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Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Stewart’

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Ah, show day! The delightful mix of butterflies and caffeine churning within as you rise with the sun. The bustling activity on the grounds as horses are fed, walked, and bathed. The knowledge that at some point in the very near future, you will stand before the masses and be judged

Sure, there are any number of cool cucumbers who can compete without missing a beat, but the majority of us struggle to some degree with show nerves and performance anxiety. In his book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, renowned sport psychology expert Coach Daniel Stewart explains that one of the keys to success in this arena is to develop a strong showing mindset.

“The showing mindset is a subconscious skill that helps you avoid over-thinking, overreacting, and overanalyzing during competition,” says Coach Stewart. “The time for all that has passed; the time for self-analysis and criticism is gone; and the time for trust has arrived. Studies have shown that no appreciable learning of a skill—mechanical or technical—takes place on show day. This only happens at home during your lessons. So trying to improve while showing is an ineffective use of your time. As soon as you drive into the venue’s parking lot or exit the warm-up arena, you need to confidently transition from your schooling mindset, to your showing mindset, and just trust that all the self-critiques, analysis, and feedback from your lessons have prepared you well for the demands of the next few minutes.

“Showing with a schooling mindset also creates the impression that the harder you try, the harder it gets. For example, the more a jumper tries to see the distance to her next fence the harder it becomes (the dreaded ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ syndrome), and the harder a dressage rider tries to sit up perfectly straight, the more tense she becomes. When you show, no matter the discipline, it just happens too fast; you don’t have the time to analyze the height of your hands, the placement of your leg, or the position of your hips. You must turn off your conscious thoughts and allow your subconscious to take over. You’re on autopilot, trusting your training, and just letting it happen. In riding, this is often called riding freely, and it is here that you learn to trust, not train.”

Coach Stewart says that in order to ride well and compete at your best your mental approach to showing must be very different than your mental approach to schooling. Here are three of his tips for developing a strong schooling mindset:

Try “Softer”—Trying too hard or schooling when you should be showing can lead to pressure and fear of failure. Replace anxiety and self-criticism with self-belief and confidence.

Focus on a Task—Focus on a positive task, like repeating the motto, “Trust not train,” to stop your schooling mindset from getting in the way of your showing success.

Use a “Show-Starter”—Identify a cue that will create a boundary between your schooling and showing mindsets. For example, tell yourself to “start” your showing mindset when you hear the ding of the bell before your dressage test or when you walk into the start box before going cross-country. The sound of the bell, and the location of the start box, sets the boundary between your mindsets.

 

Pressure ProofGet more tips from Coach Daniel Stewart in PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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International trainer and riding instructor Daniel Stewart is widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on equestrian sport psychology, biomechanics, and athletics. He teaches clinics and seminars to thousands of riders each year and is a popular guest speaker at many national and international conventions. Right now Daniel is in the middle of his annual summer clinic tour, featuring the popular “Pressure Proof” Clinics based on his fabulous and fun book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING.

Daniel’s summer tour has sold-out stops at farms from California to Maine. We are blown away by his seemingly boundless energy and positivity, even while he’s crisscrossing the country and pressure-proofing the masses! He always has a smile and a laugh at the ready, and we don’t know how he does it!

Check out Daniel’s typical day on the road, the fourth installment in TSB’s “Horseworld by the Hour” blog series.

 

24hrDS

A TYPICAL DAY ON THE PRESSURE PROOF SUMMER TOUR

5:00 a.m.  Wake up by mistake and smile because I still have another hour to sleep!

5:30 a.m.  Still smiling.

6:00 a.m.  Wake up and get ready to work out (the smile’s gone away a bit now…)

6:30 a.m.  Have a light breakfast of yogurt and fruit.

7:00 a.m.  Cardio and weight training (light weights and lots of repetitions so I can keep my girlish figure).

7:30 a.m.  Return to my hotel room—Yay, my workout’s done!

8:00 a.m.  Have a shower so that I can be clean when I get dirty at the barn.

8:30 a.m.  Have a second breakfast full of protein because it’s going to be at least 4 or 5 hours before I see a fork again!

9:00 a.m.  Drive from the hotel to the venue hosting my clinic.

