Plaidcast 354: Tonya Johnston’s Inside Your Ride with Nina Hammarström by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services

Plaidcast Episode 354 Nina Hammarström


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Tonya Johnston, Mental Skills Coach speaks with equestrian fitness coach Nina Hammarström. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!


This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Tonya Johnston [00:00:34] This is episode 354 of the Plaidcast. I am Tonya Johnston, Mental Skills Coach and this is inside Your ride. Today’s podcast is brought to you by the Taylor Harris Insurance Services and the Plaid Horse magazine. On today’s show, I speak with Nina Hammerstrom, who is a fitness and health coach who specializes in working with equestrians. And for my Tip of the Month. I will talk about the difference between showing up to win and showing up to compete, which puts you in a stronger position to win.

Tonya Johnston [00:03:06] Thank you for joining me today. I’m excited to chat with you on this gorgeous fall day. I personally make an effort, I have to say, to find things to appreciate at this time of year because I can get a bit sad when we lose the daylight, which we are about to do. So I try to focus on things like how pretty the light is as it comes through the trees and the colors changing in the forest where I hike. Feeling extra cozy in the barn with all the horses as the temperature gets more crisp. It sort of helps me balance out what I think can be kind of a challenging time for us riders, right? So, you know, think about what do you appreciate about this time of year, right? So like, for example, I don’t drink coffee, but so pumpkin spice flavored lattes are not on my list, but maybe they’re on yours or other treats and things to look forward to. Time with family. You know, there’s a lot about the season that that are positives and so sometimes it takes a little more conscious shift. I know, like I said, at least for me personally, because this can be a bit of a challenge when it gets dark and cold for sure. But we can do it. We can thrive in this season. So a motto I want you to consider adopting. So I was thinking about sort of the transition. I already have so many people like planning for the new show year and, you know, Thermal gets started, people are already starting to go to Florida soon and the next few weeks and all of that. You know, we start gearing up for a new year. And I was thinking, I would like you to consider adopting a motto for this year, this new show season also of no regrets. Right. So this concept I’ve just kind of been thinking about of, you know, we want to sort of avoid the should have what occurred as as far as approach to your riding and achieving your goals and, you know, reaching your potential that you have with you and your horse. And so there are no guarantees, you know, when you’re going after your dreams. But I can guarantee you that you will have regret if you ignore your instincts and you don’t do the little things that you know can help you succeed. So let me also say here. So as soon as I thought about that, I had I had to make an effort that I wanted to also say the little things. I don’t want you thinking that’s doing more and more and more, right? Little things can include things like taking days off, getting rest, you know, riding bareback, playing other sports, you know, travel like that. Don’t think that doing the little things always means work, right? It means being whole and complete and looking at yourself as a really well-rounded, grounded athlete. Right? So next year, for sure, one thing we can guarantee is that it’s going to have ups and downs, right? New ups and new downs potentially. Right. But you will thrive when you put everything you can into it. So let’s start making plans to prepare to your fullest and give it your best. Right. So it’s one thing to be disappointed. Maybe you didn’t get an outcome you wanted, but it’s another to have regret. Right. So they’re different. So say it with me. No regrets. So you might be disappointed about an outcome, something that was out of your control didn’t swing your way. But listen, you’re going to be able to handle that so much better. As long as you have no regrets for how you prepared, you put 100% into your preparation and you know that you were doing your best with your horse in the moment. That’s going to give you so much comfort and confidence going forward so we can live with disappointment. I don’t want anyone living with regret. Right. So that’s sort of my hope and my my encouragement and my motivation that I wanted to share for this month. So we’re going to kick off today’s episode now with a conversation with top equestrian fitness coach Nina Hammerstrom. I have to say that I think this is a great time of year to strategize your performance systems for the next show season. Like in keeping with this theme of No Regrets, right? So fitness and strength are important pieces of the puzzle. Let’s talk about it right after these messages. 

Tonya Johnston [00:09:06] Nina Hammerstrom is a fitness and health coach who has specialized in equestrians since 2005. She’s a show jumping rider who has competed up to the two star Grand Prix, trains young horses and works with riders and their horses. Nina is passionate about her clients growth and development and she has an app and online programs for riders. Hi Nina, thank you so much for joining me today. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:09:31] Hi Tonya thank you for having me. 

