As we know, riding horses requires physical strength in order to be “one” with our partner. We influence how our horses move through cues from our head to our toes. So, why is our body awareness and physical movement looked past as if it isn’t a humongous key to proper communication?
Well, we don’t know but on this episode with Betsy Mac, a fellow yogi, we talked about how important is it to practice on a mat to help our horses succeed. it was a great conversation, going over why yoga is beneficial, how posture imbalances affect our horses and how you can get more involved in feeling yourself.. literally. Deep breaths, Shavasana and down dog for life!
Betsy Mac has teamed up with Canadian Quarter Horse Association to share the benfits of yoga and teach you some basic moves to get started on your yoga journey!
I’m Shelby Olyschlager. This is we can hustle and we are barrel racers. join us on our journey to personal growth for us and our horses together. We can hustle. Hello everyone. Welcome to this episode today, I sat down with Ontario barrel racer. Also someone who’s interested in yoga, which I absolutely love because I enjoy yoga very much. And I think my horses feel the benefit that I do on my mat as well as me and my day to day life. Please give it a listen. If you liked it, I’d love to hear from you hit subscribe, do all that good stuff. But for now enjoy the episode today on a show, we have an exciting guest who is an advanced CLV and advanced barrel racer, and I was really excited to get down and talk to her and just pick her brain a little bit about her yoga and barrel racing experience.
So Betsy, welcome to this show and thank you for joining me. Thank you. Shall we? I’m glad to be here. Yeah, me too. I’m glad you agreed to do this because this is something I am so big about. And I just think like our own personal fitness applies so much and it just helps us so much with our horses. So do you have anything like for people that don’t know who you are, can you just give a bit of an introduction and a bit of your journey that has taken you to where you are now? Absolutely. So hi everyone. My name’s Betsy McFarland’s. So, um, my journeys, you go to yoga. So I am a paramedic is my primary, um, role in life. And then I started playing rugby actually in high school. And that’s where I first learned how to weight train. So I started learning the basis of weight training and compound movements and those types of things.
So when I was affirmative, that was just kind of natural to continue weight training and circuit training. But then I started to find that I was getting really, really sore and I actually did a fitness competition. And once I really leaned down, it was quite obvious. I had some significant muscle imbalances and then that led me, um, one of my best friends who I worked with. She did yoga. So I went to a hot yoga class with her and that’s when I really discovered yoga. So that was back, I would say, 2013, 2014 in Ottawa. There’s a few different studios. So the ones to do, I joined, they had three different locations, so you could do different types of yoga. And then when I started riding really competitively again, I saw that it really changed the way that I rode the body control. I had the ability to identify imbalances in myself.
I was sitting in this bottle, for example. Um, and then especially with work, I started to become aware that I was having some chronic shoulder pain. And a lot of that was from the positions I was in on a regular basis or they weren’t balanced. So yoga really fundamentally. I started practicing in a studio and then with the weight training background, the paramedic background, it just all makes sense how it can be so beneficial to riding. And it’s not as hard, hard on the body as some weight training can be. Exactly. And I liked the balance. If you’re doing weight
Training and then yoga, it kind of counters the effects of it and getting like the nice balance. And that’s the one thing with yoga is it’s such a balance. And the things that it helps you with is like the mental balance, the literal balance, and for riding, it’s such a huge thing. And I find, you know, if people are sore and stuff and just being more body aware where it’s like, what you do on the mat, I think completely translates over into your writing. So what were some of the biggest things that you really noticed that helped you from doing yoga to your writing? So for sure
With, um, well in yoga and the foundation of yoga practice is balanced, like we’ve talked about. So when I started doing fosters to the left and fosters to the right, I started to notice that my balance wasn’t as good to the left, my coordination wasn’t the left. I was much tighter. Um, it’s more resistant, I would say to some foster. So for sure, definitely the body awareness and I’m definitely classic, but like somewhat of a clumsy person and my spacial awareness of where I am in space, where my body parts are in space, always struggle with that. So when I started doing yoga, I started to be able to, I would say, micromanage myself more aware. So like I could set certain body parts to certain places. Then I wouldn’t have to think about them anymore. And I find with writing, that’s what we’re doing constantly.
We’re constantly adjusting our body and adjusting her body. And you need to be able to focus on multiple parts of your body at once. And I definitely found that yoga was the perfect platform by that. Um, more recently doing a change and started, well, I do multiple styles, but a style called Vic from yoga. Um, it really focuses on and they say it all the time finding ease in the effort. So I started doing Vikrum. I started noticing that I was actually trying too hard to get into some of these postures. And I was actually limiting my mobility because I was trying so hard. And then I started to realize that if I relaxed, slowed down and didn’t rock, I could still be just as strong, but not have that little bit of tension. And then I started realizing the best barrel racers look like they’re not doing anything.
So they find ease and the effort. So I started realizing, and I pay attention. I would get, I’d start to clench my jaw. And if my jaw got taped, the rest of my body did. And that’s very telling with horses as well, you’ll see a worst I’ve to really pay attention to like their bottom lip and their jaw. And when they’re tense, they start to suck it up. And I’m like, Oh, I started wrecking. And you, even in myself, I start to notice if I start to get tense or I start clenching my teeth, I need to take a breath. I need to slow down. I need to find ease. And that’s been another huge part as well as patients. So I would get in a posture and I’d be like, this really hurts. I really want to get out of it. And I would something, you know, you want to quit or just gets very tense and you and I started realizing that I would just acknowledge it, breathe through it, stay in it.
And then usually I’d find it, you know, maybe even a little bit more depth, a little bit more strength. And, but I was patient enough to be there. And that has also crossed over into the barrel racing world, because sometimes we want the result. We want the release, we want, we want it, we want it, we want it. But sometimes you start patient with the horse and find it. You gotta get a, you know, give the time for them to find the right answer. And I’ve noticed I’ve become so much more patient and calm and definitely present a lot of people talk about yoga as they’re so present, but for sure when you’re on the mat and you’re practicing, it’s actually really difficult for your mind to wander because you might fall over, you might lose your balance. So it’s practice as well to learn how to be present and not be, you know, tuning out or zoning out. Like sometimes we might do that.
Exactly. That’s so true. Exactly. Like it’s kind of forcing us to be present, even if the sport isn’t here and that’s the thing, or it’s kind of like a type of meditation, but it’s very easy because you’re not just sitting there and trying to like get clarity, power and stuff, but you’re just, it’s forcing you to get the brain control that you need that will help you when you do ride and help you just with everyday. Like just little things of like, you’re like in, that’s kind of what I love about yoga is just the connection of the body and mind. And it’s not two separate things. They work hand in hand. And one thing you said that I relate with is just like the clenching of the jaw. And I remember someone said, I think it was joy Vargo she just said, how horses mimic us as far as us, like picking our shoulder up or us sitting our hip.
And, and even like, if it makes sense, our jaw, I’m sure the horse, like, I’m sure they’re going to smell that. Yeah, exactly. Like they’re going to, and just being more, I guess, aware, and also just kind of like actually have being more intentional about your moves will help as well. So if you were to, if you were to give advice to someone that like they’re complaining of being sore and they just hurt and ache, but they’re not sure where to get started. What would you recommend for someone that wanted to maybe take that first yoga class or just kind of like ease into it at their own pace? Like what would you say for the beginners?
So if you’re looking to start, um, there are lots of free yoga videos, um, on YouTube, there’s a few different yoga teachers. They have different series, but I found going to, um, a true studios. So obviously we can’t do that with COVID, but many studios that film with their really, really high quality teachers who are teaching beginners are used to teaching people who are new. And I find they’re just super, super thorough. So if you’re going to start a lot of the studios offer, like, you know, my studio personally is not North here in Barre and they now have an online platform, but if you want to try it for seven days, it’s free sign up, try as many different classes as you want for seven days and then commit. Um, my old studio in Ottawa is pure yoga and they also have an app.
They have again, tons of different classes. So yes, you can. Absolutely. If you know, you don’t want to commit, you don’t want to spend any money, just go on YouTube. There’s um, I believe it’s yoga by Adrianne or that line. She does like 30 day challenges. And there’s also different variations. Um, if you can look up different postures. So I’m actually doing a yoga series for the Cambodian quarter horse association. And my next video is funny. Actually, this topic is what do you need to before you even start yoga? And one of the things is it is beneficial to buy a mat. You can get maps basically anywhere. Obviously Lulu women makes really high quality mats. They are in the range of 50 to $70. I’ve had my mat though, the entire time I have the same math that I bought seven years ago. So if you do the math of the year, it’s totally worth it. Cause some of the semester, they actually they’re made from lesser quality plastics and rubbers and someone had a really bad smell to them. That’s what I noticed with kind of the same ads, but I found winners. Actually, you can get like that average 30 to $50 mat, because if you, if you don’t have a good mat, sometimes you’ll find that your feet are sliding or the mat too much. And
You would definitely recommend the investment in finding a good, a good source and maybe even Googling a few of the common postures before you actually try to attempt a class. I know that was one of the things that I was like, wait, what is this? And you’re going around and you’re trying to figure out what it is. So things like, you know, most common yoga postures, the child’s pose that downward dog and a few tips on how to actually do it properly. Wish I would have known before I tried my first yoga class. Cause it would have been a lot more beneficial and then definitely make sure you have some water hydrated. Uh, can’t emphasize it enough and yoga. You’re really going to be mobilizing your fascia. And if you don’t know what fascia is, I strongly recommend Googling it. Our horses have it. We had it.
And what yoga does is it encourages you to learn how to breathe into tight places and you start mobilizing that fascia, but to keep it mobile, it needs to be hydrated drinking a lot of water. Like this is my, my Mason jar that I carry with the day it’s a leader. Um, I also put, I put pink Himalayan salt. And if you can see it’s a bit cloudy, I put pink Himalayan salt rate in it because yeah, with the horses and being outside, we sweat so much. And with your workouts and personally it’s delicious GI a little bit of lemon or lime. So being hydrated, doing a little research before you start, you’re starting with a beginner class and having, having a decent quality map to get started.
