Oct 22, 2022

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Brand Builder

USEA/ Olivia Airhart photo

Successful companies know that building a strong business brand is vital to building their success and equestrians, like all athletes, function in much the same way. This month, we'll begin a four-part series of Pressure Proof tips that’ll help you build a strong athletic-brand so that you can continue to build your success.

There are four steps to building an athletic-brand and the first is to identify and create a mental tool that can help you battle the memory loss that so often happens when feeling anxious or worried (got jitters?). Sadly, when stress happens, many of the things you want to remember like taking a deep breath and finishing strong are the first things you forget. This is called stress-induced amnesia and it can affect anyone regardless of discipline, level, and age. This is why it’s so easy to remember things when riding alone at the barn, but so hard when judges are judging, competitors are competing, and spectators are spectating (this is also why you have such a hard time remembering where your car keys are when you’re in a rush!). Sadly, when pressure goes up memory goes down - and that where this month's Pressure Proof tips comes in.

The first key to building your athletic brand - and the trick to remembering important things at times when stress might make you forget - is something called an Athletic Anthem. As you already know, acronyms help you remember things, even when experiencing stress. For example, imagine worrying while working on a test but then discovering the first question is, "what are the colors of the rainbow?" If you’re like most, you’re super relieved because you know the acronym Roy G. Biv (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). You just proved that acronyms help you remember things, even at times when nervousness might make you forget. Dressage riders are often equally relieved when they remember the location of the dressage letters by thinking “All King Edward’s horses can make big fences”.

So if Roy G. Biv and King Edward can help you remember important things when experiencing stress, why not create your own acronym to remember important things when nervous? When doing so, it’s important to keep three rules in mind:

  1. Athletic acronyms should remind you who you need to be when you’re at your best (i.e. confident and optimistic)
  2. They should be limited to five or six letters
  3. They should form a complete sentence

The acronym STAR is a good example of a four-lettered athletic-acronym. You can use it to remind yourself to stay tough and relax if you’re nervous or stop thinking and ride if you’re over-thinking. As you can see, both acronyms are less than six letters, form a complete sentence, and remind you who you need to be your best. Here are ten other athletic acronyms you might want to consider using when building your brand:

  • STRONG: Stay Tough, Tide On, Never Give Up
  • FAITH: Forget About It, Try Harder
  • FAST: Focus And Sit Tall
  • ROAR: Ride On And Relax
  • BLAST: Breath, Laugh, And Smile Today
  • SHAKE: Stay Happy And Keep Enjoying
  • TIME: Trust In My Experience
  • LIONS: Laugh It Off, Never Stop
  • POWER: Push On With Every Ride

Next month I’ll introduce the second key to building your athletic brand, but until then why not come up with your very own athletic acronym?

I hope you enjoyed this month’s tip and are looking forward to learning how to build your brand. If you’d ever like to teach a clinic to your riders just let m know. My fall clinic tour is sold out but I have plenty of winter and spring dates open. For more info visit PressureProofAcademy.com or email me at [email protected]

Mar 26, 2023 Instructors

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks (or, The Continuing Education of an Eventer)

One of my passions is continuing to be a good student, because I think no matter how old I get, there are multiple reasons learning new things inspires me. First and foremost, it helps me be a better rider and trainer, so my horses benefit. Second, it helps me be a better teacher by exposing me to different ways to have a relationship with a horse or a student.

Mar 25, 2023 Education

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Saying is Believing

This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!

Mar 24, 2023 Profile

Keane’s First FEI Win Propels the Veterinarian to Capital Square USEA Adult Amateur of the Year Title

Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”

Mar 23, 2023 Competitions

CDCTA Spring Horse Trials Waives Late Entry Fee Through Friday, March 24

THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.

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