9:30 a.m.  Welcome my clinic riders for the day.

10:00 a.m.  Teach a Pressure Proof Clinic to 4 intermediate horses and riders.

10:30 a.m.  Riders start doing situps because they’re scoring too many faults in my clinic!

11:00 a.m.  Teach a Pressure Proof Clinic to 4 advanced horses and riders.

11:30 a.m.  I oversee more situps because there are more faults!

12:00 p.m.  Teach a Pressure Proof Clinic to 4 novice horses and riders.

12:30 p.m.  Still more situps. The riders are having a hard time standing up now!

 

On tour, Daniel spends many hours a day in the ring, coaching riders.

On tour, Daniel spends many hours a day in the ring, coaching riders.

 

1:00 p.m.  Riding lessons (and situps) are done for the day.  Time to untack and eat a healthy lunch of wraps, fruit, and veggies with my clinic riders.

1:30 p.m.  Prepare and begin to teach my “confidence boosting” seminar to a room full of awesome riders.

2:20 p.m.  Still talking. Take a minute to finally take a breath because I talk so fast. Wrap up my seminar with a Q&A. Most common question: “Coach Stewart, why do you wear white pants when you teach in a dirt arena?”

2:30 p.m.  Sit down (for the first time in 5 hours) for my book signing of my book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING and rider fitness DVD E3: Extreme Equestrian Exercises.

3:00 p.m.  Say a big goodbye to the riders and thank the clinic organizer for all her hard work.

3:30 p.m.  Begin my drive to the venue where I’ll be teaching another great clinic tomorrow.

4:00 p.m.  Get lost on the way.

4:30 p.m.  Get found on the way.

5:00 p.m.  Get lost again.

5:30 p.m.  Arrive at the hotel. Yeah!

 

One of the most common questions asked in Daniel's seminar Q&A: "Daniel, why do you wear white pants when you teach in dirt arenas?"

One of the most common questions asked in Daniel’s seminar Q&A: “Daniel, why do you wear white pants when you teach in dirt arenas?”

 

6:00 p.m.  Skype with my wife and children—they miss their papa!

6:30 p.m.  Have a healthy dinner: Lots of protein, fruit, and veggies.

7:00 p.m.  Prepare for an hour of returning emails and booking flights and hotels for the next stops on the clinic tour.

7:30 p.m.  Can’t find any flights or hotels that I can afford so I keep looking.

8:00 p.m.  Finally decide to book the expensive flights and hotels because that’s all there is!

8:30 p.m.   Shut the computer off and turn on the TV.  Get ready Weather Channel, here I come!

9:00 p.m.  Watch my favorite show, MTV’s Ridiculousness (people do the dumbest things!!)

9:30 p.m.  Try watching my show but can’t seem to keep my eye’s open… must… not… fall… asleep…

10:00 p.m.  Fall asleep reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to repeat this wonderful day 49 more times in the next 58 days!!!

10:30 p.m.  Nobody home.  Smile still on my face though…

 

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING by Daniel Stewart is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FREE EXCERPT

“Daniel’s enthusiasm is infectious, and his attitude toward emotional challenges makes having nerves and insecurities seem so normal—and so manageable.” —Leslie Threlkeld, Editor, Eventing USA

 

Read the other installments in TSB’s “Horseworld by the Hour” blog series:

Doug Payne

Janet Foy

Clinton Anderson

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Real horse books are taking back what's theirs!

With the retirement of @Horse_ebooks, REAL horse books are taking back what’s theirs!

 

In September of 2013, the phenomenally popular Twitter account @Horse_ebooks, which had amassed over 200,000 followers with its frequent nonsensical tweets that somehow seemed laden with meaning (although rarely had anything to do with horses), “quit” the Internet. What I’m sure might surprise most real horse people, is not only the number of followers, but the passion they displayed for Horse_ebooks’ non sequiturs and textual mash-ups. Merchandise was sold, copycats proliferated, and when it ended, those who loved it mourned publicly: “Horse_ebooks is over,” they posted. “I can’t deal.”