So importantly, an open mind. Yes,
Yes, definitely. It’s going to yoga is going to bring up and basically I say, make you look in the mirror. So it’s going to bring up a lot of emotions, potentially, especially if you’re doing hip openers. So when you stretch your hips, I’ve done a few hip opening classes and you walk in and you’re like, I feel like I just need to cry, but what’s happening is you’ve been holding a lot of tension and emotion in some of your muscles and holding that tension and release it. Sometimes a lot of weird emotions come up and you’re going to be in positions where you’re actually physiologically vulnerable, like back. And you’re opening basically opening your heart center. That’s vulnerable as you know, potential predator, prey, animal, we are it’s vulnerable. So you’re put in positions where you’re challenged to be aware. Are you in, are you anxious?
Are you in patients telling yourself you can’t do it instead? Can you just don’t judge yourself be, this is where I am today. I’m going to breathe into it. I’ll be that much stronger or the next day. So yeah, definitely a good point. Just accepting yourself. And that’s one thing I always hear. It’s like you are inside. It’s going to be different than other like don’t judge. Don’t try to hit a standard it’s and that’s what my favorite thing about yoga is, is I find like in a competition sense, your, your brain is wired from the competition. Then when you go to the yoga mat, you go to a completely different place where there is no judgment. There is no, there’s no winning. There’s no nothing. It’s just you and yourself. You figuring yourself out and yeah, for my own journey, like that was the biggest thing, like what you said with the whole like fascia breathe into that unconscious.
And that’s where like the magic happens. Like that’s where, like, if you just give yourself that 10, 15 minutes a day and do a little bit here, like you’re going to get so much benefits that your horse will. Thank you for the one thing you did say is that you’re partnering up with [inaudible]. Can you tell us a little bit about how that started and what people can expect? Yes, yes, yes. So I’m actually, this goes back to, um, when I show Quarterhorse, um, my youth advisor. So I was a part of, one of the night teams when I went to Ohio the first time. And, um, Lauren Houghton was my youth advisor. So she has some the media committee director for the Canadian quarter horse association. So she wrote to me about brainstorming some different, um, content, different video series. And I said, absolutely. Um, I could talk on and on about yoga.
We’re also going to a concussion awareness, uh, video series right now. Yes. I have been doing a series about yoga. A lot of the things we covered today, the different things that I wish I would have known before I started some of the benefits. There are a lot of people aren’t aware of people probably think of yoga and think, Oh, it’s stretching. And I’m like, there’s so much more to it, especially for horseback riders. So currently in the middle of doing the yoga series and then next, yes, there’s been a new law. I brought into practice here in Ontario about concussions and, um, being with the OBRA safety director, I’m currently working on the removal and return to sport protocols. Um, Rowan’s law as a competitive organization. We need to have some policy in place to protect people who have potentially suffered concussion. So, um, I’ve personally had three symptomatic. Luckily none of them from horseback riding. Um, but as, as you know, a suffer and now as an advocate, um, I want to educate people on some of the signs and symptoms and some of these new policies that you should be seeing basically across the board for all different organizations.
That’s amazing. Good for you like that. Yeah. I’m thinking, is that planning on launching?
Oh yeah. So Rowan’s law is, um, it’s actually still currently in practice that anyone who is under the age of 26 in Ontario or any parent of anyone under the age of 18, has to review the concussion awareness resources on the government of Ontario website. So it’s basically just how to recognize signs of confession. Like with my personally, I was so concussed that I didn’t realize I was concussed and often the symptoms aren’t really obvious until two, three hours. Sometimes even days later, the part of that, uh, that law is to just bring people’s awareness to it. And that it’s recognized a second serious hit in a short period of time can cause death. And that is what happened to, um, Rowan. She was a rugby player and got hit and then got hit again. And she died on a field in Ottawa. So that’s where this law came from.
Um, so currently right now we’ve got to review resources. And then as of July 1st, any organization who has organized sport has to have a removal and return to sport protocol. So what that basically is going to look like right now is that we’ll have some designated individuals. So if someone has a fall in the arena or is reported to, you know, maybe fallen outside, if someone’s fallen, we need to, uh, assess them for symptoms and remove them from sport. If it’s suspected they have, uh, have a concussion. And as everyone, cause like I said, I’ve been there. I was so concussed that I could. So I did. And it ended up making you really, really sick and that danger of concussions it’s in some cases that you’re as sick as you are.
Yeah. And if you had someone in that position that could kind of screen you to see if you were concussed or not, when it changed a lot of things.
Exactly. So this is well known in hockey and I think soccer a lot of the recognized or recreational organized sports teams. They’ve had trainers and they’ve been doing concussion assessments, but in the horse world, it hasn’t really been a thing. Like we, we obviously we go in and reassess, then they go to a hospital, they put there’s no real followup or, um, you know, procedure to make safe. So that’s what, uh, that’s what I was going to do. And so Natalie, you posted and I’ll be happy to talk more about it and answer any questions that anyone has about it. Yeah.
Cool. That’s actually one of that kind of switches over to one of the other things I want to talk about. It was about injury prevention and obviously a helmet for concussions for as far as yoga goes, what are things like if someone were injured or they’re trying to like, how can it actually help prevent that injury? Cause I I’ve heard and seen people say like I pulled my hamstring and this happened.
