Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Meeting Goals: An Interview with Equestrian Life Coach, Jenna Knudsen

Jenna Knudsen, Equestrian Life Coach
Meeting Goals: An Interview with Equestrian Life Coach, Jenna Knudsen
by Gina McKnight
Archived interview from the December 2018 issue of Florida Equine Athlete.
No duplication without permission.

As we approach the end of 2018, we can be excited about entering into a new year with ideas for meeting goals, growing wiser, staying on track, and living with purpose. All of these things impact our lifestyle as well as our equestrian career. Migrating to people with positive energy and a passion for living is imperative to our success. I enjoy connecting with Jenna Knudsen, an Equestrian Life Coach who loves horses. As an avid equestrian and coach, I know Jenna has the experience to help us reach our 2019 goals - in and out of the saddle! 

Welcome, Jenna!

GM: Did you begin riding at an early age? When was your first encounter with a horse?
Sven Holst-Knudsen, Jenna's Grandfather
JK: I started riding at four years old. My Dad rode. His parents rode and their parents rode. I come from a long line of equestrians over in Denmark. It's definitely in my DNA. My Mom said when I was four years old I was swimming in a friend’s pool who lived next to a barn. I disappeared and everyone was frantically looking for me. When they found me I was in my tiny bikini standing next to the riding ring watching a lesson. I told my Mom, "I want to ride." I've never looked back. My first pony was named Prince and I rode at Stratford Stables in Purchase, New York, and my very first instructor was named Jenny Cody. I worshipped her. I have had five cats in my lifetime named "Cody."

GM: Tell us about your current horse, your stables, and a day in the life of Jenna...
JK: My horse's name is Royal Viking and he is absolutely my soul horse.  When I first met him a friend named Sara asked me to exercise a horse of hers. She took me out into a huge pasture, where six horses strode towards us. One TOWERED above the rest and I thought, I'll ride any of them EXCEPT him ~ he's a dragon! Well, guess who she wanted me to ride?  Royal, of course. Doesn't the universe have a jolly sense of humor? A year later, Royal belonged to me and he's owned my heart ever since. 

Royal now lives at 4 Ponds Farm which is minutes from my house. I always thought I'd own my own barn, but life had other plans and I have to say it's worked out amazingly well. We love our stable ~ the owners Christina and Kevin are amazing people and generously share their 200 acres of heaven with us! My riding bestie, Joyce, keeps her horse, Gibbs, there also and we have daily adventures together! We are currently creating our own hunter pace course throughout the property! We also recently bought a trailer together which opens up TONS of possibilities for riding at other farms, attending clinics and doing hunter paces which are plentiful in our area. I'm so grateful for our amazingly robust equestrian community. 

Jenna and Royal Viking

A day in my life looks usually looks like this...I wake up at 6am...I meditate every day for 20 minutes...hang out with my son, Liam, until he leaves for school at 6:45am...coffee and chat with Doug, my significant other, until he leaves at 7:30...connecting with my Smarties Master Class clients at 7:30...workout in our home gym or hike with Duke in the morning....before noon is all about my health, peace of mind and creativity - whether it's reading, writing, hiking, running, meditation...I put a lot of thought and intention into my morning routine. I love helping equestrians establish morning routines that energize and inspire them and get them off to an amazing start to their day. 

My afternoons consist of working with coaching clients and barn time. My clients are all over the country and we connect via Zoom and the phone. I love my coaching profession and am obsessed with helping my clients create systems in their lives that keep them on track for achieving their goals. It's all about creating a life you love...the long picture, not just the short-term goal. Living a life you love is a worthwhile goal for each and every one of us. It's my mission for every equestrian!

In the late afternoon I shop at our local market for dinner and then early evenings are family time. I have a weekly book club via Zoom on Monday nights and my Master Classes are also weeknights. 

I read a lot at night and work on projects...it's always about my Smarties (Smarties are equestrians worldwide who use the planner and are members of our FB community.) 

I'm not a big TV watcher, although I do have my series that I love...Outlander and Handmaid's Tale are my favorites!

I go to bed at 10pm - which I NEVER used to do, but now I realize how important sleep is to my health and mental clarity, so I've made it a priority.  

Of course, all of this change if friends or Doug are doing something FUN...I love being spontaneous and having fun and I'm ALWAYS up for an adventure!

GM: Going into 2019, connecting with other equestrians who have good energy and inspire us to stay motivated to reach our goals is important. I have ordered a copy of your beautiful The S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian Planner! What will I find in this planner and how will it help me with my horses and 2019 goals?
JK: The S.M.A.R.T Equestrian Planner and our Smarties FB community are such magical and powerful tools! I get goosebumps thinking about equestrians around the world joining together and helping one another achieve their goals and dreams and also overcome the challenges and obstacles of daily life.  