Tonya Johnston [00:09:33] Yes and where are you what country are you in? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:09:36] I am in Sweden. Very cold. Very, very, very dark. 

Tonya Johnston [00:09:41] Oh, my goodness. Yes. You’ve already ready now. So how do you do? You do like sunlight or how do you handle the darker time of year there? Do you do like… 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:09:55] Honestly I don’t handle it haha, I’m constantly trying to move. No. I’m kidding. I, I try to go overseas during winter at least once or twice. I am fortunate enough to work with riders in Wellington mostly, but also in California. So that brings me to the sun. I used to live in Australia quite a quite a long time. So that kind of that’s the ultimate weather for me. Sydney. Sydney weather suits me very well. 

Tonya Johnston [00:10:31] Right? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:10:32] But no, it is, it is a struggle to be honest with the darkness and the cold, but we do have a very light summer, so that kind of we have to save up during summer, right? 

Tonya Johnston [00:10:45] Well, and that’s a challenge we all face as it goes into, you know, fall winter less light. And and I think just appreciating the small things is important. And I think honestly, exercise in places where, you know, you can find endorphins is probably a good boost as well. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:11:03] Very much so. It is extremely important to keep your routines not backing off, off on the darkness, you know, getting up at the same time, sticking to your routines and and you know, we do Sweden we have always been a cold and dark country in the winter, so we’re quite used to making the most of it during and, you know, having insulated houses and triple windows and everything that makes it warm and cozy and light inside. 

Tonya Johnston [00:11:37] So, Nina, as a fitness and health coach, what is it that you provide to Riders?  

Nina Hammerstrom [00:11:44] I do online training mainly. I do personal training one on one as well on a zoom, but also in person from time to time. But most of my trainings are online and they are horse specific. So I do a lot of riding analysis. I look at the rider, I look at riding videos and I look at the horses both mounted and dismounted and and then I put together a workout program for each rider rider. And, and they are very personalized and tailored to what that Rider needs to improve. 

Tonya Johnston [00:12:26] Mm hmm. Gotcha. And how so? How did you learn, like, your techniques around, like, lifting and weight training and functional movement and all of that? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:12:38] Well, I’ve kind of handpicked different ideas from different sports. As I said, I tried boxing. I have been doing quite a lot of Pilates. I’ve been doing tennis and surfing, swimming. So I, um, I handpicked exercises and I put together. So most of my exercises are very compound and I do weights and of course I incorporate weights into all, all my kind of trainings, but it’s a lot of bodyweight as well. And resistance bands and mobility is a big thing that you can incorporate in the strength exercises. So you don’t actually have to separate all of these things, you know, coordination, balance, mobility, body control, all of those can be incorporated if you if you have a little bit of an understanding, of course. And I think where my training is very unique is that I understand biomechanics from on the horse. And I can tell, you know, where does this come from and what does the horse cause and what does the rider cause and where do we need the improvement and where can we help the horse to get straighter or get more even or whatever it might be? 

Tonya Johnston [00:14:06] What do you think would be helpful for more riders to just know about how their fitness maybe impacts their riding? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:14:15] I think a lot of the time when when we focus so much on the horse, you know, what’s wrong with the horse, what’s wrong with the saddle, what’s wrong with with the footing or whatever? It’s it’s a sport of marginal gain and against. And I, I really, you know, I can see how many are not paying attention to their own impact. Of course, we are on the horse for such a short period of time over the day. You know, if you break it down on the hours of the day, then we are on the horse a very short period of time compared to what the horse is dismounted, of course. But still we do quite a lot during that time and we can make such a difference. And I mean, this is a sport where everybody is trying to monetize on selling you vibrating boots or magnetic blankets or and solariums or whatever it might be. And that’s all good and well, but why are we having these micro damages in the first place? I did a talk with a veterinarian not long ago and she was saying, you know how much it impacts from the riders that I’ve been working with and we are mapping this over time, of course. And the difference it makes in the horses health is massive. So I think we are all kind of we all always focus a lot on things that, um, that maybe yeah, of course it’s important with the saddle and the farrier and everything else. But we also need to realize that if we are not connected with muscular-wise on diagonal contact, for instance, it’s going to be very hard to get the inside leg connected to the outside rein. It’s going to be a struggle and you need to do it over and over and over again instead of practicing that and your balance, for instance, off the horse. And when you get on the horse, you can focus on what the horse needs to develop. That is something that I think many neglect and they look so much on the horse and what’s wrong with that and what’s uneven here. And they don’t realize that a lot can be done dismounted. 