To sum up a long and convoluted story, @Horse_ebooks at one time belonged to a Russian Web developer who set up the account to drive traffic to his e-book site, e-library.net (where you could indeed purchase books about horses). Two men, Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender, acquired the account in 2011 and proceeded to attempt to tweet like a “bot” (those annoying automated programs that deliver spam and sales links via social media—have you noticed how their tweets and posts never make any sense?). The result was what many interpret as a form of “Net art”: Performing as a “spambot,” Bakkila pulled random bits of text from various places, and used these “found objects” to make an often semi-incoherent statement.

What seems mildly unfair about the whole story is the masquerade (albeit a shallow one) as a purveyor or fan of horses and/or horse books and/or horse ebooks! And so, with a nod to those who dreamt up the concept, and an up-front acknowledgment that “I’m no bot,” TSB would like to assure the world that the regular old, for-real horse books (and horse e-books) we publish can provide 140-character-or-less quips that are just as funny, just as meaningful, and just as “art”-worthy. Feel free to print any of these on a t-shirt!

The Riding Horse Repair Manual by Doug Payne: The source of infinite wisdom.

The Riding Horse Repair Manual by Doug Payne: The source of infinite wisdom.

 

Should you happen to feel yourself falling, now is the time  (The Riding Horse Repair Manual)

 

The pocket-size device is…devoid of meaning and absent personal or social relevance.  (Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul)

 

He shines like polished mahogany. The room was quiet.  (Crown Prince)

 

Use the right for delicate work and left for opening jars that have lids stuck.  (Dressage for the Not-So-Perfect Horse)

 

Without awareness and control, your legs fall Plus it does not require equipment.  (The Riding Doctor)

 

I didn’t realize it was windy, and I didn’t know the judge was so mean  (Pressure Proof Your Riding)

 

Fancy would have run me over just a few days ago  (Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship)

 

Set the spray interval and duration to fit your fly problem. More and more people are working at home  (Horse Housing)

 

Small and straightforward in case you encounter resistance–see p. 315 for a packing list.  (Modern Eventing with Phillip Dutton)

 

He needs to go on straight lines as well as curves  (The Rider’s Guide to Real Collection)

 

tshirtPP

Pressure Proof Your Riding by Daniel Stewart. In life, who needs excuses?

 

My demands to avoid the work becoming onerous and demoralizing. There was no door or passageway that led to any other room.  (Building a Life Together—You and Your Horse)

 

Look sleepy, or bored, or both. We sort of know what we want. (The Alchemy of Lightness)

 

Your dollar will fly away, and you’re out!  (Games for Kids on Horseback)

 

Left front, right front, left front, right front, STOP. Like a well-oiled hinge.  (3-Minute Horsemanship)

 

Patience is always more productive than punishment, Always go a little ways past home  (Good Horse, Bad Habits)

 

In such groups, there are rarely big battles for “top spot” on the phone, make small talk  (Know You, Know Your Horse)

 

Just kidding. We’ve had enough caffeine for one day.  (Riding Barranca)

 

WILLING SUBMISSION IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE.  (Dressage Solutions)

 

But then his whole world suddenly collapses. Everything goes smoothly.  (Lorenzo: The Flying Frenchman)

 

Nature, Nurture and Horses by Paul Belasik. Find YOUR path!

Nature, Nurture and Horses by Paul Belasik. Find YOUR path!

 

Never design a course with a TURN out of a COMBINATION!!  (Jump Course Design Manual)

 

With the Monkey and Reverse Monkey, you have learned how.  (Centered Riding 2)

 

You cannot feel the ball because it is deep inside the socket. (40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes)

 

The small misdemeanors, and the big ones will go away.  (The Horse Agility Handbook)

 

NOW you are off on a tangent to your intended curved line! (Nature, Nurture and Horses)

 

Opinions vary as to the effectiveness of elastic  (Suffering in Silence)

 

Captured accidentally! Leaning his rear end on a bucket! (Where Does My Horse Hurt?)

 

You have a better chance of being bitten by the roping bug in the West.  (The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses)

 

You can read these, and many other brilliant and meaningful turns of phrase in the horse books available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT

 

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CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

In his fun-and-idea-filled book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, Daniel Stewart discusses dozens of specific tools and tricks that can be used to manage the stress, nerves, distraction, anxiety, and panic that so often hinder performance. And while there’s nothing new about using imagery and visualization to improve your riding, we can all use fresh concepts for how to incorporate them in our daily practice in order to reach our goals and achieve all we can with our horses.

