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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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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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TSB author Daniel Stewart hits 50 tour stops across the country this summer!

TSB author Daniel Stewart hits 50 tour stops across the country this summer!

TSB author Daniel Stewart has been a successful international trainer and instructor for over 25 years, training riders in the United States, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Greece, and the West Indies, and coaching riders on several US Equestrian Teams to success at World Championships, World Equestrian Games, and the Olympics.

Daniel 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 this year is broadening his reach further with an amazing 50-CLINIC SUMMER TOUR that will weave its way back and forth across the country, beginning this weekend (June 1) and ending in mid-August.

“I’m thrilled that my sold-out ‘Pressure Proof’ summer clinic tour is finally here!” said Daniel when we spoke to him earlier this week. “I’m scheduled to teach 50 clinics in 60 days—from the West Coast to Colorado and from the Northwest to the Northeast. I’m looking forward to each and every clinic and can’t wait to help everyone become more confident, focused and Pressure Proof!”

PressureProofYourRiding

CLICK IMAGE TO PREORDER NOW

We at TSB are excited about the success of the summer clinic tour, as it is leading up to the release of Daniel’s highly anticipated new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, due out in September 2013.

“I truly believe, regardless of your understanding of sports psychology, PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING is an essential read,” says Kevin Price, CEO of US Pony Club.

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

In PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING Daniel explains that while riders love to do what they do, this love is sometimes lost in the panic of showing and performing. He then walks the rider through specific tools and tricks to manage and overcome stress, fear, and anxiety, and how to embrace and enjoy every minute of performing with our equine partners.

It’s not too late to see Daniel in action, too! Check out the list of summer tour dates (see below) and see if there’s one near you.

“A big thanks to everyone hosting one of my ‘Pressure Proof’ clinics this summer!” says Daniel. “I’ve pledged to donate a portion of my summer clinic fees to the US Pony Club, and thanks to all those I’ll be seeing this summer, I’ll be able to donate over $4,000 to this wonderful organization!”

If you’d like to audit or ride in one of Daniel Stewart’s clinics on his summer tour, please contact the email address following each date for more information:

 

Daniel is known world-over as an enthusiastic, energetic, fun-loving speaker with great knowledge, innovative ideas, and an honest desire to help riders love what they do---ride!

Daniel is known world-over as an enthusiastic, energetic, fun-loving speaker with great knowledge, innovative ideas, and an honest desire to help riders love what they do—ride!

Alpharetta GA

June 1 – 2

inyourdreamsfarm@yahoo.com

Davis CA

June 18

amdennie@sbcglobal.net

Sacramento CA

June 19

jen@solusns.com

Grass Valley CA

June 20

dressagerocks@gmail.com

Nipomo CA

June 22

marclyfarms@yahoo.com

Gilroy CA

June 23

brucette123@aol.com

Portola Valley CA

June 25

Private Clinic

Eureka CA

June 26 – 28

anyat2@suddenlink.net

Bend OR

June 29 – 30

Private Clinic

Beaverton OR

July 1 – 2

tracimwheeler@mac.com

Olympia WA

July 9

speters1669@gmail.com

Tacoma WA

July 10

dcloe@msn.com

Spokane WA

July 12 – 14

reginaahern@gmail.com

Deary ID

July 15 – 16

kswpharm@gmail.com

Missoula MT

July 17 – 18

reddishhm@yahoo.com

Nathrop CO

July 22 – 23

eoco@realwest.com

Carbondale CO

July 24 – 26

staceysevers@gmail.com

Steamboat Springs CO

July 27 – 28

athenadesigns@msn.com

Cheyenne WY

July 29

horsemom3@gmail.com

University of New Hampshire

July 31

latherton08@yahoo.com

Warner NH

Aug 1 – 2

cathf28@aol.com

Shaftsbury VT

Aug 3

nnash182@gmail.com

Simsbury CT

Aug 4 – 5

horseluve@cox.net

Bristol CT

Aug 4 – 5

mrkost@sbcglobal.net

Providence RI

Aug 7

kkiley@cox.net

Princeton NJ

Aug 9 – 10

alexis_tm17@yahoo.com

Warwick NY

Aug 11

jenpasquale@optonline.net

Elkton MD

Aug 12

clarinda.gerow@gmail.com

Coopersburg PA

Aug 13 – 14

carlyextra@aol.com

Pittstown NJ

Aug 15 – 16

paige@avhpc.org

You can preorder PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING from the TSB online bookstore. Books ship September 1, 2013.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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