Mary Frances Looke (left) and Tier X Coach Kori Lyn Angers
Meet Mary Frances Looke, better known as Francie. A Texan with a passion for horses that naturally emerged at her family ranch, Francie’s been riding since she was two. At ten she started riding English and competing, and at 20 she began to ride 17 hand horses and jumping 1.40 meter bars.
Francie hit a low point at 19 when she was hospitalized with nerve damage caused by years of substance abuse. Facing death, she saw two paths ahead. “The realization of dreams requires commitment, and I was ready to commit,” she explains. She has now been sober for over three years. In that time, she has “hiked more miles, climbed more rocks and mountains, skied more slopes and backpacked to more locations than most people do in a lifetime.”
She has also become a serious competitor in the equestrian landscape, thanks in part to her training with Equinox Newport Beach Tier X Coach Kori Lyn Angers. “She hated me on our first day together,” explains Kori, but once Francie mastered her new technical movements and began to gain neural confidence, the tide quickly turned: Francie noticed a difference in body position and strength in the saddle within three weeks.
Francie and Kori share some inspiring thoughts about the importance of balance, resilience and living a high-performance life on your own terms.
I did not do this alone...commitment is one component but we also need encouragement and support.FRANCIE
Depending upon her competition schedule, Francie trains with Kori 3 to 5 days per week. Their sessions consist of a dynamic warm-up, SAQ drills and a density set, with Kettlebells and ViPR for strength and mobility, and the occasional run. Nutritionally, Francie says, “I eat a lot but I eat good, whole food, balanced meals and avoid junk.” Breakfast normally consists of a few eggs, yogurt and toast. She’s also been known to go lobster-diving and catch her own dinner. Regeneration is key for Francie, who gets at least 8 hours of sleep before competitions, and meditates for 10 minutes at the start of each day, whether she’s riding or not. Kori also makes sure they implement tapering before events, reducing volume and intensity of training to ensure that Francie’s fresh and sharp.
“During a complex workout routine, if I do the wrong movement, Kori has helped me learn how to refocus and continue. So I take this with me to my riding. If I knock a rail, or something goes wrong, I am now better at refocusing and continuing the course. Mistakes are inevitable but it can be very hard to control and channel my energy. Learning to finish the course has been a huge personal challenge that Kori has helped me with.”
Her ability to remain centered in the face of a challenge has served Francie well in her personal life, while on the road to recovery and most recently when she lost partner Trevor Martin, who she describes as “my friend, my lover, my motivator.” Martin was an avid outdoorsman who lost his life in May while speed-flying on Mount Whitney, one of the couple’s favorite mountains. “We lived together, we played together, we trained together and we adventured together. Trevor pushed me to my limits and then showed me that my limits were even further still.”
The adaptability of the human body is infinite. It’s amazing what we can do with the human form.Coach Kori
Francie’s goal as a rider has always been to compete at the Grand Prix level and she recently qualified, finishing 2nd and 3rd in the 1.40 — her first time competing at that height. She also hopes to compete in the FEI 1.45 25, which is an extremely high-level division for riders under the age of 25.
On a personal level, Francie thought she’d never be able to move forward without Trevor. But these days she appreciates “the full impact of his love and companionship. He continues to motivate me…that thought guides me in how I choose to live.”
For her part, Kori says she couldn’t be more gratified or impressed. “As a Tier X Coach, I have the perfect stage and tools with which I can apply my knowledge and help clients like Francie safely and effectively realize their full potential. The reward is watching them be free to move, play and live to their heart’s content.”