 

Here are a few suggestions from PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING to help you create “vivid visualizations”:

 

1  Make Your Visualizations “Touchable”

Create images that you can actually touch. When you do this, the image becomes more real and understandable because it creates a connection between your mind and body. This is called the mind-body bridge. For instance, a trainer notices her student’s rein contact is too loose so she picks up two small stones from the arena and instructs her to hold the stones—one in each hand—for the remainder of the lesson. The next day the trainer tells his student, “You don’t have to hold the stones today, only imagine what they felt like yesterday.” Since she’ll still have the physical and mental memory of what the stones felt like, this mental image will make perfect sense to her today.

 

Help yourself visualize the wind by first sticking your hand out the car window to see what it feels like.

Help yourself visualize the wind by first sticking your hand out the car window to see what it feels like.

 

2  Make Them Creative

When it comes to creating vivid mental images you’re only limited by your imagination so make them as creative as you can. For instance, a trainer might tell a student to open her shoulders by imagining the wind blowing them open but how can she touch this much wind? A windy day or a fan wouldn’t be enough but if she were to stick her hand out of the window of a speeding car, she’ll feel plenty of wind. The next time she rides she can simply remind herself how it felt to touch “plenty of wind” and how it pushed her hand back.

 

A gallon of hair gel in your horse's mane can help keep you from leaning too far forward!

A gallon of hair gel can help keep you from falling onto your horse’s neck!

 

3  Use All Your Senses

Engaging as many of your senses while imagining your mental images makes them feel very lifelike. For instance, a young rider was told to imagine spikes sticking out of her horse’s neck to avoid leaning too far forward, but instead of just thinking it, she took a gallon of hair gel and actually spiked her horse’s mane! She could now touch the pointy parts and feel the stickiness of the gel; she could actually see the spikes and smell them too. All these senses worked together to create a very effective and understandable image.

 

Use funny imagery to make your visualizations memorable.

Use funny imagery to make your visualizations memorable.

 

4  Make Them Funny

Create images that are funny, ridiculous, or just plain weird. When you do this, the images become very memorable. For instance, while holding sponges will certainly create good rein tension, holding a hamster in each hand and not squeezing them too hard (or their eyes will pop out!) is a funny example from one young rider. Here are few other examples of funny images:

• Potty Squat—A young rider learned her two-point position by imagining she was going to the bathroom in a “porta-potty.” The weight’s in her heels, knees open, hips back and hovering over the seat (not touching it!), hands slightly forward reaching for the paper, and never looking down!

• Beach Ball—A rider struggling with her sitting trot knew that her tight hips were causing her to bounce (much like the tight outer “skin” of a beach ball causes it to bounce), so she learned to relax her hips by imagining them as two big beach balls with some of the air let out. Since the outer walls of the balls were no longer so tight, there was no bounce left.

• Wonderbra—A rider learned to open her shoulders by remembering the well-known slogan of the Wonderbra. Instead of forcing her shoulders open she simply reminds herself to “lift and separate!”

 

Get more great tips from Daniel’s fab new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

 

International trainer, instructor, and sport psychologist Daniel Stewart is getting ready to kick off his popular Summer Clinic Tour! This year he’ll teach 48 clinics in 31 cities in 54 days!

“Last year I taught 40 clinics in 50 days, and I’m getting ready to do it all over again,” says Daniel. “I also donated $4,200 of my clinic earnings to the US Pony Club and look forward to donating even more this year!”

 

TSB author Daniel Stewart kicks off his 2014 Summer Clinic Tour in June.

TSB author Daniel Stewart kicks off his 2014 Summer Clinic Tour in June.

