Apr 08, 2021

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Pout, Park, and Progress

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

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.

  • Pout by allowing yourself to feel bummed out for three seconds.
  • Park the past by saying, “Move on,” at the end of your three seconds.
  • Progress by telling yourself you’ll keep your eyes up next time.

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!

Jul 02, 2022 Area Championships

Twelve Area III Champions Crowned at 2022 Area Championships

The Area III Championships kicked off the 2022 USEA Area Championship season June 24-26 at the Stable View Summer H.T. in Aiken, South Carolina. Offering 12 different championship divisions from Intermediate to Beginner Novice, the championships were highly contested as riders from all across Area III put in a gallant effort in hopes of being deemed division champion. The USEA caught up with many of the individual champions to look back on their performances in Aiken that helped them bring home the top prize.

Jul 01, 2022 Young Riders

USEA Announces Athletes for the 2022 Emerging Athlete 21 Program

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the athletes selected for the 2022 USEA Emerging Athlete 21 (EA21) Program. USEA Young Rider program members aged 21 and under are eligible for the program, which aims to creates a pipeline for potential U.S. team riders by identifying and developing young talent, improving horsemanship and riding skills, and training and improving skills and consistency.

Jul 01, 2022 AEC

Countdown to AEC: 2 Months Away! Tentative Competition, Entertainment Schedules, & More!

The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds are just two months away. The AEC moves to the mountains this year, taking place at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana across a long Labor Day weekend.

Jun 30, 2022 Competitions

Weekend Quick Links: July 2-3

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

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