The only sure thing about riding is that sooner or later you’ll succeed- and sooner or later you’ll fail. Like it or not, the reality of a sport as complex and challenging as ours is that doing everything right doesn’t always guarantee things will turn out that way. You’ll present your horse the perfect fence with the perfect approach and perfect quality canter, all to have it go south because of a plastic bag in the corner! Unfortunately, you’ve picked the wrong sport if you wanted everything to go right all the time.
While you can’t always predict when you’ll struggle, you can certainly prepare for it. In fact, preparation is the key to ensuring your struggles won’t derail your train of thought, or even worse, make it jump tracks to one of despair and disappointment. Controlling your emotions at a time when your emotions try to take control of you is a sign of resilience and a sign that you’re more than capable of showing.
That’s where scripting comes. Scripting happens when you prepare for inevitable challenges by writing and reciting a series of positive reminders (your script) whenever you begin to feel a bit bad or bummed out. The idea behind scripting is that it can be pretty hard harder to think of good things when you’re feeling bad, but that feeling bad gets a whole lot harder when you begin saying a bunch of good things!
The first step to creating your “stress script” is to identify the kind of mental challenges (stressors) that bother you most. Is it pre-show doubts, pulling a rail, forgetting your course, or losing? If so, make a mental note of it and move on to the next step. The second step is writing a script that's you’ll recite when you encounter that stressor. Ideally, your script will have plenty of self-support and positivity and come in the form of a (1) positive reminder and (2) a catchy motto like, “I’ve come from behind before and can do it again. It’s time to make the rest of the ride the best of the ride!”
While reciting a positive-support-script will certainly help keep your train of thought on the right track, it’s actually only half of the battle. The real key to scripting (the other half) is that you don’t just say it, you act it! In other words, you act out the words in your script as if you were an actor or actress. This is the key to scripting because bringing your words and actions together helps you to get into character! After all, the most successful actors aren’t the ones who simply memorize and repeat the words… they’re the ones who also use supporting body language and attitude to bring their words to life.
So this month, why not get into character and bring out your inner actor or actress by writing, memorizing, reciting, and performing your very own stress script. Like a real actor, you might not be perfectly believable in the beginning, but keep practicing and rehearsing, and don’t be surprised if you begin to get pretty convincing. Remember, you can’t always predict when you’ll struggle, but you can certainly prepare by writing and bringing a stress script to life. Who knows maybe you’ll win an Oscar!
I hope you enjoyed this month's Pressure Proof tip. If you’d ever like to speak with me in person just email me at [email protected]. Beginning this month I’ll be re-starting my private phone consultations and I’m sure you’d find them both enjoyable and beneficial!
After several continuous days of rain, the skies cleared over Leesburg, Virginia today as the Morven Park Fall International CCI4*-L got under way with the first horse inspection. Warm weather, bright sunshine, and fall decorations set the stage for 25 horses to present before the ground jury. All 25 horses passed on first inspection. The ground jury consisted of Wayne Quarles (USA), Robert Stevenson (USA), and Sue Baxter (GBR).
While a total of 95 4- and 5-year-old horses will be vying for top-finishes in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships next weekend, a select group of YEH graduates are entered in the CCI5*-L division at the second annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory. The USEA YEH program has run successfully for over 15 years, and many graduates of the program have gone onto compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the FEI 5-Star level of eventing, including the four horses entered in the 2022 Maryland 5 Star.
Founded in 2019, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program was initially created to assist up-and-coming riders under the age of 25 in North America who had not yet competed in a destination event, such as the program’s namesake the MARS Bromont CCI in Lac Brume, Quebec, Canada, or been recognized by the USEF programs intended for emerging athletes.. Spearheaded by the late Steve Blauner and Sue Ockendon, the program sought to give back to the sport by helping the next generation of riders get more experience under their belt with the help of the financial assistance provided by the program, and the two days of included instruction from leading coaches around the world.
Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is excited to kick off a two-year anniversary celebration, happening all throughout the month of October in the form of “SEE Month”. SEE’s goal during October is to raise awareness about our mission of opening doors for equestrians from diverse backgrounds while also fundraising to continue our work and future projects.