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!

Dec 02, 2022 Sponsor

STRIDER Returns as USEA Educational Partner

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is delighted to announce a renewed partnership with STRIDER for 2023. STRIDER will return as an ‘Official USEA Educational Partner’ to enable unique educational benefits and professional opportunities for eventing enthusiasts.

Dec 01, 2022 Convention

Rebecca Farm Returns as Gold Sponsor of the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is pleased to announce the renewed partnership with Rebecca Farm, as they return as a Gold Level Sponsor of the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention and the Official Sponsor of the Annual Meeting continental breakfast. The 2022 Annual Meeting & Convention will take place next week on December 7-11 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia.

Dec 01, 2022 Convention

USEA Announces Event Riders and Officials Town Hall at Convention

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that the Eventing Riders Association of North America (ERAofNA) and Eventing Licensed Officials Committee (ELOC) will be hosting a very special Town Hall forum at the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention next week. This year’s Annual Meeting and Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia across December 7-11, and will also include the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame gala and celebration.

Nov 30, 2022 Classic Series

2022 USEA Classic Series Season Comes to a Close at Ram Tap

In the final USEA Classic Series event of 2022, three horse and rider pairs rode their way to the top of the podium in the Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice 3-Day divisions offered during the Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials which took place November 18-20 in Fresno, California.

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