Tonya Johnston [00:16:42] Are there things that are that you suggest or that generally good ideas for things to do before someone gets on their horse? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:16:52] Just before as a warm up? 

Tonya Johnston [00:16:54] Yeah, as a warm up or as body awareness, whatever. Yeah. What would you suggest? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:17:00] Yeah. First of all I think you can do sidesteps, you know. You know. You know how you either stand with a wide apart with your feet and just go down on one knee and then on the other or bend you bend one knee and then the other you go over to side to side to side bends so that you open up the inside of your thighs and open up your hip a little bit and you start to engage your core on the front of your core. And then you also start to relax your back a little bit, which is something that inhibits a lot of motion on the horse. If we have, we have to kind of engage our core, but we have to also relax in our backs and the side steps are perfect for that. Something else that we can do just before we ride are hip rotations so that you stand on one leg and you start rotating your hips, lifting it up and then rotating out to the side and going back a little bit behind you and then up again and around and a. 

Tonya Johnston [00:18:05] Circle with your with your leg. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:18:07] Basically. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So a little bit of a circle with your knee, really, I guess. Right. Right. With a bent leg so you don’t have to lift a whole. And that will also engage your balance just before you ride, which is great. So and and one thing that many actually neglect is the contact of the wide part of your foot that is going to be in the stirrup. You know how the wide part of your foot, the inside of the wide part of your foot that has support by the stirrup, that’s the part that you should activate before you ride so that you start putting weight there. Many stand, many riders stand on the outside of their feet in the stirrup and have more pressure on the outside, in the stirrup than in the inside. And that can be kind of correlated with the fact that you don’t want to squeeze your knee, but you don’t have to squeeze your knee just because you have connection with the inside of your foot. So. That’s also when you stand on one foot, on one leg and start doing this. Hip rotations. You can also think about the contact with the ground in your boot. With the inside of your foot. And if you need to support, you know, you just hold on to something a little bit, but try to kind of get your hand off the wall or or the boxes door or whatever it might be that you’re holding on to. You can kind of start you can have a little hand there for support if you do lose your balance, but try to get it off as much as possible when you do the rotations. Mm hmm. And the last one would be shoulder rotations that you kind of try to get your neck long, get your shoulders away from your ears and start thinking with your shoulder blades coming down behind you and almost squeezing a little ping pong ball at the end of your shoulder blade wings, so to say. Mm hmm. 

Tonya Johnston [00:20:18] Like doing circles like that or just opening and closing. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:20:21] No circles with your arms or, you know, having. You can even have a whip if you want, if you have a long one or if you have, like, a broomstick around that you can do rotations behind your head and around and back and then forward again and kind of lifting one arm and getting one down and doing rotations with something in your hand so that you’re starting to feel if there isn’t a unevenness between left and right. And also, you know, it’s starting to loosen up, but making your neck long and pushing shoulders away from you is is something that we should activate before we get on the horse. 

Tonya Johnston [00:21:02] Mm hmm. Yeah, I think it’s important, absolutely, to be as aware as possible of the state that you’re in before you. Mesh with your horse’s state on a given day, right, to sort of take stock of where you’re at and get yourself to as as neutral and balanced a place as possible. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:21:22] Exactly. I was actually going to tap into that because your field of a mental coaches is so important. You know, being present, being there, being aware of how does it feel today. And, you know, there are so many riders that don’t. I always walk my horses before I get on. You know, I power walk beside them to connect with them and I start to bend them around their inside and I turn them and I tune in with them, you know, when I walk them on both sides, I always walk with them both on the right and the left side so that they are tuning in with me and following me. Before I even get on. And that warms me up and it warms them up and I back them up a little bit. I make sure that they. You know, that they start stepping backwards and loosening up their their stifles is it called. Yeah. The hind legs and that sort of thing and they’re hocks and they started bend them before I get on because that kind of that kind of movement and making them follow me when I’m off then that will connect them to me. And of course I don’t have any phone or anything. Be present at that time. Right. And I think that’s that’s a great warm up just for you and your horse. And you can do lunges if you go into walking lunges if you want with your horse beside you. Mhm. And you can do backward lunges. That’s very good for balance and they can back up at the same time and they will, you know, they will start to tune in and, and think what, what is she doing today. What, what. You know, and they will start getting interested and because horses are interested they are by nature interested in what’s going on. They want to communicate and that, you know, curiosity, I, I really feel with having worked with a lot of young horses, that curiosity that really helps when I get on. 

Tonya Johnston [00:23:28] Mhm. That’s interesting. Yeah I would, I like and especially I do think as a sport we have such tradition that doesn’t sort of allow the athletic nature of our job as riders to flourish. Right. Whereas other sports wouldn’t even consider starting cold, whereas sometimes we go like. From riding at home, you’re in your car, you’re commuting, you get there, you get right on your horse. And it’s there’s no the transition. There’s not really many sports that you would do without some kind of a warmup. Right. And so I think it’s a really good idea that what you’re talking about, about walking your horse, I’ll often have people do that just even if their horse is busy getting ready, let’s say, at a show and they have a groom or they have people helping them, that they at least take a big walk around the showground just to elevate their heart rate on purpose, to feel that they are using their body in a positive way, that they’re bringing their heart rate up by their own accord rather than feeling sort of more vulnerable when when it’s when it’s nerves or the pressure of the situation that suddenly makes your heart race. If you’ve already done it yourself, if you’ve already worked to be physically present, then it’s something that is a strength and something that you’re going to harness rather than something that’s sort of like hitting you like a truck, you know what I mean? So but I do think there was, you know, in any other sport, there’s always a warm up process that that really loosens you up and helps you kind of feel out for yourself. Like, how do I feel today? Because that’s an important assessment right before we’re we’re so busy to focus, like you said earlier, so busy to focus on the horse that sometimes we’re missing things that we’re holding or protecting or there’s a weakness or what have you that we don’t know about. 

Tonya Johnston [00:25:28] That then we transfer. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:25:30] Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, you know, we always warm up the horse and riders will say, well, I warm up when I warm up my horse. And that’s all well and good. Let’s if you were already, as you say, you know, if you’re already warmed up, then you don’t. Then you can spend that time really feeling what the horse is like today. Right? If you are already warm, if you’re not like you say, you’re winning through your old or somebody else has been walking it and taking him with it and then you get on and yeah, yeah. A professional rider at the highest level they can do that because they, they have they have gotten used to that system. So, yeah, that that makes a lot of sense to warm yourself up and really do all these steps before you get on. Right. Right. You can give your horse the fair chance.

Tonya Johnston [00:26:24] Right. And what about what are 2 or 3 ideas of how to how you would I thought here’s one that I myself always struggle with wanting to have more in my toolbox with Is that recovery? So after you’ve had a long day, your body’s tired, your, you know, maybe you’ve been at a show all day on your feet, you’ve completed all the things, or it’s even a day of training where you’ve been at work and then gone to the barn and, you know, juggling so many things. What do you do? What’s what’s sort of a best practice? What are some suggestions you could give us for recovery and rest? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:27:03] Stretching your hamstrings is always very beneficial for every rider, and that will also include your lower back, which will be tired after a long day. So it’s just a normal hamstring stretch getting your leg up maybe on the basin when you’re brushing your teeth or whatever it might be, you know, instead of just standing there, you can you can in brushing, you can do something and stretch a little bit. So hamstring stretch inner thighs. If you have the time to do a little bit of inner thigh, like just leaning down and seeing so that your inner thighs are getting a good stretch and the hip flexors are always a good thing if you – but hamstrings. If I have to choose one, it would be hamstrings because they do shorten up, they do interfere with a lot of our glutes and our lower back. So all of the, you know, wear and tear that you feel in a tired lower back or your knees is often very much related to hamstring shortness. Okay. And recovery also you can do quite a active recovery by just do balancing. And again, you know, these hip rotations are very good to open up the hips and the hip flexes and stretch them. So that would be my my number one. And as I said, you know, whilst you brush brushing your teeth or watching a series or something, you know, make the time count so that you don’t have to do a full mobility program if you don’t want to. But having three stretches and changing those stretches from time to time so that you change them around, you don’t do the same ones all the time, but if you choose a three and then you do, you know, different three and then you come back to the three, then you will see progression. 

Tonya Johnston [00:29:07] Right? Right. That’s great. Yeah. And I think everyone is busy and everyone’s, you know, looking to add things in to an already full day. But I like your idea of multitasking and doing things, Adding some stretching into some of our regular routine and chores of the day is a good way to do it. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:29:26] If you if you are in the in the situation that you have to cook. That’s also I mean, not everybody does and a lot of people maybe don’t have kids at home and that sort of thing. But I certainly do. And I need to get home and and you know, I get my son home from practice football practice. And and I always throw a leg up on the counter and do some hamstring stretches when I cook or when I cut something or whatever. And you don’t have to go as far as up on the bench. You can have a chair by your side and just throw a leg up there so that you don’t if you tight it hamstrings are tight. You can just do that so it doesn’t have to go all the way up on the bench. 

Tonya Johnston [00:30:13] So if I’m a rider and I’m feeling these some of these mistakes or some of these signs, what what would indicate that I could use, you know, some better off the horse training? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:30:23] If you have the feeling when you’re riding or, you know, around the barn or whatever, that your reactivity is not there, that your timing is not there, that’s a great indicator that dismounted training will definitely benefit. So if you feel that, Oh, I missed that, I missed that distance or I missed that momentum where I was doing the flying change and I didn’t time it right. Or it could be that you feel that you’re imbalanced and almost feel that scared feeling when your horse does a sidestep, when you’re out trail riding or whatever it might be, or if you’re in Western, that would be very evident, you know, that you’re that you’re left on one side and you are a bit behind the movement. That’s a great indicator that you should probably do dismounted training. But also if you have a horse that isn’t feeling, even if you have that really stiff side or if you have reoccurring injuries, that’s a good indicator as well. You know, if you have that the the injuries are coming on the same, that could be, of course, you know, traced back to different things. But one of the main things there is actually that the micro damages are done much, much earlier than the horse actually gets lame and then, you know, you’re wearing and tearing on the same spots, so to say. And and that is a great indicator. If you have recurring injuries that shouldn’t be there. 

Tonya Johnston [00:32:01] In your own body too. Right? Is that. What you mean too? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:32:03] Absolutely. Yes in your own body and in your in your horses as well. You know, if you have to. But yeah, it definitely is. If you have of it in your own body. 

Tonya Johnston [00:32:15] Right? Sure, sure, sure. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:32:16] Stiffness or, you know, always having. I get that all the time, you know. Back a back pain and knee pain is something that comes back to me. And usually it’s actually down to hip mobility issues. Mm hmm. 

Tonya Johnston [00:32:32] Mm hmm. Right. Especially for, obviously, for riders, because we’re we’re using strength and we’re having, like, the, like the physical sort of dimensions of our sport. Obviously, our legs are in a different position than they would be normal day to day life. Yeah. So. So let me so when you. If I was to work out well in full disclosure. Right. So I did a workout yesterday from your app, which was so fun, which I really enjoyed, and I really liked that there was so much with that included balance because I think obviously that’s so important. And it also for me at least, it’s just it helps a workout feel more engaging. It’s it brings your mind to the work, right? You can’t get away from it. You can’t just sort of like be thinking about like 15 other things and just doing reps. You have to really be present. So that’s something that I always appreciate. So I really liked that part. But in general, so obviously you weren’t there watching me, but in general at a gym, I, you know, I going around, I’m trying to come up with things to do. And I’ve had different training throughout my life and, you know, working on different parts of my body, what have you. What would you say generally are some mistakes people make at the gym as far as like how they go about it or how they even lift? Like what are some of the common, what are common things that maybe have easy fixes to them. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:34:05] Mhm. I would, number one would be not doing a body specific exercises, you know not doing compound exercises and lifting and doing bicep curls or doing. I don’t know. Putting – the worst thing is when you just go into a leg machine or do you know that those things are almost, I mean if you like it and if you want to do those things for certain muscle groups, then go ahead and do it. But don’t call it rider-specific or if you’re, you know, if you like running, for instance, then that’s all well and good and you get conditioning and that sort of thing. And running is a good thing because it’s a natural movement, but it won’t really get you the impact on your riding. So rider specific exercises, compound balance, mobility, coordination in the same exercise that would be and that’s probably what you felt yesterday when you tried it out. You know that it was engaging more muscle groups and you don’t need to lift heavy. It’s about lifting in a way that challenges your inner core muscles and deep core muscles and and those kind of things. Another thing that I see a lot of riders do is not changing the exercises or the load often enough. So you go to the gym or you go and do exercise and you do the same thing over and over again instead of changing it up. Because like horses, we adapt within about four weeks to a certain load of exercises or and, and like our horses, we, if we just want to keep being where we are, that’s all that you can you can keep doing what you’re doing and you will not get better and you will not get worse. But if you do want to change? Then? You need to change something every four weeks about. And that, I would say, is the main one major thing, you know, not changing exercise or load often enough. 

