We all strive for greatness. Regardless of your age, level, or discipline; your horse and sport are just too important for you to give anything less than your best. But what happens when mistakes or missed opportunities interfere with your ability to achieve that greatness? What happens when disappointments make you mess up or feel let down? Well, for most riders the answer is simple. Regret.
Regrets happen when you give 100% but it’s not good enough - when you do your best but your best isn’t enough. It happens when you should’ve done something different, should’ve done something better, or should’ve beat someone else.
As you can see, regrets live in a world full of should’ve and that’s a pretty dark place to live because it is there that you feel like you’ve messed up or let yourself down. It’s the place where you feel like your emotions are controlling when you wish you could be controlling them. The first way to start regaining some of that control (and remove the regret) is to simply eliminate the word should’ve from your vocabulary.
There are two people inside you right now (don’t worry, it’s only a metaphor) and they control whether "regret" and "should’ve" will play a role in your riding. Your realistic self is when you define yourself realistically (strong yet imperfect), set realistic goals (challenging but attainable), and hold realistic expectations (successful with a few bumps along the way). Your unrealistic self is who you become when you think in terms of should’ve because it causes you to define yourself unrealistically (I should’ve been the best at everything), set unrealistic goals (I should’ve done everything right), and hold unrealistic expectations (I should’ve won everything). Unfortunately, your realistic self knows it’s incapable of achieving unrealistic expectations so regrets are almost always the inevitable outcome.
Having said this, one mild form of regret can play a role in your development as long as the word should’ve doesn’t enter the conversation. This form of regret (called positively perceived regret) is the kind that makes mistakes memorable enough to motivate you to make a change. Instead of blaming the mistake on the wind, footing, or judge, (the should’ve) these regrets give you the "I've had enough!" moment that motivates you to make whatever change is required to right the wrong.
Most regrets lock your focus on problems from the past instead of on creating positive things in the present, so here’s a four-step program that can help you to get better (not bitter!) when dealing with upsetting regrets:
(1) Pause - Take a deep breath and stop everything. Regrets make you tight and frustrated so identify those feelings and remove them for a least 10 seconds.
(2) Pose - Striking a confident posture releases feel-good hormones that improve your courage and optimism. Try standing confidently tall in front of your horse while holding his head to yours.
(3) Prose - Repeating a meaningful mantra like “what doesn’t break me makes me stronger" helps your brain reinterpret the disappointment as a building block rather than a regret.
(4) Place - Designate a safe location free from all judgment and regret. This is your no-regret-place, the place where you pause, pose, prose and the place where you go to lose your should’ve.
So, the next time you begin to feel a little regret rising up inside you, or the next time you hear yourself uttering the word should’ve, why not give pause, pose, prose, and place a try and always remember, never worry about the should have. If it should have, it would have!
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 certain you’d find them both enjoyable and beneficial!
Chants of “War Eagle” were heard from end to end of the White Oak cross-country course as the overnight leaders and defending champions from Auburn University tore between the red and white flags Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard of the 2023 Intercollegiate Eventing Championship at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).
The last three years have been a time of great change throughout the country for homes, businesses and industries. Rising costs of living, shrinking of assistance and changes in demographics have affected so much of our world, and that includes the equine industry. However, not all of the changes are easy to identify. This is why the American Horse Council (AHC), together with the U.S. Equestrian Federation, has kicked off what could be one of the biggest studies in more than 50 years with the 2023 National Economic Impact Study (EIS) for the equine industry.
Twenty-three teams from 13 colleges and universities have traveled far and wide for the seventh annual USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
If you have been involved at a higher level with the USEA, you probably recognize the names of the two ladies that spearhead all of the efforts of the USEA’s Programs, Partnerships, and Marketing department: Kate Lokey, Director of Programs and Marketing, and Kaleigh Collett, Marketing Coordinator, but a new member of this team has also joined the USEA staff in Heather Johnson, Programs and Inventory Assistant. If you have considered advertising with the USEA or are involved in the USEA’s Young Event Horse, Emerging Athletes U21, New Event Horse, Adult Riders, Young Riders, Classic Series, or Grooms programs, you probably have or most likely will interact with one of these staff members.