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.
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!
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.
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.
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.