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.

Feb 18, 2020 Instructors

Dibowski Wants You to Feel the Rhythm at the 2020 ICP Symposium

Yesterday Andreas Dibowski said that he was ready for the “fun stuff” and today he had the chance to share his knowledge of both show jumping and cross-country to a large audience who attended day two of the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium. The morning started out in the ring at Barnstaple South with three groups of riders – Beginner Novice, Training, and Preliminary, and three groups of the same levels took to the cross-country in the afternoon. While the exercises and jumps got progressively harder throughout the day, the warm-ups and themes stayed the same.

Feb 18, 2020 Education

Top 10 Tips for Introducing Your Horse to Cross-Country with Tim Bourke

A horse’s first steps out in the cross-country field determine the foundation upon which his entire cross-country education will be laid. How can you give your horse the best chance of success? What are some of the ways you can help teach your horse about cross-country jumping?

Feb 17, 2020 Instructors

Andreas Dibowski’s Words of Wisdom From Day 1 of the 2020 ICP Symposium

The USEA Educational Symposium is a unique opportunity each winter for eventers to gather together to soak in knowledge. The first two days of the 2020 Symposium focus on the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) with attendees learning how to be better, more effective instructors. German Olympian and world-renowned rider Andreas Dibowski is this year’s guest instructor and he spent the first day dedicated to dressage with one Advanced show jumping group to wrap-up the day. Dibowski taught the instructors to teach using demo riders and horses from Beginner Novice to Advanced of all ages, breeds, and sizes.

Feb 17, 2020 Association News

USEA Podcast #251: Buck, Wellington, and All Things USEA

In episode #251 Nicole catches up with Buck Davidson after his great second-place finish in the $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase and then brings you all of the latest USEA news with the rest of the team. From tornadoes, prize money, and volunteers, it's all covered!

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