 

If you’d like to audit or ride in one of Daniel’s summer clinics, check the tour stop list below and contact the organizer using the information following each date:

 

June 14/15 – Agoura Hills CA

danacphd@gmail.com

 

June 16/17 – Palos Verdes CA

jannabahny@gmail.com

 

June 18 – Woodland CA

sunfireequestrian@yahoo.com

 

June 19 – Gardenville NV

dberonio@guildmortgage.net

 

June 20/21 – Davis CA

amdennie@sbcglobal.net

 

June 22 – Gilroy CA

brucette123@aol.com

 

June 23/24 – Saratoga CA

dcohencc@earthlink.net

 

June 25 – Woodside CA

MMaroney@carbylan.com

 

June 26/27 – Bolinas CA

bolinas.hunters@sbcglobal.net

 

June 28/29 – Whidbey Isle WA

jcgmurphy@comcast.net

 

July 3/4 – Bend OR

spurranchllc@gmail.com

 

July 5/6 – Beaverton OR

tracimwheeler@mac.com

 

July 7 – Springfield OR

clays4@hughes.net

 

July 9/10 – Snohomish WA

atshideler@hotmail.com

 

July 12/13 – Hillsboro OR

equinerehab@gmail.com

 

July 15/17 – Spokane WA

laura_wrght@yahoo.com

 

July 19/21 – Lexington KY

USPC Festival

 

July 24/26 – Carbondale CO

staceysevers@gmail.com

 

July 27/28 – Steamboat CO

athenadesigns@msn.com

 

July 29/30 – Sedalia CO

manager@tollandfalls.com

 

Aug 2/3 – Tiverton RI

rachelharris14@hotmail.com

 

Aug 4/5 – Westchester NY

diavolio@optonline.net

 

Aug 6/7 – Long Island NY

farmsteadec@optonline.net

 

Aug 8/9 – Bristol CT

mrkost@sbcglobal.net

 

Aug 9/10 – Simsbury CT

horseluve@cox.net

 

Aug 11/12 – Warner NH

cathf28@aol.com

 

July 24/26 – Lyman ME

athertoneventing@gmail.com

 

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THANK YOU

 

Each year around this time, we ask some of our authors to share what they are thankful for, and it is always a fine reminder to open our hearts and minds to all that surrounds us, and greet each day—and the people and animals in it—with a smile.

 

“What I love about horses is understanding their minds, and through their minds, learning to understand how they move. The mind and the feet have always been connected. And when you are in tune with these you find yourself becoming one with the horse, with your mental and physical energies coming together. This is when you truly feel ‘freedom,’ and it is something I am very thankful for.” Marry Morrow, Horse Trainer and Co-Author of KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE

 

“I have so much to be thankful for it is hard to narrow it down, especially in the wake of the tornadoes that recently ripped through my home state. The town just 12 miles south had major damage and many homes are just gone—I am thankful that my family is okay and that in all the nearby devastation, not one life was lost.

“On a more basic level, I am thankful for my family, friends, health, and of course my animals, and the freedom to worship in the church of my choice without persecution. For a beautiful spring morning with birds singing, bright sunshine and green grass and a wonderful horse to ride through it all. My blessings are truly too numerous to list.”  Eunice Rush, Co-Author of KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE

 

“I am thankful for the 16 years I got to spend with my incredible dogs, Max and Luna. I lost them both within a few weeks of each other this past month. It broke my heart to lose them, but I am so grateful and honored that they shared their lives with me. The joy they brought is beyond measure. Thank you Max and Luna ~ you are forever in my heart!” Cindy Meehl, Director of BUCK the Documentary and 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN

 

“I am eternally grateful to Caroline Robbins and Martha Cook from Trafalgar Square Books for 20 years of creating my books to share with horse and companion animal lovers. And for the gift of having TSB senior editor, Rebecca Didier, as my co-author on my 20th and one of my most prized books yet, DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL. My thanks to Trafalgar for all the years of support and encouragement of my work.

“And I am thankful for my husband, Roland Kleger, and my family and friends, and all the people and their horses and dogs that I have had the good fortune to meet and share Tellington TTouch with this year—in trainings, on FaceBook, on YouTube, and on my blog. May the support from your Guardian Angels continue to bless your lives.”  Linda Tellington-Jones, Creator of the Tellington Method and Author of DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL and THE ULTIMATE HORSE BEHAVIOR AND TRAINING BOOK

 

We are thankful to live and work in a beautiful place--- Trafalgar Square Farm.

We are thankful to live and work in a beautiful place— Trafalgar Square Farm.

