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!

Jan 27, 2023 ATC

Introducing The New Modified Rider Division at the 2023 AEC

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.

Jan 26, 2023 Young Event Horse

Get a Taste of Eventing with the New Event Horse Program

Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.

Jan 25, 2023 Profile

Dondante Steps Into The Spotlight with 2022 Standlee USEA Horse of the Year Title

Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.

Jan 24, 2023 Volunteers

The VIP Volunteer: Julie Murray

Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.

Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.

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