Feb 06, 2018

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Thought Chatter

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

A few months ago we began a series of tips dedicated to creating positive riding potential by making sure the words we say to ourselves are positive. This month we’ll continue that conversation with a unique three-part technique called thought-stopping…but before we do, let's first talk about a few surprising numbers.

Your brain thinks up to 60,000 thoughts each day, which is about forty thoughts a minute or one thought every 1.5 seconds. But here comes the craziest number of all. For the untrained brain, up to 70% of those thoughts can be counterproductive to success in riding! Those that come in the form of dread and doubt, memories and mistakes, frustrations and fears - and what I like to call wonder, wishing, worrying, and what-ifs - all contribute to the surprising number of unwelcome thoughts, called thought chatter, that can enter our minds.

So, what these numbers really mean is that our brains are hardwired to think (it can’t actually stop thinking), but when it does it can be pretty good at thinking pretty bad. That is, until we teach ourselves to recognize the negative chatter, stop it, and replace it with more positive options. That’s where the three steps of thought-stopping come in:

  1. Thought-Recognition — You become aware of when you’re thinking negative chatter.
  2. Thought-Stopping — You disrupt the flow of the chatter by saying a thought-stopping word to yourself, like the words “whoa” or “halt.”
  3. Thought-Replacement — Once you’ve disrupted the flow of the chatter, you replace it with a positive replacement thought.

Here’s an example:

  1. Your recognize yourself saying something like, “I always get nervous when everyone else rides well in my class.”
  2. You stop the flow of that negative thought chatter by saying the word “halt” to yourself (inside or outside voice).
  3. You replace the negative thought chatter with, “Watching other riders helps me learn the nature of the jump course.”

So this month, begin to listen to your thought chatter and create a thought-stopper and thought replacement to stop and replace it if it drifts south of positive. Memorize both (nervousness has a tricky way of making you forgetful) and always remember that to fly you have to give up what weighs you down…and sometimes that just might need to be your very own thought chatter!

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 the Pressure Proof Academy website.

Nov 27, 2021 Convention

World Equestrian Brands Joins as Title Sponsor of the USEA Rider of the Year Leaderboard and Contributing Sponsor of the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is thrilled to welcome back World Equestrian Brands as the Title Sponsor of the USEA Rider of the Year Leaderboard for 2021 and 2022. This year’s USEA Rider of the Year will be honored at the 2021 USEA Year-End Awards Ceremony held during the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention on Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico. World Equestrian Brands will generously provide the winner with a prize of $500 in value. Next year, the USEA Rider of the Year will be recognized during the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention which will take place in Savannah, Georgia on Dec. 7-11, 2022.

Nov 27, 2021 Classic Series

Slaughter, Berry, and Shade Conclude 2021 Season with Wins in Fresno Classic Three-Day Event

What better way to draw the competition season to a close than with a win in a USEA Classic Series division? Three competitors did just that on the weekend of November 17-18 at the Fresno Horse Park in Fresno, California.

Nov 26, 2021 Convention

Rebecca Farm Returns as Gold Level Sponsor for the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the renewed partnership with Rebecca Farm. Rebecca Farm will return as a Gold Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention and will be the exclusive sponsor for the Annual Meeting continental breakfast. This year’s Annual Meeting & Convention will take place at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 9-12, 2021.

Nov 26, 2021 Rules

What You Need to Know: New Eventing Rules Effective December 1, 2021

With the new competition season kicking off officially on December 1, it’s time to brush up on the USEF Rules For Eventing ! There are five new rules and amendments that will take effect at the start of the new season regarding competition approvals, officials, and more. To access the full 2022 USEF Rulebook, click here.

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