the proper reasons. And that’s the powerful thing that I want to continue. I will continue to, excuse me, add to my platforms and my message and the community that I’m already building.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I love that. I love when someone is teaching me and complimenting me at the same time.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And naturally at that and naturally. Yeah.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]No, I absolutely love that. And I completely agree with you is it goes back to the idea of intention. And I think that that is something that you like it. It just like comes off of you so authentically is the idea of like, well, number one authenticity, but number two intention, you know, you just kind of like have that as a vibration coming off of you. And I, and I love that. Um, and so now what is your hope for the equestrian industry itself, but also the equestrian wellness industry? Um, what’s your hope for the future? It’s a loaded question.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Nope, I’m going to say it like this. What I know is going to happen is change. It’s inevitable. We can fight it with our traditionalism as much as we want. But if we learn nothing else, everyone who’s listening, the world changed a few years ago. And it is not going back to where it was. And if we do not continue to move forward with that in a healthy and strategic way, then we will continue to be left behind in the other cases. I’ll give a great example pickleball is a great one for those who don’t know what it is it’s a little paddle sport that people are playing and it’s the fastest growing thing here in the US. That sport is growing because of its inclusivity, its forward thinking, and its partnerships that it’s doing. It’s thinking not only inside of the industry that’s built, but it’s also growing and expanding outside of that and getting people who may not have heard of or thought of it beforehand to go, hmm, I’ll give that a try. Looks weird, looks funny, but OK, cool. I’ll go to that. And so it’s the same thing with us, with our organizers. We need to reach outside of people who ride horses just to go to shows. People outside of it want to know more about horses, too. They’re majestic, period. So people want to see that, whether they’ve never seen a horse before or whether they love horses. What’s wrong with having those type of people together? Nothing. So we must continue to make that change and be on that forefront of going and, I don’t know, going to the random pizzeria and dropping off a fly. Hey, I’m having a horse event coming up soon. You should let your people know who come here and eat food. Oh, OK. Never had that happen before. Well, I’ll check it out. It’s that type of thing. And next thing you know, you never know. Now they’re saying, where do I go and get lessons? And the industry continues to grow. For the wellness side of that, I know that there’s a great scene and there’s already a great group of us out there that are doing fantastic things. And I want to continue to reach people on all the levels. It’s called Equestrian Fitness Academy for a reason. And it wasn’t discipline specific for that reason, which is, All those pillars, the four pillars that I mentioned, the four S’s, are all for every equestrian, no matter the discipline. Even if you’re a vaulter, it works the same exact way. You still need to be stable, you still need your suppleness, so on and so forth. So for those in the wellness space who are working on the physical side, the mental side, the emotional side, For all of us, I would honestly say for us to work together and come up with some sort of coalition to help each other expand our meshes collectively would be even easier for us. And as we’ve been hearing more and more, collaboration over competition. So collaboration over competition is extremely important. My why, my how, and my where are still going to look different than the next person. But our overall goal is like, we’re looking at each other and saying, we’re here to make the industry better. Because we know it could use that, but we also know that it benefits because of it. And so, I mean, if we’re really getting specific, the prize money goes up, too, when more people come to the shows, when more people buy things, when more people shop. And so it’s all encompassing, and we will all grow together when we take care of ourselves and our horses more effectively.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Absolutely. I think you made some really good points, too, regarding inclusivity, you know, and that factors in so many different things like classism. You know, I think that that’s a big thing, too, is that, you know, there’s so many people that we don’t feel that we can get to certain levels because of the state of, you know, quote, unquote, social class. and something as simple as like you had mentioned going to you know your local whatever it may be pizzeria etc and just saying like hey there’s this going on like if you don’t have any plans this weekend be cool to have more spectators right you know and getting more people interested and realizing that like we like everybody can do this um you know and yes There is, you know, we there’s no denying there is a very large expense related to the equestrian industry. But everybody can love horses. Everybody, you know, everybody can love the sport.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah, it’s with exactly what you just said was. Everybody can love those things. And have you ever been to a sport, a professional sports game before?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]NFL, A&amp;HL, anything like that? I don’t think. I feel like my memory would remember that. I don’t think I have anything professional.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So even if you were to go to that, just because you went to that event doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t go to it again. And it also doesn’t mean that you would aspire to be on that field, on the ice, on the court like they would, right? So even if there was the level of I can’t afford that, what does that have to do with me going and watching just for fun?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]You know what? I did go to the World Juniors game. One of the qualifiers for the hockey here in Canada. I did go to that this winter. And correct. I will not be on the ice anytime soon, but it was a really, really fun energy to be a part of.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And that’s the exact same thing. And I get that feeling at a few different horse shows that I’ve been to. And I’m just like, man, I can see so many more people enjoying just this aspect here. They don’t have to know what’s going on, how many women go to different sports games and don’t know what their husband are watching, or boyfriend are watching, and vice versa. And we’re just like, what is this? But she enjoys it. OK, cool. And we’ll do it again. But that’s a part of the industry that we’re just like, want to keep everything right here and in that. And it’s like, but then at the same time, we’re crying that we don’t have money to do what we’re doing or this industry is dying. It’s like because we’re not opening up and getting out and driving a little further to hand out some more flyers or to market to people outside of the industry. And it’s those things that are already changing, but we need more people to continue to do that. And so, you know, if you’re in a barn and you’re having a local thing, Just invite some people. If they come 15 minutes and they go, oh, what’s this? Well, I didn’t have anything else to do. Well, let’s head to the next thing. That’s someone else. You’d never know the impact that something small like that could have on them. It could be 10 years later, now they’ve taken their first ride. It was that moment somebody invited me 10 years ago, et cetera, et cetera. And that’s the important part that I want people to know about what I do, which is just, it’s called social media for a reason. So reach out. say hi, hey, I love what you said, I like what you did, or I saw you at this place, just so I don’t feel like I’m a ghost sometimes, but also so I know what I can continue to speak to and speak about on these platforms. It’s easier to do that when you kind of have a real, real avatar to speak to. Yeah.