And I find myself in areas where I’m doing a stretch and I’m like, Whoa, like that is so gross from getting strained or pulled like if it gets taxed at all. So what’s your experience or what would you say for people like if they’re trying to prevent or help an injury? So why yoga is, is so effective at yes. Preventing. So not only does again, it raises your awareness to different areas in your body that are maybe tightened and balanced. It also helps strengthen all of, I want to call them like your little, your little stabilizer muscles often. What happens when we’re weight training or we’re doing compound movement? So let’s say a squat is a compound movement. You’re moving both legs at the same time. If you’re doing a shoulder press with a bar, it’s a compound movement. So other big muscle groups can kind of take over and muscle through where, when you’re practicing yoga, you’re put into positions where all your little stabilizer muscles have to come active and you have to be aware of them and they help build up your stabilization strength where I find yoga would probably be very beneficial for preventing injury management and helping recover from because it really isolates your body.
And I don’t want to say forced, but you know, encourages you into positions where you have to activate muscles. You won’t necessarily be using in everyday life. Um, and then when you have more muscle activation, you have more stability, therefore you’re less likely to get injured. Exactly. Yeah. And I find like just the, with the compound movements, it’s like, there’s almost the same for barrel racing where there are very specific muscles that we really need to, like if we’re going to try and actually level up or get better results and stuff, those are the things like those little things that those little muscles, those little moves, little changes that will make a really big difference for us. Um, so you have a bit of experience as well. Um, like you see an osteopath. Can you tell us how that translates and how it has affected you and your horses?
Yes. So my osteopath is currently Kate Armstrong who works here in Barre. Um, she does also, she teaches for the osteo school in Hamilton. I can’t remember exactly what she is. Uh, she’s an educator as well, a professor. Um, so I discovered osteopathy because of my concussion. So I went to the point where I had had my third concussion. My symptoms have plateaued and I was told by Amanda Garrett, fellow barrel racer, who very similar experience, head injury, ended up becoming an osteo. She’s like, you need to go see what you need to go see one. So I finally went to see one after I’d actually exertional, pushed myself back into housebound symptoms. So I was so sick. I couldn’t, I couldn’t leave the house. I had sensitivity, light, sensitivity. I was very, very sick. And I went to see an osteopath and he was the first one to actually recognize that I had been in a car accident and I had a seatbelt injuries in my chest.
And this is when from 2015, we’re now talking two and a half or three years. End of 2017. So he recognized that I had this major restriction in my chest that was affecting my heart and lung function. And then he also identified a compression in my skull and a compression in my neck. So basically he said, you’re not fully healing because your body is so restricted that you don’t have adequate oxygenation blood flow. And I was like, what? Like what? Like I’m moving around. I don’t not functioning well, but I didn’t even understand what fascia was. Basically what he identified was the fascia. It’s this invisible almost like saran wrap, looking layer of tissue. It wraps and connects from your head to your toes and everywhere in between. And he said, basically it gets stuck when we have traumas. So he said your seatbelt injury, basically when that stopped you, it created this pole that then most restricting all of your bones, all of your muscles, and then in turn your organs.
So when treated me, I went from housebound to a Christmas party four days later. So I was just blown away. Cause I was like, I’ve been sick for like almost a year at this point. And then I just was sure, but I’m like, it makes sense though, because now my body was able to heal itself. I’ve been dedicated to like very dedicated to keeping up with my osteo appointments because the other thing that was identified was my rotated pelvis. So I don’t know if anyone’s experienced maybe a horse having their pelvis out, um, writer we’re mirrors. So if we’re off, the best way it’s been described is that say, you know, your pelvis is twisted, your sitting heavier in one stirrup. Think about it like a wheel barrel that has only rocks on one side and you’d have to lean the opposite way to try and keep it balanced.
That’s been sometimes ended up doing so it was really off. Then the horse is actually really off and we can mirror and put our artists or our imbalances into the horse. I started, um, having Kate, she was a large animal veterinarian read our own practice for about 20 years. So it was natural that of course, please come work with my horses. And she was amazing because she was able to identify different restrictions. And she basically says that the horses are almost like three times more sensitive, but also then we’ll have that much more drastic of a release than a human. Um, so she, I used her to keep my horses balanced and it’s just incredible. I have a few videos on my, on my YouTube. Um, for example, a training horse came and she was really, really struggling to load her right hind. And so the Kate come and Kate basically showed me that her fascia was so tight. It was like strangling her leg. She couldn’t get in. Couldn’t even move on her way. So she’s like, no wonder she can’t bend it, like the whole thing. So tight. So once she was like literally three minutes and then the horse is walking and its leg was moving. So I could go on and on with examples about how she’s helped forces, but it’s really neat when they can balance the rider, balanced the horse. And then you both know you’re moving forward, fully set up for success. Exactly. I love that. Just
The idea of kind of like our horses they’re countering us exactly. And thing they’re trying to help. And that’s for me, the biggest breakthrough I’ve had with this whole experience is how I’m affecting my horse. Like one of my horses were small and she feels bodyweight quick. Like she’s really soft with body weight, not really soft with her mouth, but the body thing, like she’s quick, like if I’m even doing a run and I tilt my hips this direction to go that way, she’s going to do it no matter what. And I was just like, wow, like it’s so crazy how much we actually affect our horses, having that understanding of like the whole mindfulness, like what are we doing? Like how is all completely like it’s coming back to us always. And I think that’s the biggest thing to always know as well as, no matter what, like our horses do something like who’s the one on their back. Who’s the one kind of like kind of checking yourself, like with yogurt or seeing osteopath getting back in line and then your horse is going to be like, wow, I don’t have to counter what they’re telling me or what their body’s like.