 

“I am thankful first for my good health. Being healthy is something no one should take for granted. I am also thankful for my wonderful supportive husband, who always has a good sense of humor about my horsie adventures!”  Janet Foy, FEI/USEF Dressage Judge and Author of DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE

 

“I am thankful that my recent major surgery was successful and is behind me. I look forward to hitting the trails soon.” Linda Snow McLoon, Author of CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED

 

“I have a lot in my life to be thankful for. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of my parents. They instilled in me the work ethic and determination that have made it possible to live my dream. I’m thankful for my loyal and talented team that allows me to share my horse training method with the world and for all the horse lovers out there who are committed to becoming better horsemen.” Clinton Anderson, Trainer, Clinician, and Author of PHILOSOPHY, LESSONS WELL LEARNED, and DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP

 

“I am very thankful for the small things life has to offer and thankful for any opportunity to be a positive influence for others. If you’ve made someone smile, or laugh, or feel good about themselves, then you’ve had a successful day.” Kerry Thomas, Pioneering Researcher and Co-Author of HORSE PROFILING

 

“I’m thankful that my family, students, and publisher encourage me to believe in myself and write my new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING.”  Daniel Stewart, Coach, Sport Psychologist, and Author of PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING

 

And finally, a Thanksgiving poem from writer Laura Chester, author of RIDING BARRANCA:

I’m thankful for my health

despite unhealthy ways.

I’m thankful for my horses

who are thankful for their hay.

Thankful for my new book

“May it be read by all,” she prays.

I’m thankful for my children,

who still light up my days.

Grateful for this life we share

in tranquility and blaze.

 

We wish all safe travel and a very happy Thanksgiving.

—The TSB Staff

Enjoy 15% off and free shipping on all these titles and more at the TSB online bookstore! CLICK HERE

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Daniel teaches to an enthusiastic crowd at Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA.

Daniel teaches to an enthusiastic crowd at Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA.

It was a real treat to catch TSB author Daniel Stewart’s Pressure Proof Clinic using his “Playground” of jumping exercises at Equine Affaire this past weekend. As always, Daniel’s energy, enthusiasm, and humor had the crowd of spectators engaged and laughing.

It was truly remarkable to watch as the three very good young riders participating began the “game-show-like” exercises fully in control of their position and performance. But regardless of their ability at the beginning of the clinic, every one of them “cracked” in some way under the pressure as Daniel threw curve ball after curve ball at them. The point, however, wasn’t the “cracking,” but the way the riders handled themselves after making a mistake or forgetting a line: By the end of the session, all three had developed the ability to take what had gone wrong and learn from it, rather than let it drag them down.

Daniel’s fabulous new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING is now available from the TSB online bookstore (where shipping in the US is always free). We caught up with Daniel during Equine Affaire and asked him about his clinics, his books, and how he stays energized enough to energize others.

TSB: Can you tell us about how you came up with the idea for your Pressure Proof clinics and the concepts that are the basis for your new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING?

Daniel: I remember a young rider telling me that she used to think riding was so fun and enjoyable…until she started showing! Once she did she started to feel nervous, frustrated, and disappointed all the time, and no matter how hard she worked on her leg and position, she couldn’t get over it. Around the same time I read an article stating that over 60 percent of adolescent athletes quit sports all together because of what they called “a lack of fun.” It was then that I decided to develop a program to help riders not only do what they love, but to also love what they do.

TSB: You have provided mentoring and coaching for a number of WEG and Olympic teams. What is it like preparing equestrian athletes for international competition? Do you coach riders who compete differently than you coach those who just want to rider their best at home or on the trail?

Daniel: I’ve always believed that all riders—regardless of whether they’re competitive or recreational—can benefit from a little positive thinking, practice in goal-setting, and ways to cope with pressure. I don’t actually set out to train Olympic riders differently than others, or competitive riders differently than recreational—what I try and do instead is to train each rider as an individual. (I don’t believe there’s a mental training program for all riders—I believe that there’s a mental training program for each rider!) Identifying the exact behaviors and needs of each individual rider is the best way to build a program to help him or her overcome specific mental challenges.

 

Click to download Daniel's Free Pressure Proof Projects!

Click to download Daniel’s Free Pressure Proof Projects!

