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!

Mar 24, 2023 Profile

Keane’s First FEI Win Propels the Veterinarian to Capital Square USEA Adult Amateur of the Year Title

Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”

Mar 23, 2023 Competitions

CDCTA Spring Horse Trials Waives Late Entry Fee Through Friday, March 24

THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.

Mar 23, 2023

USEF Announces the Appointment of Hallye Griffin as Director of FEI Sport

The U.S. Equestrian Federation announces the appointment of long-term US Equestrian employee Hallye Griffin as Director of FEI Sport. Griffin will assume the duties of former Director of FEI/High-Performance Sport, Graeme Thom, who has chosen to step away from his role to attend to personal matters.

Mar 23, 2023 Sponsor

Sidelines Magazine Increases Support for the USEA in 2023

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is thrilled to announce that Sidelines Magazine will not only be returning as a “Media Partner of U.S. Eventing,” but they will also be supporting the Association as a “Contributing Level Sponsor of the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 Program” and a “Prize Level Sponsor of the USEA American Eventing Championships.” Sidelines Magazine will give the USEA additional promotion and exposure through their printed and digital media products, while also providing prizes for participants at the AEC and EA21 clinics.

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