Yeah. Yeah. Like for me, one of the biggest things was, yeah. Once I realized, like I was sitting really heavy on my right hip and I think some of that came back from me driving. So ambulance I’m always pushing with that right. Gas pedal, but riding with a dressage coach one day, like we’re just right in the same ring. And I was like, just doesn’t look well to the right, like what is going on? And she’s like heavy on your right hip. Therefore you’re blocking that space for his, it comes through. And I was just like, wow, that makes so much sense. Like, so then sure enough, I just moved my pelvis out of the way and off he went and I was like, Oh, like totally my fault. And the same thing, like you’re saying with the sensitivity, a lot of people are unaware that a lot of forces, if you’re sitting on their back in time and go for it, sometimes they’re like, I can’t. So even just moving your torso, like one inch forward, all of a sudden you have a free hoard. It all comes down to, can you even just check in and be aware of where you are in space? You know, are you almost between your pubic bone and your seat phones? Or are you, you know, more, your seat bones are your pubic bone. And like it’s so subtle, but the horses can feel all of that.
It is crazy. And it’s like, say it’s a good and bad thing. Like it’s a bad thing. Cause people don’t really understand how much we affect them, but it’s a good thing because we can change us.
Absolutely. I completely agree.
Like we can actually change. We can go see help. We know where we’re off and how we can fix where a horse is. Obviously they can’t really communicate their issues as well as well. We can do for us and our horses to just, you know, get started, take a look, see where maybe you would like to change some things and go from there.
Yeah. I’ll tell everyone like one thing for me, I know I need to be treated when I feel like my saddle is not straight. So if you’ve ever that, or if you think that you have two different length legs, that’s not confirmed until you’ve had x-rays. So if you always find like you’re always shifting your saddle left or right. Or, you know, you just can’t see them in the middle of your saddle, that your pelvis is twisted. Like mine will sometimes go to the point where my left butt cheek like will not touch the saddle. That’s how tight I can get. Imagine like, Oh God, what am I doing to my horse? So one check in, I know for myself. So if you’re, if you’re listening and you’ve experienced that I would highly recommend going to get assessed by someone.
Exactly. And then for even like, I remember reading or just some stuff like ways to test that, or if you ride with only one stirrup, cause if you’re a body aware, I’ll sometimes feel like I’m awkward one direction than the other. So when I’m going through awkward direction, like what are my feet doing? What are my legs doing? How am I not doing it? The same as that direction is this direction. And I find, Oh, I’m putting more weight on my outside syrup. So of course my horse is kind of crowding in my turns. So then I’ll literally all like, try and take my photo or just not be as obvious. I’ll just kind of lift my foot out of this stirrup a little and just, yeah.
And then you automatically center. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah, really insightful.
And just little things like that. Like it doesn’t take it. Doesn’t take buying all the equipment or buying anything or going for an appointment, just kind of, I guess, like reevaluating yourself. And I find why I wanted to talk to you is I think yoga is such a good outlet.
Free guys. Like you just get a nice video.
Totally. And like, I use it, like I remember one time I was actually, I got to the point I was so nervous and it was Canada day 2018. And I was, my horse was really just, he was coming back and we had got big pole runs. And I was like, I literally went into downward dog behind my first trailer. Probably like, what is she doing? But I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t control my breath. If I just went into that posture, my brain is trying to hold my breath in that place. And then I was able to get really calm and I made amazing runs and ended up waiting you average. And I’m like, I wouldn’t have had the ability to do that if I didn’t have yoga and just wanting to add, just cause you brought up being aware of your other sides. The other thing I’ve been doing lately, and again, I got this from yoga is trying to do as much with my left hand as I do. Right. So I’m sure you’ve probably by the sounds what you started doing this too. So in, in Bikram class we always cross our hands. And so the one day the teacher said, well, can you take your, your, uh, opposite grip or your, your uncomfortable grip? And I was like, I could, like, I couldn’t almost couldn’t do it
Right now. I’m like, that does feel weird.
Right. It feels really weird. So this was probably six months or so ago. And I was like, okay, I’m going to do this all the time. So I spend like every class actually training with my left is what I’ve been reminding myself because I’m right-handed how does it make sense that I’m going to ride as well to the right, with my left hand on the outside as I am. Right. And, and then I got thinking about it. I’m like a lot of my horses look way better to the left than they do to the right, to, with everything I do throughout the day. I try and I try and put my left hand on first, my boot on first, I even have gotten to the point, I’m trying to brush my teeth, same thing. I want to do something hard. Try to throw a ball with my left hand. But I realized like we ask our horses to be balanced time with them left and right left and right left and right. Trying to balance them. But then I went, you know, again, reflective, am I doing that? Am I going up for the worst? Is the most balanced writer I could be. I’ve really started to work on my dexterity. And honestly, it’s made a huge difference. Like COVID I can’t get my nails done.
