Jul 03, 2018

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Telescoping Bias

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Last month we continued our conversation about blindspot biases - the unintentional and often-times harmful tendency to think in a negative way without even knowing about it. As you will recall, these hidden thoughts are called blindspot biases because they can get you into a lot of trouble - just like a car hidden in your blindspot can get you into a lot trouble! The only way to keep yourself safe from things hidden in your blindspot is to become aware of them and that’s the entire reason for this six-part series of mental tips.

Last month we talked about one of the most common blindspot biases, the bandwagon bias - always adopting the beliefs of others even if there’s a good chance those beliefs might not be true. It’s possible that you might have jumped on this bandwagon in the past so hopefully just being aware of it has already helped you to avoid using it again.

This month were going to talk about a second blindspot bias - called the telescoping bias - that can be just as harmful to your confidence, enjoyment, and success as a rider. When a riders unintentionally uses the telescoping bias, they look at their defeats, disappointments, mistakes, and mishaps as if seeing them through a telescope (so they appear bigger than they actually are) but then look at their strengths and successes as if seeing them through the wrong end of that telescope (so they appear smaller than they actually are). In the end, the telescoping bias can incorrectly convince a rider that they’re hopeless, powerless, and not worthy of praise or success - and nothing could be more harmful than that!

It probably goes without saying that many perfectionists tend to suffer from telescoping bias, but it can affect anyone at any time so it’s important that we all become aware of it (just like becoming aware of that car in your blindspot). The only way to overcome this hidden, harmful, habit is to teach yourself to mentally turn the telescope around so that you give greater value to your strengths and successes and lesser value to your defeats, disappointments, mistakes, and mishaps and in doing so allow your thoughts to build you up instead of letting them weigh you down.

So this month, really think about it. Do you have the tendency to telescope? If so, turn your telescope around so that you can see how big your strengths and successes really are, but at the same time don’t forget to take a tiny peek at your mistakes through the other end of the telescope. Your last mistake is always your best teacher - and with courage will help you to grow - but see them for how small they really are, knowing that when you turn the telescope the right way around you’ll also turn powerless and hopeless into powerful and hopeful!

Please consider joining me this fall at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs or Lake Placid, or at the IMG Elite Athlete Institute in Sarasota, Florida, for an Equestrian Athlete Training Camp where we’ll spend four days discussing rider fitness, mental coaching, athlete nutrition, team-building, yoga, and much more. Riders of all levels and disciplines are welcome and USEA members receive a $255 scholarship. For more information, click here.

Jul 07, 2020 Young Event Horse

The Race to Le Lion: Three YEH Horses are in Pursuit

In a recent public statement made by the La Mondial du Lion Organizing Committee, they confirmed their intent to host the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses this year on October 15-18, 2020 in Le Lion d ’Angers, France. With events starting back up and the Championships set on the calendar, the race to Le Lion is still on!

Jul 06, 2020 Association News

USEA Podcast #261: Planning Your Season

The 2020 show season has looked a bit different than any of us anticipated, and for many people season-planning was placed on hold. In an episode that was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Brown and Diarm Byrne welcome international five-star eventer Will Coleman and British high performance veterinarian Spike "The Vet" Milligan to the show to discuss some of the considerations for planning your season from each of their unique perspectives.

Jul 05, 2020 Safety

Key Steps to Safe Cross-Country Riding, Part Two: Horse and Rider Contract and Going Faster

Any riding exercise is about the art of the possible. This is especially true with jumping exercises, when a step too far will compromise safety. Exercises and a method should be developed progressively that build confidence and competence for both horse and rider, and in particular also allows room for error.

Jul 04, 2020 Rules

Rule Refresher: Show Jumping Time and Faults

In the show jumping phase, where a ribbon can be won or lost based on a fraction of a second, it is important to understand the rules that determine how time is kept. After reviewing the rules concerning time and other show jumping penalties, one should also examine the rules that outline the faults incurred for each of the different types of penalties.

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