Tonya Johnston [00:36:25] Okay. Right. Yeah. Because we kind of get in a habit, and especially if it’s not our expertise, it’s sort of like, well, I know how to do this, so I’m going to keep doing it, you know? So, yeah, it’s hard to come up with. Yeah, exactly. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:36:37] It’s comfort zoning. 

Tonya Johnston [00:36:39] Right? Right. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:36:40] And we and I think you would be, you know, you would have the same in the mental coaching, right? You know, with comfort zoning and being comfortable in and you know, once you’ve got even going to the gym or starting an exercise program that that gets you further than most. You know, you’ve already taken such a big step. So please don’t waste your time doing that because then you won’t feel the results. And if you don’t feel the results, you’re not going to want to keep doing it right, because nobody wants to keep doing something that they feel doesn’t give you growth or progression. So then we fall into old habits, which is probably not doing it at all. Right? And one thing I get from many writers actually, is if they are in pain, they will do it. But once they’re out of pain. Right. And this is so weird and twisted and backwards, but once they’re out of if you have a back pain, then you know, okay, I need to get something done. And they do something and they start working out and they it gets better and all of the sudden it. Kind of shifts out again. Right. Don’t do it anymore. And I get this, with so many, especially super busy riders, you know, that that have kids and are trainers at the same time. And they do so many things. You know, they they have so many caps. You know, they’re running a stable their show riders, their trainers, they are parents. And I think like we all are, you know, like I am, like you are, you know, and and then it kind of tends to get deprioritized over time. And I think the major reason for that is that you don’t change often enough. So you don’t see growth as much because once you see growth and change, you tend to stick to it. 

Tonya Johnston [00:38:41] Right. No, absolutely. And it becomes exciting and dynamic and yeah, you want it. And I think it’s it’s a good idea to look at your cross-training as. As a way to give yourself confidence and optimism for the future. So it’s not just about like solving what’s now. It’s sort of like this vision of what I can be. And so this is a good time of year as we sort of wind down 2023 and get ready for next year. You know, winter circuits are like right around the corner. So it’s a really good time to be considering. Okay, what kind of rider do I want to be and what practices am I going to use to support that? 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:39:21] Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, it’s it’s the results you can get in a short period of time with just small changes. And it’s not about doing it for hours on end. It’s about 20 minutes. Three times a week. Yeah. And, you know, just you can get so much out of it if you just do a little bit of tweaks and think and plan and make a plan for the week on Monday, which days will I be able to work out today or this week? Sorry, not today, but this week. 

Tonya Johnston [00:39:55] Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:39:57] Yeah. And then holding yourself, keeping yourself accountable and. Yeah, right. That’s right. Definitely gets your results so quickly. I don’t have any riders that don’t come back saying I can’t believe how quickly this changed and they will say maybe the first time. Now you’re trying to kill me. 

Tonya Johnston [00:40:17] Yeah. And then they realize, yeah, no, for sure. It’s exciting. And I appreciate your work and thank you so, so much for taking the time. 

Nina Hammerstrom [00:40:27] Well, thank you for having me and if there are any questions that come up and feel free to reach out. 

