Apr 03, 2018

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: The You/Them Habit

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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.

Jun 24, 2021 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Announces Initial Sponsors Including MARS Equestrian™

Cecil County Serving as Host Sponsor; Diageo, Breakthru Beverage, Brown Advisory, and Quarry View Building Group On-Board as Additional Lead Sponsors

Jun 24, 2021 Young Event Horse

The Race to Le Lion: Who is Eligible for the Holekamp/Turner Grant?

A total of ten USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) graduates are now in the race to Le Lion! The 2021 FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France will be held on October 21-24. The 6-year-old Championship is a CCIYH2*-L and the 7-year-old Championship is a CCIYH3*-L.

Jun 23, 2021

Inside the Show Office: Commonwealth Dressage & Combined Training Association

“Schooling shows are about learning, not about being intimidated,” says Miranda Kettlewell, VP of Dressage for Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association (CDCTA).

For horses and riders, schooling shows are a great way to practice without the added stress and expense of a recognized or sanctioned competition. Venues and clubs can offer schooling shows as a way to open the door to their communities, increase their revenue or membership, and partner with local businesses.

Jun 22, 2021 Eventing News

US Equestrian Announces Horse Substitution for U.S. Eventing Olympic Team

US Equestrian has announced a horse substitution for the U.S. Eventing Olympic Team ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Luke Syndicate's Luke 140, the selected mount for Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.), will be replaced by Martin’s first direct reserve, Tsetserleg, a 14-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, and Tommie Turner. Luke 140 sustained a minor injury during his training preparation and has been withdrawn from consideration for the team but is expected to make a full recovery.

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