 

TSB: You provide a number of fun exercises and “Pressure Proof Projects” in your book to help riders develop confidence and cool in the saddle. What is one of your favorite exercises and why?

Daniel: I think my favorite exercise has to be building “cue words” (acronyms that remind us what we should remember). We all have plenty of great things to remember, but sometimes pressure has a weird way of making us forget them (ominously referred to as Stress Induced Amnesia!) Arming ourselves with a “wordplay reminder” like BEST (Balance Every Single Transition), BLAST (Breathe, Laugh, and Smile Today), LOGO (Laugh Or Get Off), and LUCKY (Look Up Cluck Kick Yell) can help us to remember all the great lessons our trainers have taught us.

TSB: Lucinda Fredericks, who won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on Headley Britannia in 2009, is pictured on the front of PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING. What is it about the photo of Lucinda that captures what you hope to provide riders with your techniques and exercises?

Daniel: What I love most about this photo is how Lucinda is looking down at Brit, and even though one happy hand is fist-pumping in the air, the other is down congratulating Brit! I think this photo does a wonderful job of showing the amazing bond between horse and rider. It also reminds me of a young rider who once rode his heart out, gave a 120 percent, never gave up, and in the end finished with this same kind of fist-pump in the air! Not because he won, but because he came in third knowing that it was the best ride of his life. It wasn’t important to him what color ribbon he won, it was more important to him that he gave everything to his horse, and that his horse give his everything right back.

 

Lucinda Fredericks, the cover star from Daniel's new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING.

Lucinda Fredericks, the cover star from Daniel’s new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING.

 

TSB: You work a lot with Pony Clubbers and young riders. What do you like best about mentoring kids who love horses and love riding?

Daniel: What I love most about working with young riders is the energy, excitement, and laughter that they bring to my clinics. I always do my best to inspire riders to be their best, but when I work with energetic, excited, and fun young riders, they inspire me to be my best! I guess what I love most about working with them is their laughter. Children laugh up to 400 times a day, while most adults only do so about 17. I’ve always believed that emotions are contagious, and I love catching the “laughter bug” from them! I also just really enjoy working with youngsters—when I’m not on the road teaching clinics, I’m the volunteer lunch lady at my daughter’s school and the volunteer librarian at my son’s!

TSB: This summer you were on the road for two months for a 50-clinic, 42-city sold out tour! We’re dying to know your secrets for keeping yourself “up” for each new stop—how did you stay energized enough to energize others?

Daniel: I have the world’s greatest and most simple trick, and I use it (and it works) every single time. The trick is simply this: When I pull up into the parking lot of the barn where I’ll be teaching my clinic, I turn off the car, take a deep breath, smile a big smile and then say the most important four words I can think of, “Have fun today, Danny.” I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I allow these words to remind me how lucky I am to be a riding coach and what an honor it is to be able to teach what I love.

In the end, it’s this little smile and sentence that keeps my energy up and reminds me that the world’s greatest teachers never expect their students to be more excited about learning than they are about teaching.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

Daniel: I didn’t come from an equestrian family, instead, I started riding for a very understandable reason… because all the girls were hanging out at the barn!! My first crush was a rider so I started riding at her barn—just long enough to find my second crush, and then my third and fourth and so on! By the time I was 20 I was the most popular boy in the whole zip code!

My first actual ride was pretty ridiculous: I started to freak out so I asked my girlfriend what in the world the horse was doing, and she said (somewhat sarcastically), “Ah, he’s walking, that’s what horses do.” My first really meaningful experience happened one freezing winter morning when I was haying horses behind a large wind-break. A school horse came up to me and leaned into me, basically pinning me between him and the wooden wind-break, not because he wanted to hurt me, but because he wanted to gain a little heat from me! It was at that second that I became a rider, because it was then that I fell in love with horses (in addition to all the girls at the barn…)

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

Daniel: It happened when I was really young. I knew what the full seat canter was, but I hadn’t yet learned that there was such a thing as a half-seat. Well, one day the mare I was riding started getting a little forward so I just started moving my hips a little faster so I could stay deep in the saddle. She then got faster so I moved faster, and so on and so on! Before long she was at a full gallop, and I was still trying to keep up with my full seat canter (which I know now was just encouraging her to go faster!) until it became obvious things weren’t going to work out well. So, when I couldn’t keep up I just made the decision to jump and pull the rip-cord.

