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

Sep 23, 2020 Intercollegiate

A Day in the Life of a USEA Collegiate Member

It’s back to school for the USEA Collegiate Members! Last week several eventing teams described what it was like going back to school amidst COVID-19, and this week eventing teams participated in the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Video Contest. The videos submitted represent a day in the life of a USEA Collegiate Member. The most creative video would win its own social media post on the USEA social media accounts.

Sep 22, 2020 Profile

Now On Course: Jennarose Ortmeyer Shoots for the Stars

My road to success is a bit different and quite a bit longer than most. Hi, my name is Jennarose Ortmeyer. I am 24 years old and my eventing journey started three years ago in the summer of 2017. Originally from Saint Louis, Missouri, I moved to North Carolina in June of 2017 seeking to further my career. I was a professional in the hunter/jumper world then and I hadn’t the faintest idea of how drastically my life was about to change.

Sep 21, 2020 Education

How Strong is Your Training Game?

How competitive have your Training results been? What’s a good dressage score? What scores could earn you a top finish? We’ve been taking a look at each USEA level and as we continue this series, EquiRatings offers some stats and graphs to help evaluate your Training game.

Sep 20, 2020 Competitions

Smith Wins CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S; Turner Takes CCI2*-S at Twin Rivers Fall International

The CCI4*-S had an exciting shake-up of the top placings to finish out the International divisions at the Twin Rivers Fall International. It was Tamie Smith and Passepartout, an 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Pasco x Preschel) owned by Tamie's daughter Kaylawna Smith-Cook, who came out on top with the fastest cross-country time of the group. Ruth Bley’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito (Dancier x Wie Musik) took second. Erin Kellerhouse and her own Woodford Reserve rounded out the top three.

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