A few months ago we began a series of tips on positive thinking. During this time we talked about a neat trick called "Create / Concentrate / Enunciate", where you repeat a positive sentence over and over again while emphasizing a different word each time. We also spoke about thought-stopping; recognizing when you’re thinking negative thoughts and stopping/replacing them with more positive alternatives. Most recently we spoke about eliminating negative words from your brain babble - not just the common negative words like hate and can’t - but also the tricky ones like try and not. Regardless of the technique, your behaviors are a function of your thoughts so doing everything you can to create positive thought chatter will help you to feel empowered, optimistic, and in control.
This month we’re going to continue this series by talking about something called out grouping - or what I like to call the "You / Them" habit - the common and usually unintentional tendency to use our thought chatter to compare ourselves to others or to wonder and worry what others might think of us.
From the judges who judge you, the opponents who compete against you, and the spectators who watch you to the horse owners, trainers, and family members who expect something from you, there’s no shortage of "Them" in our sport, and it’s easy to see how focusing on Them can be very distracting to You. After all, your job is to focus on what YOU can do to succeed, what YOU can do to finish well, what YOU can do to recover after a mistake, and what YOU can do to improve upon past rides.
If you’re like most riders you’ve probably experience out-grouping in the past, and like most riders you probably wished there was a quick and easy solution to stop it. Well, here’s some good news - there’s a quick and easy solution to stop it! And it comes in the form of the following seven simple words:
I am going to do my best.
Here’s how it works. When you tell Them that YOU are going to do your best, you’re telling them that YOU are going to do everything YOU can to succeed. That YOU are going to give 100%, which magically turns your focus away from Them (and what they’re thinking of you) back to YOU (and what you are capable of). Even if “your best” isn’t good enough to win a ribbon or finish on the podium that day, both Them and You know that you have done your best, and that's all Them and You could ever ask for!
So this month give it a try. Before an important ride, relive the pressure by telling Them that YOU are going to do your best - and when a mistake happens during your ride - turn that sentence into your new thought chatter by telling yourself that YOU will do all YOU can to finish your best.
In the end, always remember to do your best…and forget the rest!
Join Coach Stewart at the US Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid this summer for four-day Equestrian Athlete Training Camps. Riders of all ages, levels, and disciplines are welcome and members of the USEA receive a $250 scholarship. For more information visit Coach Stewart's website.
The scoreboard was kept working at full tilt on cross-country today at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International as 24 of the 41 CCI4*-L starters picked up some sort of jump penalty on Derek di Grazia’s course. The leader position changed several times throughout the afternoon as 15 penalties were handed out by the ground jury, but Waylon Roberts and Lancaster kept their slate clean to take over the top spot.
Derek di Grazia’s cross-country courses at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International is the setting for all the action today in Elkton, Md. Here is what you need to know to follow along:
With 70 percent of the scores coming from the second day of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, the 4- and 5-year-olds had a big moment in front of them to impress the judges Chris Ryan and Sally Ike. The horses were judged over a set of show jumps (15 percent) then moved directly into the cross-country portion (30 percent) before finally showing off their gallop and earning an overall score for their jumping (15 percent) and general impression (10 percent).
At the end of a busy day wrapping up the dressage phase of The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day (FHI), two new riders took over the top of the leaderboards. Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville Z moved into first in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship with their 28.6, while Alexa Gartenberg and Louis M claimed the pinnacle position in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on a 25.9.