Mar 25, 2023

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Saying is Believing

USEA/KTB Creative Group photo

This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!

This month we’ll discuss one of the strongest, strangest, and simplest forms of positive self-talk. It’s a three-part program I call "Create, Concentrate, Annunciate" and it begins by creating a short positive affirmation sentence, called a focus-phrase, like “I can do it”, “We’ve got this,” or “Stay calm, finish strong."

Once your focus-phrase is created, you shift to step two by concentrating on each word in the phrase while repeating it to yourself (repetition is very important when it comes to convincing yourself that you’re capable of accomplishing great things!).

After a few repetitions, tweak it a bit by placing a special emphasis on each of the words as your repeat it. This is the annunciation phase where you basically say the sentence, but yell a different word to yourself each time you repeat it. For example, if your phrase has four words (like “I can do it”) say the sentence four times, but yell the first word at yourself the first time you say it, the second word the second time, the third word the third time, and the fourth word the fourth time you say it.

In the end, you’ll have repeated your focus-phrase four times, but most importantly you have really heard all four words. It would look something like this (imagine yelling the word in bold below while just speaking all the others). Once you’ve completed all four repetitions, say it one more time only this time yell all four words to yourself.

I can do it!

I can do it!

I can do it!

I can do it!

I can do it!

Not only is this program a great way to ensure you’ll hear all parts of your positive affirmation phrase, but it’s also a really sneaky way to get you to repeat those positive thoughts to yourself.

So this week, why not come up with your very own focus-phrase and then use the Create-Concentrate-Annunciate technique to repeat it to yourself a few times? All you’ll really need is a little time and a little imagination. You can even get sneaky and use a meaningful goal to create your focus-phrase. For example, if you typically get nervous riding in front of crowds why not use, “I love riding for crowds” as your focus-phrase. In the end, you’ll have heard it six times, yelled all five words at yourself, and be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!

Join me over the next two months for more interesting ways to turn your voice into a positive-potential tool, but in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about rider biomechanics and video analyses of the flat and jumping position let me know. I’m hosting my next online instructor certification class starting April 18th. Visit for more info!

Jun 07, 2023 Eventing News

Weekend Quick Links: June 9-11

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.

Jun 07, 2023 Eventing News

Fast Facts: MARS Bromont CCI

After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.

Jun 06, 2023 Eventing News

Hollberg Takes Top Honors in Open Intermediate and Preliminary Divisions at 2023 Essex Horse Trials

Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.

Jun 06, 2023 Profile

“And again, and again, and again”: Knowing When to Come Again and When to Switch Up an Exercise

The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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