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I love that. Ifo, we have four like rapid fire, we horse questions that we ask each of our podcast guests, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. And so we’re going to jump into the first one. Do you have a motto or a favorite saying?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah, I am. I tapped on it a little earlier in our conversation. Number one is trust the process. it’s not going to look exactly how you want it to look at the exact time you want it. But if you trust the process and you know your coaches are going to get you there, do that. And then the second thing was recent that I did a post that did fantastic for some reason. It was Dion Sanders, a famous</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Oh, I reposted it yesterday. Oh, yes, yes, exactly. That’s so funny.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]But yeah, Deon Sanders, keep making plays. And what that really just means is no matter what you’re going through, no matter what it looks like right now, stay the course, keep making plays, keep doing what you need to do, keep doing the 1% that’s going to get to 30%, that 60%, 100% better in whatever time frame. But those two things, I would say, really resonate with me and also what I’ve been sharing with my clientele.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Love that. Second question, who has been the most influential person in your equestrian journey?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah, I noticed y’all asked this question. It’s always, does it have to be singular?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]It doesn’t. It doesn’t. You can choose multiple people.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]First in people. Honestly, my family, and that’s cliche, but they really helped me in those highs and lows. And I’m excited about this, that, and the third. And I’m going to be talking to a wee horse. Oh, nice. Or I’m having a tough week. Oh, let’s keep going. Keep making plays. Isn’t that what you say? Yes, it is. And then also my community. Abriana Johnson, which is a major name in the Black Equestrians or Black in the Saddle group, which just kind of, she’s a pioneer of so many different things. So she’s helped me throughout this timeframe, say. If I can do it, you can do it. And she’s been doing it way longer than I have publicly. So just people like that. And the list goes on, obviously, but she’s the owner of it. So it makes it easier to just use that name and piggyback everybody else. But family and her, she’s been huge for my industry. She was actually my first podcast.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Oh, nice. The third one is, if you could give equestrians one piece of advice, what would it be?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Be the change you wish to see.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]That’s a good one.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah, that’s what we talked about earlier. Just if you want things to look away, if you want to see that, be that example. And that’s exactly why I stepped in the industry as this fitness space. I didn’t see anybody else doing it. And I wanted to be that person that people could say, well, we have that guy. At the least, we got that guy.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]That’s good. The final question, please complete the sentence, for me, horses are.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]majestic. I said that a few times today, but yes, they hope for me. Horses are majestic and we should value them at all costs to the point where we do for ourselves to extend over to them.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I have had the pleasure of speaking to so many amazing people on this podcast and having so many amazing conversations. And I have to say, this has been one of my favorite. It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you and for you to share your wisdom here on the podcast on such a broad topic. And, you know, I said it before we even started this discussion and that I think this is going to be a really popular episode. And I stand behind that now. I think this is going to be a really popular episode. And I think it will speak to a lot of people that are listening. So thank you so much for being a guest here on the We Horse podcast.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Thank you. I’m really thank you. That was that’s as beautiful what you said. I also want to thank Betsy. for the opportunity as well. She was on the last episode. I haven’t gotten to that one yet.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]It’s a good one. It’s a good one.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I know it is. Every time we talk, it’s amazing. Absolutely. Thank you both for the opportunity to connect with you and the platform. I look forward to more opportunities to work with WeHorse and figure things out.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Amazing. Where can people find you? How can they connect with you? And we’ll link everything in the show notes.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Excellent. Um, you can find me on Instagram mainly right now at that’s on Instagram. Um, that’s my main source. My website is and, uh, my program is equestrian fitness Academy. So there’s so much there. You can find me for more information, but as I also mentioned earlier, please do not hesitate to say hi or reach out and say what you learned, what you thought, what you liked, whatever it is. And then also I want people to download and share this podcast with someone because I know that there’s so many gems here that we shared that can help so many more people. So definitely.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Thank you so much, Ifa. Like I said, it was an absolute pleasure.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Same. Thank you.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Thank you for listening to this episode of the Equestrian Connection podcast by wehorse. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a rating and review, as well as share us on social media. You can find us on Instagram at wehorse_usa, and check out our free seven-day trial on, where you can access over 175 courses with top trainers from around the world in a variety of topics and disciplines. Until next time, be kind to yourself, your horses, and others.</p>

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