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Tue, 2016-11-15 13:41

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Location Association

Authored By: Coach Daniel Stewart
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Stewart.

You didn't come this far, to only come this far! 

You're going to ride amazing this week. All you have to do is remember the myriad of amazing lessons taught to you by your trainers, teachers, and coaches! Sadly, as pressure goes up your memory - and overall brain power - has a nasty habit of just going away! Continue your fight against the dreaded effects of show-jitters and pressure this month by building a location association.

Your memory works better when you associate important tasks with locations - because those locations can actually trigger your brain into automatically remembering them. An example of location association is when you put on your seatbelt as you enter your car. You no longer need to remember to do it, your brain simply associates buckling-up with entering the car (location). Below are a couple of good ideas. Do them over and over again and they'll become automatic too:


            • Every time you enter an arena (location) associate it with a deep breath 

            • Every time your open your tack trunk (location) associate it with a smile.

            • Every time you pass the letter C in a dressage test (location) open your shoulders


Location association also works in two other ways. You can replace the location (trigger) with a sound or a movement of your body. Here's how it would look if you associated a sound or movement with a task:

            • Every time you hear the bell before a dressage test (sound) associate it with a deep breath. 

            • Every time your hear you class being called at a show (sound) associate it with a smile.

            • Every time you perform the halt/salut in dressage (movement) associate it with a deep breath.

            • Every time you pull the stirrup leathers down (movement) associate it with a smile.


In time - with a little bit of practice and repetition - it's very possible that you'll no longer need to remember these important tasks because the location. sound, or movement will have already triggered your brain to do them. In the end, one of the most important things to remember is that… in order to get something you've never had, be prepared to do something you've never done! 

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