May 13, 2023

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Clean Your Closets

USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

Last month we began a series of Pressure Proof tips dedicated to the idea that positive thinking is one of largest contributing factors to riding success: competitive, recreational, educational, or otherwise. This month we’ll continue talking about how what’s happening between your ears is just as important as what’s happening below them and that what’s happening below them is actually always being controlled by what’s happening between them.

For example, tense, tight thoughts and feelings are always the cause of tense, tight hips and hands. The connection between what’s happening upstairs (mental) and what’s happening downstairs (physical) is obvious so this let's spend this month talking about how to keep our homes clean and uncluttered!

If your house is anything like mine it requires constant care and attention, otherwise our inner hoarder-genes take over, and our closets fill-up and become cluttered with unwanted and useless things piled up on top of each another. Before long we can’t even get a coat in the closet or a car in the garage!

So, this month let’s figure out how to clear out our upstairs mental closets so we can pay attention to the kind of thoughts that'll help us move more purposely and successfully downstairs. One of the best ways for us to do this is by using a technique call thought-stopping.

Thought-stopping is a three-part technique that begins by becoming mindful of any unwanted thoughts that might be stored in your upstairs closet (the tense and tight kind); then learning to stop putting them there; and finally removing them from your closet so you can free up space for the kind of thoughts that really deserve to be there (the calm and confident kind). I guess it’s a bit like removing that Mexican sombrero and weird-tiki-thing that have been collecting dust since those trips a while back…and replacing them with the vacuum that’s been crammed under the bed since spring! OK, this is all a bit of a stretch, but here’s how thought-stopping really works:

Step One - You become mindful of when you begin thinking in a negative way
Step Two
- Once you become aware of any negative thoughts, you disrupt the flow of those thoughts by yelling a word like, “whoa” or “halt” at yourself (inside or outside voice, your choice)
Step Three
- Once you’ve disrupted the flow of those negative thoughts, you replace them with a more positive replacement.

Here’s an example of how thought-stopping can help clean out your upstairs closet: Every time you become mindful of thinking something like, “I always get so nervous when my opponents ride well,” stop the flow of the negative clutter by yelling, “Whoa!” at yourself and then replace that unwanted thought-clutter with, “Watching my opponents helps me learn the nature of the course.”

As you can see, clearing the clutter in your upstairs closet requires three steps: (1) thought-recognition, (2) thought-stopping and (3) thought-replacement. If you’re like me, nothing feels better than knowing you’re taking good care of and attention to your house, and it all starts with cleaning out the upstairs mental closets so that we can perform physically well downstairs.

So this month grab a mental broom and get about decluttering your mental closets by making sure the thoughts you are thinking are the kind of thoughts that'll allow your body to perform in a confident and uncluttered way.

I hope you've enjoyed this month’s Pressure Proof tip and are looking forward to the third and final installment of this series next month. Until then, if you’d like me to visit your barn, Pony Club or association as part of my Summer Seminar Series, just let me know. I have plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner times available in June, July, and August! Email me at [email protected] for more info!

Jun 07, 2023 Eventing News

Weekend Quick Links: June 9-11

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! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

Jun 07, 2023 Eventing News

Fast Facts: MARS Bromont CCI

After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.

Jun 06, 2023 Eventing News

Hollberg Takes Top Honors in Open Intermediate and Preliminary Divisions at 2023 Essex Horse Trials

Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.

Jun 06, 2023 Profile

“And again, and again, and again”: Knowing When to Come Again and When to Switch Up an Exercise

The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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