Oct 19, 2021

Pressure Proof: Scripting

USEA/ KTB Creative photo

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!

May 15, 2022 USEA Foundation

Ever So Sweet Scholarship Recipient Sierra Lesny Looks Back on a Successful Season

In 2021, Strides for Equality Equestrian (SEE) and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) established the Ever So Sweet Scholarship which provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with five-star eventing Sara Kozumplik Murphy for one season (winter or summer). The scholarship funds cover full board and training costs for one horse, several lessons per week, housing, a stipend for living expenses, competition fees, and coaching at competitions. During the duration of their working student opportunity, participants learn to manage, care for, and compete horses in an immersive program and will have the opportunity to work as part of the team in all aspects of running a large, competitive barn, in addition to making critical professional connections that would otherwise be unattainable.

May 14, 2022 Association News

Equine Fatality at the Majestic Oaks Ocala H.T.

Reddick, FL - The organizing committee of the Majestic Oaks Ocala H.T. is sad to report that No Limits, Oops a 16-year-old gelding ridden by Aline Briot in the Training Rider division experienced a fall at fence 17 on the cross-country course. The horse received immediate veterinary attention at the fence and was euthanized onsite. Aline Briot was uninjured in the fall.

May 14, 2022 Education

Eventing Fact: You Will Sometimes Fall Off

This story first appeared in the May 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.

In all horse sport, there’s a risk that you might hit the deck. But if you’re an event rider, that is pretty much guaranteed.

May 13, 2022 Competitions

Doug Payne and Starr Witness Dance to CCI4*-L Lead After Dressage at Tryon Spring International

After two days of competition at the Tryon Spring International Three-Day Event, all short-format divisions (CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI1*-S) have concluded the dressage and show jumping phases of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC). Long format divisions, including the CCI3*-L and CCI4*-L, the first of two CCI4*-L dates hosted in the United States this year – both at TIEC – wrapped up the dressage phase on Friday evening ahead of cross-country competition for all divisions on Saturday, May 14.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA