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!

Sep 29, 2023 Education

The Eventing Coaches Program Focuses on Area and Regional Needs

The USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) has initiated a renewed focus on the diverse challenges coaches in various regions of the country may be facing. To this end, the program is in the process of enlisting representatives in each of the 10 USEA areas to help guide the program as warranted for the unique needs of each specific area.

Sep 28, 2023 Awards

Nominations for 2023 USEA Appreciation Awards Now Open through October 29

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has opened nominations for the annual appreciation awards through Oct. 29. This is an opportunity for the sport to recognize those horses and riders who excelled in eventing throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to recognize and honor the very important people who have served the sport tirelessly both in a non-riding capacity and riding capacity during their golden years.

Sep 28, 2023 Interscholastic

Stable View is Ramping Up for the 2024 Intercollegiate & IEL Championships

Anticipation for the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship and inaugural USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) Championship is growing, and the host venue, Stable View, is up for the task of making both events an unforgettable experience for all involved. For the first time, the Intercollegiate and IEL program championships will be hosted on the same weekend at the Stable View H.T. in Aiken, South Carolina, on May 4-5, 2024, creating greater unity between the programs and demonstrating a clear pipeline of participation in the sport from grade school through college and beyond.

Sep 27, 2023 Rules

New Eventing Rule Changes Going into Effect October 1, 2023

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has made five rule changes which will go into effect October 1, 2023. Familiarize yourself with these rule changes below to make sure you are in compliance before heading out for your next event.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner 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