Dec 17, 2022

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Mojo-Mantras

USEA/SDH Photography photo

Two months ago we began a conversation about brand-building: the idea that our self-image and performance can be improved by creating a personal athletic brand. When companies like Starbucks or Google create strong business brands their success soars and when equestrians build strong athletic brands their success soars in much the same way.

The first two components of brand-building were discussed in my previous Pressure Proof tips: (1) Building a playlist of motivating athletic anthems (songs that have positive affirmations in the lyrics) and (2) Creating a five-or-fewer-letter athletic acronym that reminds you how to behave (like how SANDY reminds you to smile and never doubt yourself). This month I’ll introduce you to mojo-mantras, the third tool that’ll complete the mental toolbox that is your athletic brand.

An important component of peak performance is the ability to get in the zone where you remain focused on the present and positive, rather than on problems from the past. This is where mojo-mantras come in because they’re a simple yet super effective tool to help you get into that mental mindset where you:

- Believe your skill matches the challenge

- Feel completely absorbed in the ride

- Receive immediate feedback to adjust your tactics

- Develop laser-like focus

- Lose all doubt and self-consciousness

- Feel time slow down which helps you to avoid rushing

So just how do mojo-mantras get you in the zone? Well, in order to get there your brain must first enter something called the flow state which is a sort of relaxed and rhythmical sensation that allows your brain to alter its thinking from rushed and over-analyzing (analysis paralysis) to effortless and relaxed. One of the best ways to achieve this is to repeat a rhythmical mantra much like the chants used in yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. I like to call these chants mojo-mantras because fears, failures, flaws, and frustrations often have a nasty way of robbing you of your mojo!

The good news is that you’ve probably used mojo-mantras in the past without even realizing it. Perhaps your trainer asked you to count 1–2–1–2 when she noticed you becoming a bit tense, or asked you to sing row-row-row-your-boat when she noticed you worrying or holding your breath. Regardless of the phrase or song, your trainer proved that you can avoid overthinking by simply repeating a relaxing and rhythmical mojo-mantra. Here are a few examples of commonly used mojo-mantras:

- Be strong - Push on

- Push on - Finish strong

- Keep calm - Ride on

- You can do it - Nothing to it

As you can see, mojo-mantras use rhythm and rhyme to create the feeling of flow while also directing your thoughts towards positive behaviors (like pushing on and finishing strong). The second kind of mojo-mantra does the same thing but uses humor to break up any anxiety you might be feeling. After all, the only thing better than being in the zone is being in a good mood when you’re there! Here are a few examples of humorous mojo-mantras:

(1) Duck, duck goose: Repeat duck while cantering and goose every time you jump

(2) Keep on swimming: Dory reminding you to never give up

(3) The snack that smiles back: The goldfish commercial reminding you to stay positive

This month continue listening to your athletic anthems and repeating your athletic acronym, but also find your mojo-mantra! The rhythm and rhyme it’ll deliver - along with its positive message or humor - will create the flow state that’ll put you in the zone where you naturally focus on the present and the positive and that is a place all equestrians deserve to be!

Join me next month for the final, and most important step in building your athletic brand, but in the meantime, if you’d like to teach equestrian sport psychology clinics or seminars, or rider fitness workshops just let me know! I’m hosting my next instructor certification class this coming Easter weekend in Florida. Visit for more info!

Jun 18, 2024 Young Event Horse

USEA Announces 2024 YEH Championships Venues, Judges, and Entry Process

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the return of The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse Championships to both the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill and Twin Rivers Ranch. Each venue has renewed their contracts for two-year terms with an option for a third automatic renewal as mutually agreed upon.

Jun 17, 2024 Eventing News

O'Neal and Clooney 14 Capture the Win at Inaugural Aspen Farms CCI4*-S

At the end of an exciting weekend at Aspen Farms Horse Trials, Karen O'Neal and Clooney 14, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Annika Asling, sealed the win in the inaugural CCI4*-S. They started the division in the lead with a dressage score of 35.0, but then dropped to second after show jumping on Saturday due to one rail.

Jun 17, 2024 Eventing News

Get Ready for the Maryland International and USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship

The countdown to the Maryland International & Horse Trials hosted at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland, on July 5-7 has begun. With competition for all FEI divisions from CCI1* to CCI4*-S, as well as national levels Training through Advanced, local riders will be able to compete alongside the best of the best.

Jun 17, 2024

Fast Facts: EA21 Regional Clinics

One of the best parts of summer is the return of the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 Program (EA21) Regional Clinics! This will be the third year that the USEA is offering these two-day educational sessions for the chosen applicants. There are five clinics taking place across the U.S. over the course of the summer. A USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) certified instructor will guide 12 hand-selected applicants at each clinic.

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