No. Who else through everyone,
Everyone. Right. So I was like, okay, well I’m going to paint my nails, but I’m sure you try you paint with your good hand. You try and paint with your bad hands and utter disaster, actually able to paint my nails with my left hand. And I was like, Oh my God, it’s actually working, coming more ambidextrous. So that’s just a little thing. I always personally like what I’ve been trying to do. So I’m sure everyone, like, just try it, try it with your left hand, try eating with your left hand, try or your right. If you’re lefthanded, the more that you work on that duck sturdy, because now I can just cross my hands or crush your arms, your arms, the opposite way. That’s also S
It is awkward, super awkward. So it kind of,
And gives you another awareness too. If a horse has a good way. And I feel like I’m not as, I’m not as judgmental or I’m not as like, if they’re not as strong one way, because I’m like, well, they literally just need more time to get better that way or to get better at that task. Because I just remember trying to cross opposite way. Like some days I can’t even do it. So something to, again, yoga, these things that you would have never think from it has totally changed, changed my writing. I can’t say enough about it.
Yeah, totally agree. I, cause I used to feel super, super awkward one way than the other. Like, it was completely like, I knew exactly this is my bad way. This is my good way. And so I did the same thing about probably, I guess it’d be almost two years ago. Like when I was interning and I had to clean a billion stalls, I was like, Oh, I started switching. So it’d be like cleaned one stall this way. Once all with my left hand, like farther down the Pitchfork and I go back and forth and now I don’t even know which way is like my normal, like proper old school way. I just go back and forth. And I found with that, cause it was, it was more not for like my mentally doing it. It was more for like my body. So I’m like, you’re always twisting and bending one way.
So like, I’m going to guess. And like, same thing. Like, it’s always like, Oh, I always take my right Stepford. I’m going to take my left. Or I actually, I’m sure people, some people ask like, why do you get on your horse that way? But like, I’ll get on with my other officer side. I do all the time. I’ll get off that side on that side. I don’t know. I just mix it up. Like if you’re riding like a ton of horses and you’re always doing like a step up on that one leg, we’re getting unbalanced without even, right.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s also a safety thing. Like my mom always taught me that if you’re ever in a situation, you need to be able to get on and off your horse from the other side. And I try and handle horses and I’ve even actually used cinching them up from the opposite side for some horses that are Cinci or they had ulcers in the past, but now it’s just behavioral. I’ll actually switch the rigging on the saddle too and do them up from the other side. It’s like a total game changer because they’re very divided. Like I they’ve got their opposite hemisphere. So you start doing things on the other side, they don’t have the same built in triggered response and you want to progress too. So it applies to yeah. People, horses, everything, I guess that I’ve never really heard. Like you’re the only other person I’ve really talked to that was, was doing that type of thing in this sport so far. Yeah.
And I think that’s why. Yeah. Like, and it, that’s what I mean, like it’s such a game changer. Why are people doing it? Like, why is this a common knowledge thing yet?
And I think it was just, haven’t like I tell my students, but I haven’t. Yeah. I haven’t put any videos out or I think it’s maybe just one of those things, right. That maybe people think about it, but they never thought to share. Yeah.
Yeah. And I just like, yeah. So I’ve heard stories, like someone would tell me a story about them pulling their hamstring when they were in a run. And I’m like, if you scratched it, you probably would have totally avoided having months of recovery off and not being able to ride. And could you imagine if you knew, Oh, if I only did like two or three days of yoga a week that are stretched before your run and actually applied that and did it properly then how it would have helped you in the long run and it’s like, it’s right at your fingertips. Like, it’s plenty everyone. Like everything’s a long line. So
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, we all know like a warmup is super important before you’d exercise. I think to us, as us, as horseback riders, we don’t always view riding as like exercise, but we all know where to start and maybe you’ve had a little bit of time off. It’s a lot of fricking work. It’s something that we all need to be aware of. And the more that you activate. So even just doing, like you said, a simple stretch, a simple yoga flow before you get on your first, you’ve also oxygenated mobilized. Um, especially with the sit all the time. Right? Like you start to get tight. So if you just take those five, 10 minutes mobilize before you ride, you’re going to have a completely different body awareness as well.
Yeah. Especially like sitting all the time. I feel that to my core, like when I had my old job, I sat all the time, super tight hamstrings. And then I get on my horse and it’s like, what do I expect is gonna happen? Like, you know, after I started being like, once it becomes, like, if you do it and you’re new and you’re starting start give yourself two weeks of like, just figuring it out, no pressure, no judgment. And then once it becomes a bit more of a habit and you’re more aware, like to me, I feel, how can I not stretch? Like people that don’t join? Like how do you think it by? Like, I feel like I agree. Like I’m at that point where it’s like, if I sit all day and I don’t stretch before bed, or I don’t do something in the morning, I’m like, I can’t function properly. I feel. And I’m like, how do people not do it? Like how do they, I just can’t like, it feels terrible for me. So for her, it feels by not doing it, you’re doing something right. I think. Yeah.
