Jun 30, 2022

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: The Quickie Plan

USEA/ KTB Creative Group photo

Last month we began a four-part series on mental preparation and the many kinds of pre-ride routines you can perform to control your emotions so they don’t take control of you. If you recall, the purpose of these routines is to give your brain the perception of predictability and control because as soon as your brain loses these it senses threat and stress which weakens your confidence and strengthens your jitters and fears.

We began last month by discussing the mental preparation plan best used when everything goes according to plan. Easy peasy, no last-minute pulled shoes or hauling issues. But what happens when the shoes go flying and you have to back up the trailer when you can barely drive the darn thing forward? What happens when you spill coffee on your clean breeches or your horse gets dirty right before your class is called? What happens when you can’t find your boot pulls, lose your helmet, and your mind? It’s during these times that you’re going to need to modify your Plan A and come up with another that’s going to take a whole lot less time, but still delivers the same calmness and confidence your brain needs… and that’s where the quickie plan comes in. This is the plan you’re going to use when you feel rushed. You’re in trouble and out of time.

As you can imagine this plan is going to have to be pretty quick. You no longer have the time to listen to the motivational playlist or do a few yoga poses from the Plan A routine you built last month. You might only have a minute or two to gain or regain control of your emotions, but with a quickie plan in place, that might be all the time you need.

The key to this plan is a technique called time-batching which is essentially performing several different tasks (batching) at the same time. You might not have time to perform them all, but if you can squeeze them into the same few seconds or minutes you’ll find you're more than capable of accomplishing them all. Two examples of time-batching are discussing strategy with your trainer while cleaning your horse’s stall and talking to the farrier while cleaning your tack. You might not have the time to do both, but if you batch them together you’ll improve the chance of getting them done. In the end, the key to time-batching comes down to the word while - you do this while doing that, instead of doing this and then doing that.

So what kind of positive and empowering tasks can you batch together when running late or your class is called early? What kinds of tasks can you batch together to help you chill out when you’re out of time? What kinds of tasks can you batch together when you want to turn the feeling of hopelessness into hopefulness? Well, below is a short list of ideas. When used separately they’ll take too much time, but if you can batch them together you'll have no trouble getting out of trouble!

  • Discuss strategy with your trainer while tacking-up while thanking them (gratitude is a great morale booster!)
  • Take a deep breath while repeating a motivating mantra while standing tall in a power posture (think superman or wonder woman)
  • Visualize your course while walking to the arena while humming a few bars to a calming song while telling yourself you’re excited (instead of nervous).
  • Do a quick head-to-toe relaxation while walking to the in-gate while complimenting an opponent (kindness is another great morale booster!)
  • Hug your horse while saying, “We got this” while smiling while taking another few deep breaths.

It’s clear that these are all really good ideas, but it’s also clear that you probably won’t have time to do them all unless they’re batched together. One of my favorite quotes has always been, “When you get to the end of your rope tie a note and hang on” and that is exactly what this quickie plan is all about. Always do your best, but when your best isn’t enough to get you there on time… batching a few calming tasks together might be all that's needed to help you chill out, even when you’re out of time.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s tip and are looking forward to the next two. Until then, I’m teaching my first post-Covid instructor certification course next November in Naples FL. If you’d like to join my coaching team and begin teaching Pressure Proof lessons, seminars or clinics just email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you more info!

May 27, 2024 Eventing News

A Trip Down Memory Lane with the U.S. Olympic Event Teams of Years Past

The hype around this summer’s Olympics in Paris, France, is building with each passing day! In preparation for the summer games, which take place Friday, July 26, through Sunday, August 11, we decided to take a walk down memory lane and revisit the performances of the U.S. eventing team at the Games in years past.

May 26, 2024 Eventing News

How Foxhunting Paved Melanie Smith’s Path Up the Levels of Eventing

“I always say that my secret weapon out competing is bad weather and bad footing,” said Melanie Smith. Though the Georgia-based rider is a competitor by nature, having completed three 50K Ultramarathons, it was a non-competitive sport that made the most profound impact on where she is today. Decades of foxhunting taught her to trust her horse, fine-tune her cross-country skills, and navigate tricky conditions.

May 25, 2024 Eventing News

Caitlin Silliman: The Roller Coaster World of Eventing

As both an eventer and business owner, Caitlin Silliman is well aware of the need for a solid team behind her. Not only has she had supportive family and friends cheering her on, she has ridden and worked under top-notch professionals such as Susie Beale and Silva and Boyd Martin, and now runs her business side by side with her good friend and fellow eventer Erin Kanara at Erin’s farm in Pennsylvania, the state Caitlin has always called home.

May 24, 2024 AEC

Three Months Until the Start of the 20th Anniversary USEA American Eventing Championships

The 2024 United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is just over three months away, which means it is time to start planning your trip to Lexington, Kentucky! For the second year in a row, the AEC, which is brought to you by the USEA and its organizing partners at Equestrian Events, Inc and Mary Fike, will return to the iconic Kentucky Horse Park from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle 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

Official Horse Boot of the USEA