Sep 07, 2019

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: The Mess in Message

Chasing the sky. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

There are four certainties in riding: you’re going to fall down, you’re going to get up, you’re going to succeed, you’re going to mess up. As long as you’re okay with this you’ll be okay. But if you’re afraid of failing, falling, getting up, or messing up, well there’s a pretty good chance you might feel a little less than okay. The important thing to remember is that struggles create strengths, and mistakes create messages that teach you how to improve. In other words, sometimes there’s going to be a little mess in your messages, you just need to have the courage to look past the mess and mistakes so that you can see the message they’re trying to teach you. Below is a good example of how messing up, missed opportunities, and mistakes can ultimately lead to mastery.

The Five M’s to Mastery

  • MESS UP: You forget your dressage test because you distracted yourself by worrying about the judge.
  • MISSED OPPORTUNITY: You do the same thing in your next test even though you knew better! You just forgot to pay attention to your last message.
  • MISTAKE: You do it again in your next test! You should know better by now - so now it’s a mistake because you forgot to listen to your previous two messages.
  • MINDFULNESS: In your next test you learn from the past and remind yourself to stay focused on your ride and you remember your test! Being mindful of your previous mistakes (messages) allowed you to finally succeed!
  • MASTERY: Thanks to the messages from your past (your mistakes) you never forget another dressage test!

Notice that in this example it wasn’t a mistake until you repeate it three times. The first two were learning opportunities that you either paid attention to or not. Remember, a good mistake is one that you make because you’re outside your comfort zone; one that you don’t blame on others and one that you learn from - and never repeat again! Even though it’s sometimes hard to accept, mistakes are not missed opportunities, they’re learning opportunities, as long as you’re mindful of them. Here’s another fun example I read recently.

  • MESS UP: You’re walking through a pasture. There’s a big hole in the ground. You fall into it.
  • MISSED OPPORTUNITY: You’re walking through a pasture. There’s a big hole in the ground. You know it’s there but get distracted and fall into it anyways. You should know better.
  • MISTAKE: You’re walking through a pasture. There’s a big hole in the ground. You panic because you know it’s there and fall into it again! Big mistake.
  • MINDFULNESS: You’re walking through a pasture. There’s a big hole in the ground. You walk around it.
  • MASTERY: You walk through another pasture.

In the end, always remember that the road to success is always under construction and that being mindful of the holes that can appear in front of you is the best way to avoid falling into them! Struggles create success. Mistakes create masters.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Stewart.

I hope you’re enjoying my monthly tips and that I’ll get the chance to teach you in one of my fall or winter jumping, cross-country, or dressage clinics. This summer I taught 46 clinics in 30 cities over a span of 54 days and loved teaching each and every one! For more information on hosting a clinic with me please visit www.pressureproofacademy.com.

Oct 16, 2021 Competitions

What Happened Where? 2021 Maryland 5 Star Cross-Country Rewind

Weren’t able to spend your morning glued to the livestream of the 2021 Maryland 5 Star cross-country? Couldn’t be there in person to trek up the hills? We have you covered with a play-by-play of what happened on Ian Stark’s cross-country course which gave both the designer and the riders many sleepless nights, but ended up riding quite well for the majority of the field.

Oct 16, 2021 Competitions

Cooley Master Class Can’t be Caught on Cross-Country at Maryland 5 Star

The forecasted downpours held off until the last horse and rider crossed the finish flags during the CCI5*-L cross-country at the Maryland 5 Star today, confirming the event’s decision to move up the start. The majority of riders had sunny skies and a cool breeze as backdrop to tackle Ian Stark’s five-star course across the sprawling grounds at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md. Before cross-country there was much chatter about the testing terrain, but 11 pairs managed to make the time despite the hills. At the end of the day, the top three riders held onto their podium positions going into show jumping tomorrow with overnight leader Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B x The Swallow) impressing all who watched at each and every question.

Oct 16, 2021 Competitions

The Maryland 5 Star Daily: Cross-Country Day

It's the day we have all been waiting for, cross-country day at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star! Both the CCI5*-L and CCI3*-L field will contest Ian Stark's terrain-filled track across the historic grounds at Fair Hill today and there is lots of chatter about how the questions, terrain, and time allowed might impact the current placings.

Oct 15, 2021 Young Event Horse

Gina Jumps to Champion Title in Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships

Chris Talley came into the Dutta Corp USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships knowing that the Corwin Sport Horse LLC’s owned 5-year-old Hanoverian mare Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) possessed a lot of quality, but to emerge victorious out of the 42 horse field was an absolute treat for the pair.

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