And I think another tip to give people is don’t, don’t over, don’t think too much about the workout itself either. Um, I know there’s some days where yeah, like before COVID like I get up at five 30 and I go to the studio and yeah, I do. I want to get out of bed and go do an hour of flight, sweaty yoga. Like not always. What I tell myself is just get up and put your clothes on. And I put my yoga clothes on. It’s like a, started that wheel of motion to get me to, and I basically convinced myself that I just have to show up and happens, happens. But if I’m, if I just show up in land mat, I still showed up. So as I think people get, they get a little bit caught up in like how much work it’s going to be, or, and you kind of might talk yourself out of it. So instead I just commit putting on my clothes and showing up at the studio and what happens, happens. And usually what happens is to have a fantastic workout and I never overthink getting there or at home, just put your clothes on, unroll your mat. I pick a video that’s you have to do, you don’t have to do anything else. But if you do, you’re likely again to set yourself up for success and actually follow along with the video. So
Exactly set yourself up for success. And you just don’t even think about it. Don’t question it, put your pants, like, put your clothes on or your clothes on, you know, and then be like, okay, what are we doing? But you’re just like, you’re you have all the elements you need for a good workout. And to give yourself a bit of, self-love like how I view this is my chance, my one little time in the day that I’m going to take it for myself and like treat myself to a nice yoga flow and just do something. And I know like myself, it’s benefiting me. So why the heck aren’t I going to do it? You know?
Definitely. And the rest of your day. Yeah. Cause that’s, that’s really what it is. Like you said already, it is like a meditation, but to sit and try and quiet your mind, you have to sit and just follow the steps. Everyone. Like every most successful person, we follow a lot of the same people. I know all of these super, super successful business people. They, they meditate. They get control of their mind every day and that’s how they start their day. And then by doing that, the rest of your day, you kind of set the tone and you’re in a place where you’re more calm, you’re more present, you’re more focused. And then the rest of your day is going to go that much better. I couldn’t agree more.
That’s awesome. It’s so true. And this is like my favorite conversation. Cause I feel like I could literally go on and on about like, it’s just so good for you. Like exactly. And like yeah, all those, all those successful people, successful athletes, business people, they’re doing things. And that’s where I think this has come from, for me, it’s like, they’re doing things that maybe the average person isn’t, or the people that want to get there, but aren’t there and they feel stuck. They’re not taking that step. They’re not taking the initiative to try and give themselves that advantage to be better or to make this. And so for the riders out there that feel like they’re frustrated with their horses or they’re just frustrated with life and their results and whatever, what can they do? What can you do to try and actually give yourself that, you know, you, what you said is, you know, you’re setting yourself up for success.
That’s, that’s how I live and think about it is how do I, my body, my mind and my life as efficiently as possible, the more hydrated and the more nourished I am, the calmer I am, the more focused. And it’s all these little things. And again, you look at it like, do you look at it? Like you said, as self-love, that is something you have to do your closest, do you have to, or do you get to? And if you really look at that and you, and you just reframe it and you go, Oh, I have to go ride three horses today. Reframe that too. I get to go ride through horses today. And immediately your brain goes, wow, how grateful am I three horses to ride? When there’s people out there that don’t, you know, would never have a horse or even have, you know, in some cases, a roof over their head.
And we’re so privileged and so grateful and how you reframe that. It totally sets yourself up for success. And, and that’s why, you know, I take time out on Sunday and I do meal prep and I, I make a point of making my water. But what you’ll slowly notice is that you do something, it’s a habit, right? Like I could imagine leaving the house that my water now, I couldn’t imagine that a snack with them imagine, you know, going more than three days without her yoga. Like, I just, it just becomes who you are. And then one habit sets you up to have more energy and have more success. And they just started
Snowball. It totally does
That. It like, it’s just, it’s just how you live your life. And if you want to think about it, it’s like a standard, right? Like where are you setting your standards and fender time, I don’t have time to do yoga or do this or do that. But if you look at your week as a whole, could you, could you find time, could you schedule time? Like instead of staying up till 11, watching Netflix instead, can you go to bed at 10 and wake up at six and have an hour to, or read a book or meditate or do something? Can you just rearrange those 24 hours, you know, take from here and give to there and we’ll give you time. Cause I know like us, for horseback riders, a lot of us don’t get home till nine o’clock, 10 o’clock and eight. So we eat, we go to bed and then my self care is before I have to start working in the morning, that’s the only place I can really fit it in. But it took a lot of reflection, you know, and maybe trying to work out. You’re not going to work out. We get home from the barn. I dunno. No, bless your soul for having that energy. But for me personally, like I got to get it in first thing in the morning or it’s not.
Yeah, exactly. I love that. And it’s like, what you said for me? I think the same, the exact same thing. How I word it? Like, I love the thing you change one word it’s not, I have to, I get to, and it just changes the whole changes, your whole sentence. It changes your outlook on it all. And more people need to say that they get to do stuff, not to,
You get to do stuff. Yeah. Like we all get to walk in some, we all get to choose our food, like say yeah. Oh, totally. Right. And it’s, and that’s where I’m like, I’m so aware again, yoga, you feel aware to the words and how you talk to yourself and totally guilty of this. So I negotiate with myself a lot. I negotiate or I make compromises, but you do what you have to do to still be successful. And like I said, I compromise with myself a lot of time and say, I just need to show up on the mat. As long as I have whatever work I have. But then what happens? They usually have a really great workout just cause I showed up. So do you know the way you need to speak to yourself the way you frame it to yourself, but it’s very, very powerful and you’ll start to think differently too. I’m sure you’ve noticed this yourself. Like for a long time, I would talk negatively and I’d have to catch myself, but I’m starting to shift where seem more positive than negative or self more positively than a negative or share. It’s super, super powerful.
Um, and with writing, like for me, I had some personal problems and I talked to someone recently about that, that I am going to release soon, but it’s all about you personally and how, where you’re sitting at your life and how it affects your writing and just how writing is such like it’s so much of your life game. And if you’re not so good a place in life or a good place mentally, how you ride and how you compete is going to be affected no matter what. And that’s probably why I really love barrel racing is because there’s no, like you’re never done. There’s always the next level then. Yeah. So it’s always, and it is such, it’s a challenge for us as people to perfect it and to get really good. And I always think back to what you’re saying, my words I say to myself while I do everything, is this, there’s two things in life. It’s either helping you or it’s not helping you. So for me, I’m everything. I do everything I eat or drink. I’m like, is this benefiting me? Or isn’t it. And I don’t drink a lot. I don’t eat fast food hardly ever. And I always think I’m like, if I eat that burger, it’s not really helping me get where I want to go. It’s doing the opposite. It’s a sensor,
Like a momentary. Maybe it tastes delicious, but then how much is it actually going to cost you? Or then you’re going to for energy, are you going to, you know, like crap is your energy going to crash at for six hours after? So is that moment where thing? I completely agree.
Never worth it really. Maybe once. And then I’m like total regrets and yeah. But yeah, I always just say, is it helping? Or it, and with yoga, it’s like, if I sat and watched Netflix, is this
No. Yeah. There’s other things,
Things that will help me other things that will help me improve and then improve.
Yeah. The arena. So yeah, that’s a really, really great check-in shot me like really good before you make any decision or want to do anything in your day. Yeah, absolutely.
Sweet. Well, this was so awesome. Like I said, like we could talk about this for a decade
All day soon, soon from six feet away. Yeah, I know. Right. Great. I know I’m really excited.
I’m excited for your yoga adventure, with the AQH and wish and I hope that goes well for you. Thank you. Um, so if anyone wants to find that,
Yeah. It’s just, it’s been great to share if on Instagram. Oh yeah. Sorry. I think we’re studying find it. Yeah. So it’s a, it’s actually the quarter, the Canadian quarter horse association. So they are directly associated with two ha. So all of the videos are being posted to the Facebook and the Instagram. So it’s Hugh or sort of cute AQH um, at, uh, I’m trying to remember the handles right off the top, but Facebook and search the CADing quarter horse association or an Instagram. And then, uh, yeah, my personal pages on Instagram is, uh, Betsy shrugs. That was my, my good horse. I just retired who find me on Facebook, uh, Betsy Mack. And we, we also do have a Facebook group. So my other half, like Fonda and I, so it’s stacking the deck with Betsy and like, and we just try and share little snippets training tools. It’s also a place for anyone. If they want to just share their successes or share their, um, I haven’t pulled any series. I just did a fridge tour. Like we, we just bring you a little sip is over life, how we’ve tried to, you know, be horse people and make, make life work.
Awesome. Cool. I’ll um, I’ll definitely add the links to the show notes here for you and find more and follow you on Facebook and Instagram and see your yoga stuff for the Canadian quarter. I’ll be there. So I guess this is a wrap I just wanted to thank, I just want to thank you again for joining me and talking about this. And it’s been actually like so informative and awesome to hear.
I love her on the same page. Thanks for having me Shelby
From one Yogi to another, which I’ve actually never saluted that turn, but I feel like it’s deserved now.
Yes. Oh absolutely. I love it. I love that you’re coming on and sharing the benefits as well because trying to get as many people to see the light and it’s not just for, you know, people don’t work out like there’s people, honestly that come to my studio. I think some of them are in their eighties. There’s like 60, 70, 80 year olds. And sometimes I’m looking at them like one day I will be as good as you. And I know yoga has played a role in that longevity. I just, I can’t say enough about it. And a lot of men too, if there’s any listening, yoga is not just for women. No half the class are men and they get just as much benefit as a woman in there. No shame. So yeah, exactly. Okay.
Well, this is the fun and thank you again for joining us.
Yeah. You’re welcome.
Yay. This was so fun. And I think Betsy again so much for talking to me and giving me her little bits of wisdom. Hopefully you guys found some beneficial content in this that you can hopefully apply to your real life. If you liked it, please subscribe. Get more, see more be here. There will be more coming up. So if you subscribe, you will never miss anything. I plan on doing a lot more of these lovely interviews with lovely people and all for you. So again, subscribe if you like it and we’ll talk soon, guys. Bye for now.