Jun 12, 2024

Pressure Proof Tip: Obligation Creation

USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

Any day spent with a horse is bound to be a good day, because each and every one of those days will be filled with endless learning experiences and memorable opportunities. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to see those opportunities for what they are, or even worse, mistakenly view them as obligations, and it can all start with a few innocent words, called obligation-creation phrases, that we might unintentionally mutter to ourselves.

As equestrians we love riding, and we’re excited because we get to go to the barn, but if we’re not mindful of our thoughts we might unintentionally say or think something like, “I have to ride” or “I need to go to the barn.” Unfortunately, while this just might seem like two different ways of saying the same thing, it can actually make a big difference to the way our brains interpret those experiences; because words like have to and need to steer our brains to view those opportunities as obligations, as things we have to do. Things we have no choice or control over. Things we must do. In the field of self-dialogue, this is a perfect example of how little things can really make a big difference!

The good news is there’s a simple way to train our brains to always appreciate the opportunities our horses and sport provide us, while also helping us avoid any feelings of stress that can be caused by living our lives with seemingly endless obligations, and that is to develop the habit of replacing obligation-creation phrases like have to and need to with more positive alternatives like: get to, want to, like to or love to. For example, “I have to ride” becomes “I get to ride” or “I want to ride”. Likewise, “I have to go to the barn” becomes “I like to go to the barn” or “I love to go to the barn”. You can even substitute have to or need to phrases with going to. “I have to go to the barn” simply becomes “I’m going to go to the barn”. No obligation-creation and, therefore, no creation of the perceived pressure of having to do things we’re constantly obliged to do.

While this technique might seem a little lack-luster in the potential to impart any real mental impact, it’s important to remember that our brain are always looking for a reason to give priority to the negative things happening in our lives (called the negativity bias). So if simply swapping a few of words can tilt our emotional balance back into a positive direction then perhaps we should all give it a try. Left unchecked, we utter obligation-creation phrases more than 100 times a day, which just gives our brains the permission to turn 100 meaningful opportunities into 100 stressful obligations. It might only take a few seconds to say, “I have to go to the barn, I have to work on my transitions, and I need to clean my tack”, but those words clearly alter the intended emotions attached to those experiences; and if the positive replacement words don’t quite do the trick, try adding a positive follow-up-sentence to the new phase like, “I like to work on my transitions because dressage makes me a better jumper, and I love cleaning my tack because I find it both relaxing and responsible”.

As if this weren’t enough, studies have shown that replacing obligation-creations phrases with get to, want to, like to, love to or going to can also help us avoid taking our opportunities for granted because they remind us to be thankful for the experiences we share with our horses. So, this month remember that to fly you don’t have to give up what weighs you down—you get to, want to, like to, love to and are going to give up what weighs your down; and don’t just leave this trick at the barn. We develop mental and physical skills at the barn that can have a positive influence on our every-day lives, so remember, you get to load the dishwasher, and you love taking out the trash!

I hope you enjoyed this month’s Pressure Proof tip and are looking forward to more in the future. If you’re a trainer or upper level rider and would like to take the Pressure Proof Coaching Academy’s instructor certification course on equestrian sport psychology please let me know. The course is online and self-paced so you can binge it in a month or take your time.

For more information visit https://pressureproofacademy.com/certifications/

Jul 13, 2024 Eventing News

Road to the AEC: Chalman and 'War Horse' Classic Greeley Are Headed to Kentucky

I have been working towards my goal of qualifying for AEC for quite some time now. I made the switch from hunters to eventing about eight years ago because I loved the adrenaline rush of cross-country. Although my family wasn’t able to buy a horse that had “been there, done that,” they have shown so much support for me in this dream.

Jul 12, 2024 Classic Series

Keyser, Caflisch, and Romero Add USEA Classic Series Wins to their Resume at Coconino H.T.

The Summer Coconino H.T. and Western Underground Inc. T, N, BN 3 Day Event is a staple on the Area X calendar for its fun environment and, of course, its Classic Series divisions. Competitors from all over flock to Flagstaff, Arizona, to check the box on one of their eventing goals. This year, the event at Coconino offered three long-format divisions and saw two first time winners and one Classic Series veteran rise to the top.

Jul 12, 2024 Adult Riders

Adult Riders All Over the U.S. Forge New Friendships Thanks to USEA Adult Team Challenges

One of the exciting ways that members of the USEA Adult Rider program can come together throughout the year is by participating in a USEA Adult Team Challenge! Adult Team Challenges give adult riders from across the country a chance to compete in a friendly team competition. Read up on some of the Adult Team Challenges that have taken place across the country so far below.

Jul 11, 2024 Eventing News

Weekend Quick Links: July 13-14

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!

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA

Official Shockwave of the USEA

Official Horse Wear of the USEA