I was a woman's life and health coach for a decade before I combined my passion for horses and everything equestrian with my coaching career. Now, being an Equestrian Life Coach, I feel completely aligned and on purpose with exclusively focusing on our community. 

The S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian Planner starts with your vision. Creating a life vision is a fun process that gives you a road map...something beautiful to live into. When life goes sideways, which it will, your life vision keeps you moving forward. Next up, the planner helps you set your goals. Riding goals, health goals, financial goals, relationship goals and career goals.  

From there you break down the big goals into monthly action steps to take. And weekly. And daily. You set up systems (habits and rituals) that keep you on track, inspired and in action. Basically, your planner is a 24/7 coach and accountability partner to help you plan, create and live a life you love.  

The magic sauce happens when you add our Smarties community to the mix!  Here's the "leg up" that gets you in the saddle of life and ready to gallop off into your best day! Our FB community is made up of Equestrians from around the world who are there to achieve their goals and dreams AND help you achieve yours! We share knowledge, experience and offer support and love!  It's all positive energy and it creates an atmosphere and community where EVERYTHING is possible!! Truly, you are limitless in this group! When you win, we all congratulate you!  When you are down or stuck, we offer suggestions, a hand up or a shoulder to lean on. We are all in this together and the energy is truly awe-inspiring!  #equestriansempoweringequestrians is our powerful mantra!

GM: Awesome! I am excited to begin the new year! You have a newsletter as well that corresponds with the planner. I am excited to see this all come together and be a part of your equestrian community. What motivated you to create the planner?
JK: I have a really hard time focusing...I mean, serious monkey brain! I also have challenges with anxiety and can whip myself into a "worst case scenario" faster than you can say, "Whoa Nelly!"  After years of coaching, I have found that one of the biggest challenges for my clients and for myself is to stay the course and not slip back into old habits. I thought, how can we keep doing the things that keep our lives moving in a positive direction? I mean, everyone needs a coach at some point in their lives to get to the next level, but you can't keep a coach forever! So, The S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian Planner was my solution!  The Planner is in its fourth year; however, the FB COMMUNITY is only a year old and that has made SUCH a difference for everyone. It's about the power of a group. The energy of an entire community. No one person can do/be it all for everyone. As this grows, so does the positive energy lifting everyone up! 

GM: Looking through your riding photos, it looks like you've ridden in some unique environments. Where in the world is the best place to ride?
JK: If you have your own farm, the best to ride is THERE! I'm a big fan of loving your everyday life! That said, I am IN LOVE with riding in Ireland! I've ridden there twice and it is simply magical! I'm going back for two weeks in June and so are lots of other Smarties! I'm so excited to share this incredible riding adventure with others in our community. I've also ridden in Costa Rica which was beautiful. Really, how can any riding adventure NOT be amazing! Seeing the world between a horse's ears is on my vision pages! 

GM: With so much enthusiasm for horses and life, what is your advice for novice riders and those looking to purchase their first horse?
JK: Enjoy the process! Take your time learning the basics. Find a riding coach that you LOVE who inspires you and makes you feel confident in the saddle. It's about enjoying the ride! If you love competing- awesome! Jump in the ring! If you don't - also awesome! There's so much to learn in the equestrian world. There is never an end to learning. There is always something new whether it's in the saddle or on the ground.  If you are set on owning your own horse, have an experienced horse person help you in your search. A horse is a serious purchase and there's never a rush -  always smarter to take your time. 

Jenna and her daughter, Katie Sky
GM: The holidays approaching, what are your holiday plans and do they include horses?
JK: To me, the holidays are all about spending time with family and friends! Lots of time in front of the fireplace, card games and quiet time together. Riding slows down in the super frigid temps, but as soon as it's above 25 degrees we are back in the saddle! No matter how cold it is we spend time at the barn grooming and loving on our fur gurus! We also are clearing trails and mapping out our hunter pace course while it's cold and icy.  I'm hoping for another big snowfall because I have a "Christmas Card" photo idea in mind that requires Royal, Duke (family Golden) and a lot of snow! 

GM: What are your equestrian goals for 2019?
JK: In 2019 I'm going to take Cross Country jumping lessons, ride in at least 4 Hunter Paces and use our new trailer to visit other riding venues and have fun adventures off property! My goal is to have Royal and I confidently jumping a novice XC course! 

My most passionate equestrian goal is to empower equestrians around the world to live their equestrian dreams!

Connect with Jenna…

Gina McKnight is a freelance writer and author from Ohio USA. www.gmcknight.com

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