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!
The Holekamp/Turner Grant was founded in 2015 by Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp of New Spring Farm and Christine and T.J. Turner of Indian Creek Farm. This grant gives a USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championship competitor the opportunity to represent the United States at the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships in the 7-year-old Championship (a CCIYH3*-L) at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France. The intention of the grant is to further develop an upward pathway for U.S. team horses in the sport of eventing. Grant recipients who are North American bred will be awarded the full cash grant of $17,500. If the winner is an imported horse, he will be awarded $8,000.
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.
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.
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.