Tonya Johnston [00:42:10] For Tip of the month. Today we are going to discuss showing up to win versus showing up to compete, which actually puts you in a better position to win. So that might sound confusing. So let’s break it out, right? So hear me out. When you show up to win, you’re focused on outcomes. You focus on a score or a ribbon when you show up to compete. You’re focusing on the small things and the process of achieving your potential. Winning is therefore a byproduct of your competitive mindset. And doing every last thing in your power to be your best on that particular day. Right. So that’s what we want. We want to be competitors. You want to show up excited to compete, right? And when you do that, you’re divorced from the stress and worry of what might or might not happen. And your focus is squarely on your routine and activating your strengths. This quote by Bill Walsh exemplifies the idea, “Champions behave like champions before they’re champions”. Right. Let Me Say that again. “Champions. Behave like champions. Before they’re champions.” So you so this idea is that you aren’t showing up to try to get something you don’t have yet. Right. Such as winning your classic that day. That hasn’t happened yet. You’re not getting there like, oh, geez, I want this. I don’t know if I’m going to get it. I don’t I’m not sure of the future. Right. You’re showing up instead with a system that helps you compete at your best. Right. So that is what’s going to increase the odds that you will, in fact, win. Right. So that’s what you want to put yourself in a position. To be successful. That’s the most you’re going to hope for. That’s the most you can do. That’s what’s in your power. So let’s break this down, right? So showing up to win. Let’s talk about it. What is showing up to win mean? Means you’re focused on things that are out of your control, like what you’re going to score, or who else is in your class and how they’re going to do. Totally out of your control. Right. Showing up to win also means you’re focused on the result. Instead of how. You will ride the course or handle the challenging weather that day, or help your horse be brave at the far end of the ring. Right. The third part of showing what showing up to win means is that you’re usually carrying some tension, either consciously or unconsciously, because success is uncertain. Right. When your whole purpose revolves around something that’s out of your control. It’s a very stressful position to put yourself in. Right. Instead showing up to compete. Means. One, you’re focused on things in your control, such as your preparation routine. You take the time to pack your snacks and lunch before you leave for your show day. That would be a great example. So you’re putting your time and energy into something that’s in your control that is going to help you be a competitor. It’s going to help put you in a position to do your best to. You’re excited to face the challenges that are coming your way. Because when you go to compete, you’re there with like intention of, okay, let’s go handle the day, let’s go do this right? So you’re excited to see like tough bending lines in your equitation round or brand new jumps that they pulled out for your derby that day? You know, you’re excited for those challenges because you’re there to compete. You’re there to bring out your best. And third when you’re showing up to compete. You’re going to feel more calm. And relaxed because your focus is on things you know and trust to bring out your best. Like visualizing your course while in that while you’re in the tack room, like you go back to the barn, you’re in the tack room, you’re visualizing, you’re experiencing yourself riding the plan and successfully partnering with your horse, like communicating seamlessly with your horse throughout the whole course. So that’s going to give you a sense of calm and relaxation because you’re letting yourself rehearse that, right? So you’re you’re letting yourself have a rehearsal that puts you, again, in a really good position to be the best competitor you can that day, right? So I encourage all of us to show up to compete. Right. Rather than showing up to win. I think it’s a it’s a it’s a small it might feel or sound like a small thing. It’s actually everything. It’s actually one of the most important mental skills and distinctions we can make. When we talk about mindset. So again, I encourage all of us to show up to compete because we’re never really riding against anyone to beat them, right? Really think about you’re competing to be better than you were the day before and you’re competing to be your best on any given day. So I’m excited for everyone. I’m already getting excited for the New Year and I hope everyone’s feeling motivated and excited to sort of wrap things up. Think about all the things they did, you know, this year that were successful systems they put in place that they’re going to continue with and getting geared up to bring their best out in the new year. 

Tonya Johnston [00:49:14] You can find the links to today’s guests and the show notes at follow the podcast on all of the social medias. Just search for the plaid horse. You can follow me on Facebook at Tonya Johnston, Mental skills coach and on Instagram at Inside Your Ride. Please rate and review our show on iTunes. Five star reviews Help people discover our show. And if you enjoy our conversation, please share it with your friends. If you have a question about your mental skills for riding, please message me on Facebook. Inside Your Ride is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book. You can find out more about my mental skills coaching on my website at Remember focus is a skill. Use it to make every ride great.