I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it because it’ll keep happening: sometimes you’ll do everything right but it’ll still go wrong! You’ll ride balanced, make your changes, see your distances, and clear all your fences, only to have your horse throw a shoe causing him to trip and spook at a butterfly causing you to fall! You did everything right but it still went wrong! As you already know, if you became an equestrian because you thought riding was an easy and predictable sport, you definitely thought wrong!
I suppose what I’m saying is that sometimes you’re just going to have to be okay not always being okay (and to remind yourself that perfect efforts won’t always equate to perfect outcomes). At the end of the day, you know that overcoming disappointments requires you to stay focused on your efforts, not the outcomes. After all, you can always control your efforts, but you can’t always control your outcomes (because horses just aren’t predictable like tennis racquets and skis!) Being okay with not always being okay is the key to always being okay, but sometimes it can be a real bummer! That’s where pout, park, and progress come in!
Pout: There’s no hiding the fact that it can be a bit frustrating when you’ve done everything right and it goes wrong, so the next time it happens allow yourself three seconds, three minutes, three hours, or three days to experience the upset (pout). Just remember that the smaller the disappointment, the shorter the time period. For example, take three seconds to pout after a schooling show loss, three minutes after a disappointing dressage score, or three hours after pulling the final rail that eliminated you from attaining a qualifying result and moving up to the next level (the three-day pout period is reserved for the loss of something much more meaningful to you - like your horse).
Park: Once you’ve finished your short pout you’ll need another trick to change your feelings from disappointment back to confidence. This is where parking comes in. Parking occurs when you stop dwelling on a past disappointment (parking the past) and move back to the present moment by giving yourself a command like, “Move on,” “Get back in the game,” or “We’ve got this.” These simple commands create a sort of transition between the past and present and function like an alarm that signifies the end of the pout phase.
Progress: Once you’ve pouted and parked (the past disappointment) you can now shift your attention to the final step (progress) by telling yourself what you learned from the disappointment and how it can help you improve in the future (i.e. what you can do to avoid the same thing happening again).
Here’s an example of how the pout, park, and progress model works after the disappointment of dropping your eyes and pulling the final rail of a schooling show.
This technique has a unique way of involving the past (pout), present (park), and future (progress) and works really well, but will require a little effort because your brain’s natural default when dealing with an injury is to simply wait for it to heal. For example, when you cut your finger it’s natural to just wait for it to heal, but emotional injuries are more powerful and debilitating so it’s important that you take action to speed up that healing, and you can do that by pouting, parking, and progressing.
I hope you enjoyed the month’s Pressure Proof Tip and that I’ll see you in one of my 13 spring or 44 summer clinics around the country this year! Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you’d like more information on how your group can host or join one of my clinics!
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.
With the goal of creating a pathway for young horses in the U.S. and participants of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, earlier this year the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and USEA joined forces to launch the USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that Gina, owned by Corwin Sport Horses, LLC, is the likely recipient of the 2023 Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize. Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) is a 7-year-old Hanoverian mare ridden by Chris Talley and was bred by Hartwig Von Holten in Germany.
At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.