The good news is that I landed on my feet with the reins in my hand and just ran beside the mare until she slowed down!

 

PRESSUREPROOF here

 

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?

Daniel: Wow, that’s a weird combination, a horse and a book….Well, I’ve never met a horse that I didn’t like, but if I had a to choose I’d have to go with an Irish Sport Horse because of their competitive spirit and sheer guts. I think the world of these wonderful horses. As for the book, I recently read The Hunger Games and loved it. So if I’m going to be stuck on an island somewhere, I hope I’ll have Catching Fire and Mockingjay with me.

TSB: If you had an iPad and WiFi on your island, what movie would you stream?

Daniel: First of all if I was on an island I would most definitely have my iPad with me because I don’t go anywhere without it! As for the movie… it would be a toss up between Grown-ups and Saving Nemo! I can watch them all day long and never get tired of them, and when you and your horse have done everything right but it still goes wrong…just keep swimming!

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?

Daniel: Initially I’d like to say dependability, kindness, or loyalty…but then I’d have to go with answer “D”—all of the above.

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?

Daniel: Like I mentioned before I love a horse with a huge competitive spirit and big heart. Like a great rider, when the horse’s head and heart work together, anything is possible!

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback or with a horse that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

Daniel: Wow… this is a cool question. I’ve gone swimming, surfing, and even skiing with a horse, but I’ve never gone skydiving or scuba diving with one. Realistically, I grew up as a jumper and eventer but what I’d really, really love to do is buy a big ole western saddle with a ton of silver on it and go reining, cutting, and team-penning! I admire the Quarter Horses who make these sports such a blast, and I hope I can try them—hopefully sooner rather than later!

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Daniel: Any meal with my wife and children! I teach clinics in different cities 45 weekends a year and miss my family a lot. Oh yeah…anything with the word “pizza” in it is also going to be a big hit with me.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

Daniel: Any vacation with my wife and children! Actually I fell in love with Greece during the 2004 Olympics but never really had the time to explore. If I had the time I’d love to go back there and take a boat through the Greek islands. Maybe on the way home we’d stop in the south of France. There’s an area there called Camargue with some of the worlds coolest horses. And my wife and I spent our honeymoon in San Tropez so it would be neat to see it again.

TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?

Daniel: Steve Jobs. I’d like to ask him how to use a computer. I believe I’m a good coach but my office management skills are sadly lacking, and I’m sure it would be easier if he could show me a few tricks! If he isn’t available, I’d like to talk to the guy who invented the TV remote control.

TSB: What is your motto?

Daniel: I love mottos and my favorite is definitely “Your horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care.” Coming in a close second is probably, “What lies in front of you and what lies behind you pale in comparison to what lies inside you.”

 

CLICK HERE to download a free excerpt from PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING or to order.

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EA 2013

It’s that time of year again! The 2013 Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts, kicks off on Thursday, November 7 and runs through Sunday November 10—and TSB will be there!

Stop by our booth #846-847 in the Better Living Center for free goodies and great deals on our bestselling books and DVDs from the top riders, trainers, and equine experts in the world. Plus, sign up for a chance to win $300 worth of books and DVDs, including some of our newest and most popular titles!

You’ll also have opportunities to meet authors and have books personalized and autographed. Come by the TSB booth on Saturday, November 9, at the following times:

10:00 am

Meet Daniel Stewart, riding coach, sport psychologist, and author of the all-new PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING.

12:00 pm

Meet Phillip Dutton, international eventing star, five-time Olympian, and author of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON.

11:15 am / 2:15 pm

Meet Dr. Allan Hamilton, brain surgeon, horse trainer, and author of ZEN MIND, ZEN HORSE.

We’ll have new books and DVDs that have JUST arrived in our warehouse, plus our popular SALE BINS with unbeatable deals—shop early for the best selection!

And as another show special, TSB author Jochen Schleese will have a limited number of pre-release copies of his forthcoming book SUFFERING IN SILENCE at the Schleese Saddlery/Saddlefit4Life booth #649-650.

We look forward to seeing you at EA in Springfield!

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