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!

Dec 08, 2023 Convention

If You’re Not Winning, You’re Learning: 2023 Pan Am Games Team Revisits Santiago

United States Eventing Association (USEA) members at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention were in for a treat on Friday as the U.S. Eventing Team was on hand to discuss their accomplishments this year at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.

Dec 08, 2023 Convention

‘Test the Best Without Hurting the Rest:’ Barnard and Donovan Lead Show Jumping Seminar at USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

“Test the best without hurting the rest,” said show jumping course designer Chris Barnard as he and fellow designer Marc Donovan led a lively discussion for nearly 50 participants at the Show Jumping Seminar on the first day of the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

Dec 07, 2023 Convention

USEA Board of Governors Meet for the First Time During 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

This afternoon, USEA President Louise “Lou” Leslie welcomed U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors members, USEA staff, and USEA Annual Meeting & Convention attendees to the first of two Board meetings which will take place during this year’s Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, with the teaser that 2024 is going to be full of initiatives for more opportunities to access the eventing experience, some of which attendees might get first wind of during this year’s gathering. The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.

Dec 06, 2023 Convention

Fast Facts: 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

Welcome to the Show Me state and to Area IV USEA members! The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention kicks of tomorrow and features four full days of educational seminars, committee meetings, and social gatherings all with one aim—to bring the eventing community together to continue to improve upon and celebrate the sport that we all love. This year’s Convention takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand in downtown St. Louis from Dec. 7-10, and we have rounded up everything you need to know to make the most of your time in the heartland.

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