Dec 05, 2021

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: The Present is a Gift

USEA/ KTB Creative Group photo

I’d like to start my Holiday Pressure Proof Tip with an excerpt from my new book Bolder Braver Brighter.

"Imagine leaning against a tree while your horse grazes happily beside you. You feel the warm sunshine and breeze on your cheek, hear the chirping of nearby birds, and smell the fragrance of the grass and wildflowers. Your horse nickers quietly and all you can think about is how lucky you are to have this horse and this sport and this life… right here, right now.

Now visualize the same scene, only this time image thinking anxiously about the horse show tomorrow. Imagine worrying about all the people who’ll be watching, the judge who’ll be judging, and the twelve-year-old rider who beat you last time. Imagine hoping your horse doesn’t refuse the first jump and you don’t forget your course like last time. Imagine dreading you’ll be the only overweight or underprepared rider there, and that you’ll mess up and let down everyone who’s counting on you.

Wow… that kind of ruined the story didn’t it? The second story contained the exact same horse, tree, and field; the only thing that changed was the story built around it. But that’s all it really was. Just a story, a piece of fiction made-up by worrying about what might happen in the future or wishing something hadn’t happened in the past. But it changed everything. It removed the joy, pleasure, and happiness from the story. It changed a feel-good novel with a happy ending (or romantic-comedy depending on your horse!) into a horror story with a dreadful ending. Even though they’re just silly stories, it’s pretty clear they’re going to have very different endings.

So, what story and which ending are you going to write? A story about worrying about what might happen in the future or feeling bad about what happened in the past - or a story about remembering that success is only a gift that the present moment can deliver."

Here are five positive-thinking tips to help keep your self-talk rooted in the present. As you’ll see, they form the acronym STORY to help you remember them!

SO WHAT instead of WHAT IF

“What if” thinking (like “what if I lose”) is basically just predicting bad things will happen in the future so stay locked in the present by adding SO to any “what if” sentence, and then add a positive follow-up sentence afterward. “what if I lose” becomes, "so what if lose, it’ll help me become more resilient."

THANK YOU instead of WHY ME

“Why-me” comments make you focus on bad things from the past, so snap back into the present by changing "why me” to “thank you." A self-directed attitude of gratitude helps your brain reinterpret a past problem into a present positive (like “thank you for the tough lesson, it’ll make me stronger”).

OH YES instead of OH NO

The words “oh no” do the same thing as “why me." They lock you in the past and rob you of the gift of living in the present. The next time you feel a little “oh no” coming, say “oh yes” instead (as in “oh yes that just happened!). Accepting past problems is the best, and fastest way to return to the present.


When feeling bad about your past or anxious about the future, avoid feeling regret by telling yourself that your training has prepared you well (that you are ready) and capable (set for more). “I’ve worked hard and have a strong team beside me, and know I’m ready and set for success."

YET instead of UPSET

Feeling upset because you couldn’t do something in the past doesn’t mean you can't do it, it just means you can’t do it yet! Adding “yet” to any “I can’t” sentence tricks your brain into focusing on the present, but also feeling excited about the future. “I can’t sit his trot” becomes “I can’t sit his trot yet!"

I hope you enjoyed my Holiday Pressure Proof Tip! Only you can write your story so make it a great one and give it a happy ending! If you’d ever like to set up a series of private phone consultations with me just visit or email me at [email protected].

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Meet Your USEA Board of Governors

During the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, there will be two meetings of the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), one on Thursday, December 8th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one on Sunday, December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The USEA is run by a BOG of around twenty individuals. These individuals discuss and vote on important matters related to the organization and its members. BOG members come from all over our ten USEA areas and come from various backgrounds from grooms, to professional riders, to amateurs, to course designers, and much more. Each BOG member serves a three-year term.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Fast Facts: 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

USEA members from near and far are getting ready to converge on the historic city of Savannah, Georgia this week for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention! With four full days jam-packed with educational seminars, committee meetings and social gatherings, the convention is sure to excite all members of the eventing community that will be in attendance. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel this year, and we have all of the information you need to know to make the most of your experience!

Dec 06, 2022

The Business Toolkit for Eventers

As USEA members prepare for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the USEA is pleased to share “The Business Toolkit For Eventers” from our educational partner STRIDER. This webinar is part of their popular Professional Development Series for Equestrians, which features experts from across the horse industry speaking on business topics relevant to equestrian sport.

Dec 06, 2022 Young Event Horse

Get to Know the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant Recipient: HSH Blake

If you look at HSH Blake’s competition record, it won’t take you long to understand why Caroline Martin is dreaming big with the7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Owned in partnership by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) has already seen much success in his short career, collecting the championship title at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship, several top 2 finishes at the CCI2* level and multiple top 10 finishes at the CCI3* level since stepping up this year.

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 Outerwear of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA