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Posts Tagged ‘riding coach’

InspireMe-horseandriderbooks

Photo by Venkat Narayanan

“Being coached” and “being a coach” are two of the topics examined in Eric Smiley’s new book TWO BRAINS, ONE AIM. “The aim of this book is twofold,” Eric says. “Firstly, to improve the relationship between coach (in all its guises) and rider and horse; in other words, help the rider learn how to learn, as well as guide those who help others in an instructional capacity make the way they communicate clearer. Secondly, to give those who do not have regular tutelage techniques and practical exercises to help develop riding and training skills.”

We at TSB know Eric best as a riding coach, clinician, instructor, and mentor, but we got to wondering about Eric’s own experiences as a student. Did he have a coach who influenced him in profound ways? How had he learned his craft through the years? Who did he credit for his equestrian successes? Eric was kind enough to share answers to these questions and more:

Being asked to share the story of my “best coach” has ended up becoming a reflection on who I have become and why. Trying to separate horse from person has become impossible. Surely in true horsemen and women the two become inseparable as we live our lives for and because of “the horse.”

Some of our greatest experiences in life are horse-related. Some of our moral dilemmas that have shaped us as people have their origins in equine situations. So for me to separate horse from person or to identify an individual coach is impossible.
 
Sport coaches are defined as follows:

Sport coaches assist athletes in developing to their full potential. They are responsible for training athletes in a sport by analyzing their performances, instructing in relevant skills, and by providing encouragement. But they are also responsible for the guidance of the athlete in life and their chosen sport.
 
WhyWeNeedtoBeInspired-horseandriderbooksAs a child I used to watch my father come home from a stressful and exhausting day as a consultant thoracic surgeon. None of his surgeries were normal—all were life-threatening and in the midst of the Northern Ireland troubles. I would watch him go to the stables on his way from the car to our house. He would spend some time in the company of his beloved hunter “Bob.” By the time he arrived in the house and joined our family, a semblance of peace had returned to his overstressed mind.
 
Non-commissioned officers in the army have a tendency to be direct and explicit when getting things done. There is little ambiguity or doubt in the minds of those who are at the receiving end of the order. I used to watch Ben Jones ride his army remount horse “Custer.” At the time he had been promoted from Sergeant  to Captain to Chief Instructor at Melton Mowbray. He had previously been an Olympic Rider. I was doing a six-week riding course there. Ben Jones was direct with us and his horses. Always fair, but clear what was required. I watched him school Custer on the flat and over jumps, the clarity of where responsibility lay was clear for all to see. I was left with a certainty of “be clear and fair, but make it happen.”
 
“Now, Eric , what’s your question?” Mrs. Sivewright would ask at the beginning of every riding lesson. After an embarrassing first lesson (no one had told me to be prepared), I made sure I had a question ready to ask at subsequent sessions. This sparked my curiosity forevermore. This was at the beginning of my formative nine months at the Talland School of Equitation as I embarked on my chosen career with horses. My curiosity has continued to make me look and listen to any coaching of any sport that I can and then think about how they are going about fulfilling the definition I shared above and what I can learn about about their method and delivery.
 
Two Brains, One Aim“Enterprise” was not an easy horse. Maybe that was why he was cheap and not really wanted by his previous owner! He was, however, very talented but very misunderstood. I was asked if I would like a lesson with Dr. Reiner Klimke on one of his rare visits to Ireland. What a revelation that turned out to be. Day One was disastrous. Enterprise was SO spooky as to not go anywhere near corners , doors, mirrors, spectators, or Dr. Klimke. Day Two was unbelievably wonderful. With quiet, skillful instruction, Dr. Klimke got into the mind of Enterprise and assured him that it was okay. The work was beyond the expectation of anyone present, especially me. I learned to seek excellence and to be creative in doing so.
 
The joy of living in Ireland is the people one meets and gets to know. While being part of a team setting up a coaching structure in Ireland, I got to know someone called Liam Moggan. At the time he was one of the lecturers at the Sport Coach Development Department of Limerick University. I listened, watched, and was in awe of his unerring positivity and communication skills, and his humanity. It was impossible not to come away from every encounter enriched as a person.
 
As you read this you will begin to see that I have not talked much about many riding instructors that have influenced me. At the ripe old age of (??) I believe that most people today will have had more lessons by the age of twenty than I have had in my whole life. Yes, I have been in clinics, and I have learned from those instructors. But my interest has been largely self-taught. I loved the book The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. It poses the “nature/nurture” question of talent, but it also gives a method of achievement. Much resonated with how I saw coaching and had been plying my trade for many years. It gives one huge encouragement in what your doing when you read such a well accepted book, saying much the same.
 
However, none of all this really has much meaning or practical use unless we are inspired in some way to make it happen. Inspiration comes from many sources. I would implore you to watch a TED talk given by Dame Ellen MacArthur in 2015 (CLICK HERE).

I’m not making any political statement by recommending it, but listening to her it is impossible not to be inspired.

Eric Smiley’s book TWO BRAINS, ONE AIM is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

 

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

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caesars-palace

 

It started as many adventures do at a certain point in life: with a Bucket List.

“I promised myself that one day I’d spend a week as a showgirl in Las Vegas,” says TSB author, motivational speaker, dressage coach, and former Olympic dressage alternate Jane Savoie. “I’d kick my legs like nobody’s business and wear a plume on my head instead of a helmet.”

A wild, pie-in-the-sky, pipe dream of a Bucket List item for some, perhaps, but Jane has developed a vast network of contacts via her popular Dressage Mentor site (www.DressageMentor.com). And one such connection offered her the chance of a lifetime: to don that fairytale plume and kick her heels up (instead of insisting they stay down) at Caesars Palace, a glittering resort known for hosting some of the biggest names in entertainment.

“And on top of that,” says Jane, “someone one-upped my showgirl goals and planted an even crazier idea in my head—I should (of course!) be on Dancing with the Stars! I don’t know whether it made things better or worse that I again knew someone through my Dressage Mentor network who made this new ‘goal’ actually remotely possible!

“It was about this time—between daydreaming about Caesars Palace and imagining myself on Prime Time Television—that I figured I better learn how to dance.”

 

TSB author Jane Savoie takes lessons at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Palm Beach, Florida.

TSB author Jane Savoie takes lessons at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Palm Beach, Florida.

 

So about a year ago, Jane, long a fan of ballet and Broadway, started taking ballroom dancing lessons at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Palm Beach, Florida (www.fredastairewpb.com). And it just so happened that “Dance Instructor Clifton” was the perfect fit for a Dressage-Queen-cum-Dancing-Queen like Jane.

“I became totally obsessed with dancing, and found myself in complete wonder over the parallels I was discovering between dressage and ballroom,” admits Jane. “Not only was it fun to do both, but one activity made me better at the other: Dancing improved my riding, and my history of riding toward very specific goals made applying myself to not just learning dance steps, but to becoming a REALLY GOOD DANCER, feasible.”

Well, hello Tom Bergeron! And viva Las Vegas!

“When you spend 40 years perfecting a 20-meter circle, focusing on the minutia that makes up serious dancing seems only natural,” Jane explains.  “Clifton will tell me that when you are getting ready to take a step in the waltz, for example, your power isn’t coming from the pointing leg—as most people might think—but from the standing leg. This is exactly like knowing when and how you can influence the power of the horse: not in the leg when it is in stride, but in the leg on the ground just before it takes a stride.

“The precision required in ballroom dancing, the layers of knowledge and strength, how you engage which muscle to go from one position to another, it is intricate, just like dressage.

“Plus, when dancing, you are working with a partner, just like when you are riding—it is a partnership that demands contact and connection. Your contact with your dance partner can start too strong, just like with a horse—then it might be inconsistent. The goal, as in dressage, is to establish and maintain a light, alive, consistent contact/connection so you and your partner look and move like a single unit. Again, this the same ideal we aim for in the dressage arena: whether we are floating as one across a dance floor or an indoor, ultimately, we are looking for a delicacy of sensation, an established sensitivity to the needs and movements of another, and communication that is so subtle it is almost intuitive.”

 

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So what’s in store for Jane Savoie, the ballroom dancer? She’s preparing for a competition the first week of December and a showcase performance in February. The latter is a recital-type event that gives her a chance to channel her inner diva in a sizzling hot number called “Be Italian” from the musical Nine.

“Dressage has given me good core strength and the ability to hold a frame on the dance floor, but you might say I have an FEI topline and Training Level feet!” says Jane with a laugh. “I have some serious work to do to get ready, especially after a summer where a number of injuries interfered with my conditioning.”

And what about riding? Unfortunately, Jane’s injuries prevented her from riding her Grand Prix horse Menno PM (“Moshi”), and so he was out of normal work for much of the summer.

“Our winter project is muscle-building and getting back into condition together,” says Jane, unsurprisingly still smiling. Jane always seems to ascend that much higher when faced with an additional challenge, so we think it is a pretty safe bet that she (and Moshi) will come back in better shape than ever.

And will we see Jane at Caesars Palace someday soon?

We’re definitely willing to put money on it.

