Any day with a horse is a good day because - as you already know - each and every one of those days is chock-full of wonderful opportunities. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to see those opportunities for what they really are - or even worse - mistakenly view them as obligations, and it can all begin with something as simple as a few innocent words that you unintentionally say to yourself.
As an equestrian, you undoubtedly love riding horses and are excited because you get to go to the barn, but unless you’re careful you might unintentionally say (or think) something like, “I have to ride my horse” or “I have to go to the barn.” Unfortunately, while it might seem like just an innocent change in phraseology, it actually makes a huge difference to the way your brain interprets your opportunities because it forces it to view those opportunities as obligations - as things you have to do; things you have no choice or control over, things you must do.
This month, remember to appreciate all the amazing opportunities riding provides you by replacing any “have to” statements with more positive alternatives like: “get to”, “want to”, “like to”, and “love to” statements. For example, “I have to ride my horse” becomes “I get to ride my horse” or “I want to ride my horse” - and - “I have to go to the barn” becomes “I like to go to the barn” or “I love to go to the barn.” You can even substitute “have to” with “going to” - changing a sentence like, “I have to go to the barn and ride" into “I’m going to go to the barn and ride.”
I realize that simply swapping one word for another might not seem very impactful, but it’s been said that we say “have to” statements up to 100 times a day, and each and every time we do our conscious words unintentionally change the way our subconscious views our opportunities. It might only take a few seconds to utter, “I have to lunge my horse, clean my tack, and take out the trash,” but those words can very clearly alter the intended meaning of our messages - and if the positive replacement words don’t quite do the trick, try adding a short follow-up-sentence to your new phase like, “I like to clean my tack - because it shows how much I respect my sport” or “I love to work on my transitions - because dressage makes me a better jumper!”
As if this weren’t enough, studies have shown that replacing “have to” statements with “get to”, “want to”, “like to” or “love to” statements can also help you avoid taking things for granted because it reminds you to be thankful for what you have. So, this month, remember that to fly you don’t “have to” give up what weighs you down, you “get to, want to, like to, and love to” give up what weighs you down!
I hope you’re enjoying my monthly tips and that I’ll get to teach you in one of my jumping, cross-country, or dressage clinics this fall - or that you'll consider joining my four-day Equestrian Athlete Winter Training Camp in Sarasota, Florida, December 27-30, 2019. For more information visit www.pressureproofacademy.com.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.