Mar 02, 2019

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Verbal Erasers

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

No one’s perfect (nope, not you either) so it’s just a matter of time before you mess up or throw your horse under the bus. Perhaps you did you best, but your best wasn’t good enough, or maybe you unintentionally lost your temper with your horse or trainer. Regardless of the mess up, you’ll always be able to make up for it - as long as you shrink the size of your but - not butt - but “but” (boy, that’s a lot of buts!)

So why am I talking so much about buts? Well, it’s because the word BUT is part of a unique family of words and phrases called verbal erasers - words that have a nasty habit of unintentionally erasing positive things while encouraging you to focus on the negative. Just like the eraser on the end of your pencil that erases words that have been written (assuming you haven’t chewed it off yet!), verbal erasers erase words that have been spoken - even if those words are positive - and BUT is the most common eraser of all!

It’s possible that this is the first time you’ve ever heard of verbal erasers, so here are a few examples that should make them a bit easier to understand:

  • I know I’m capable of riding well - but - everyone else is so much better than me!
  • I know my first few fences were great - but - the last few were horrible!
  • I know you think I’m a good rider - but - the last time I rode I was so bad!

It’s easy to see how the word “but” can erase the positive sentiments contained in the first half of the sentence - make you forget or discount them. This is because words spoken after an eraser are interpreted by your brain as ten-times stronger than those that occurred before it! Verbal erasers are also quite common in apologies. For example when you say, “I’m sorry I yelled at you - but - you made me so mad”, you’re not really sorry at, you’re still just blaming the other person!

Verbal erasers also come in the form of common phrases. You’ve probably even used a few recently:

  • I know I’m capable of riding well - the only problem is - everyone else is so much better than me!
  • I know my first few fences were great - I just wish - the last few weren’t so horrible!
  • I know you think I’m a good rider - there’s just one thing - the last time I rode I was so bad!

It has been said if you’re not making enough mistakes you’re just not trying hard enough, and that if you’re doing everything right you must be doing something wrong. Owning your mistakes, weaknesses, and challenges is an important part of evolving as a ride. After all, mistakes are bound to happen when you have the courage to leave your comfort zone. So, the next time you make a mistake, leave your eraser at home and remember that to grow as a rider, you just need to shrink the size of your but!

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

I hope you’re enjoying my monthly tips and that I get the chance to see you at one of my dressage, cross-country, or show jumping clinics this summer. You can see all my available clinic dates on the Pressure Proof Academy website. You can also join me at one of my four-day Equestrian Athlete Training Camps this summer in Colorado, New York, Maryland, and Tennessee. For more information, click here.

Interested in sports psychology? Applications for the 2020 Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarships are now available and are due on October 7, 2019. For more information, please contact Nancy Knight, (703) 669-9997.

May 17, 2021 Education

Eight Ways to Make Sure Your First Cross-Country Schooling Session is a Success

British CCI5*-L winner Laura Collett is recognized as a first-class producer of young event horses. Here are her top tips for introducing your young horse to cross-country:

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Waredaca Announces Their Classic Three-Day Challenge

We are pleased to announce the return of the Waredaca Classic Road to the Three-Day Challenge for 2021!

The Waredaca Classic Three-Day is fortunate to be supported by a group of organizers in Area II who believe firmly in the importance of the Classic Format of eventing. These organizers in coordination with Waredaca have put together a Waredaca Classic Road to the Three-Day Challenge. The Road to the Three-Day is paved with preparation, and these six events offer an ideal path to success at the Waredaca Classic Three-Day:

May 15, 2021 Profile

Drone Technology, Frangible Fences, and Saving the Planet with David Vos

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May 14, 2021 Competitions

Weekend Quick Links: May 14-16, 2021

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

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