 

Jane Savoie is the author of many bestselling books and DVDs. Check out these popular titles available from the TSB online bookstore where shipping in the US is always FREE:

JANE SAVOIE’S DRESSAGE 101

THAT WINNING FEELING!

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS

THE HALF-HALT DEMYSTIFIED DVDS

RIDING IN YOUR MIND’S EYE DVDS

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DS quote

Striving for the impossible—that is, perfection—is one of the greatest causes of stress and underperformance. It occurs when an intense need to win makes it impossible for you to accept anything less.

Perfectionists mean well and try hard, but usually overthink, overanalyze, and are self-critical. They set the “bar of expectation” so high it almost always leads to a chain of events characterized by making a mistake, dwelling on it, feeling frustrated, and becoming disappointed because they’ve let themselves–and perhaps others—down.

Sound familiar? See if these 6 common habits of perfectionists describe you when you ride, train, and/or compete. Do you:

  • Place unreasonably high demands on yourself?
  • Make mistakes because your fear of underperforming makes you tense?
  • Feel most motivated by ribbons, standings, spectators, or “beating” your opponents?
  • Struggle to ride in the “present” because you are focused on (future) outcomes?
  • Attempt to ride with perfect technique, which causes you to ride mechanically?
  • Feel unable to let go of your mistakes or like you must make excuses for them?

The good news is, you CAN overcome perfectionism! In his fantastic and energized new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, sport psychology expert and international riding coach Daniel Stewart gives you these tips for changing your perfectionist habits, loving riding more, and riding better because of it:

  • Set goals focused on how you’ll perform rather than how you’ll finish.
  • Learn from your mistakes: They are learning opportunities not missed opportunities.
  • Focus on the solution to a problem instead of a problem itself.
  • Focus on yourself, not on others, whether lesson mates, opponents, or spectators.
  • Stay in the present moment: Avoid thinking about past mistakes or future standings.

PRESSUREPROOF here

For loads of clearly defined, individual steps to mental and physical success in the saddle, including ways to strengthen mental imagery, goal-setting tools, stress management techniques, keys to sensory, short-term, and long-term memory, and much much more, check out PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, by Daniel Stewart, available now at the TSB online bookstore.

“I truly believe that, regardless of your understanding of sport psychology, Pressure Proof Your Riding is an essential read.”

–Kevin Price, CEO US Pony Club

“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

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT OR ORDER NOW

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TSB author Daniel Stewart just wrapped up his sold-out 2013 Summer Clinic Tour.

TSB author Daniel Stewart just wrapped up his sold-out 2013 Summer Clinic Tour.

TSB author and equestrian sport psychology expert Daniel Stewart just wrapped up his sold-out 2013 Summer Clinic Tour! From early June to late August he crisscrossed the United States bringing his intoxicating brand of enthusiasm and positive coaching to a riders of all ages and abilities at dozens of barns, farms, and training facilities.

“From Portland to Princeton to Philadelphia and Providence, and from San Francisco to Seattle to Steamboat Springs and Spokane, it was a pleasure teaching all the wonderful riders, trainers, and auditors who participated in my 2013 Summer Clinic Tour,” says Daniel. “I want to send a special thanks to all the organizers who set-up my many clinics. Without your hard work the riders wouldn’t have had the opportunity to participate in this tour. Lastly, I want to thank everyone for making me feel so welcome in your barns and at your pony clubs. I hope you all had as much fun learning from me as I had teaching you!”

Here’s a sum up of Daniel’s Summer Clinic Tour… by the numbers:

2 Months

 

50 Clinics

 

42 Cities

 

18 States

 

630 Horses & Riders

 

1,100 Auditors

 

0 days of rain (!)

 

7 days over 100 degrees

 

4 sunburns

 

Wore out 2 pairs of boots

 

Earned a trillion frequent flyer miles

 

Donated over $4,000 to the United States Pony Club!

(Daniel pledged to donate a portion of all his 2013 clinic fees to the USPC.)

You can preorder Daniel's new book at www.HorseandRiderBooks.com!

You can preorder Daniel’s new book at http://www.HorseandRiderBooks.com!

Even if you missed Daniel on tour this summer, you can still jump-start your confidence, your cool, and your general riding performance so you can “do what you love and love what you do” with the help of Daniel’s forthcoming book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING. Within its fun, invigorating, highly illustrated pages, Daniel shares 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 he does it as only Daniel can—with humor, candor, and honesty so we not only believe in him, we learn to believe in ourselves.

You can preorder PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING by Daniel Stewart at the TSB online bookstore now!

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT AND TO ORDER

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