Daniel Stewart: Willpower, Horsepower, Why-power and What-power…

Photo © Lauren Mauldin

BY DANIEL STEWART

You know the importance of willpower. Never quit, never give up, make the rest of the ride the best of the ride… and all that stuff. And you know the importance of horsepower. Balance, strength, condition, stamina… and all that stuff.

But what happens when your willpower and his horsepower aren’t enough? What happens when you do everything right, but it still goes wrong? Well, this is where, why and what power comes in.

The next time your best isn’t good enough to avoid messing-up or making a mistake, or the next time your 100% isn’t good enough to avoid a fear or failure, think about why you started to ride in the first place, and what you love most about your horse and riding. You see, struggles often leave you with tunnel vision, making you focus entirely on the problem… and completely blinding you to what really matters most to you. 

The next time “trouble tunnel vision” makes it difficult to shake off a defeat or disappointment, ask yourself what you love most about your horse and riding. Is it always winning and never losing? If you’re like most, that doesn’t even make your top three. Instead, think about what riding really means to you; why it’s so special; how it improves your life, what it’s taught you, and how it feels to share it with your riding mates.

But here comes the most important part of why and what power. After asking yourself why you love riding so much, you need to actually answer the question! Even if it takes you a second, or a minute, or more, keep thinking until you find the answer. Doing so will help you slow down a bit; shift your focus from negative to positive; and most importantly; remind you why you’re so lucky (at a time when you might otherwise be feeling a bit unlucky). You were just too busy focusing on the problem to realize it!

Today, as you read this tip, take a few minutes to write three things you love most about your horse and riding. If you prefer, you can write three positive ways riding makes you feel (confident, courageous, content?). Once you have your list, make another list of situations that typically make you disappointed or frustrated (and forget your three things). Then in the future be mindful of those situations, and when they occur, help yourself through them by recalling your list of three… because nothing, not a loss; a mistake; or a disappointment are worth forgetting them!

In the end, always remember that horses aren’t our whole lives. They make our lives whole!


Originally posted in Daniel Stewart’s Pressure Proof Academy monthly tips.

Daniel Stewart has been an equestrian for over thirty-five years and has coached riders all over the world for the past twenty-five. Combining his knowledge as an equestrian with a degree in physical education, he created an empowering and inspiring clinic series that helps riders develop equally strong minds and bodies. As the internationally acclaimed author of Pressure Proof Your Riding, Ride Right, and Fit and Focused in 52; he’s widely considered one of the worlds leading experts on equestrian sport psychology, athletics, and performance. He teaches clinics and seminars to thousands of riders each year including an annual summer clinic-tour that includes 50 clinics in more than 30 cities over a span of  60 days. He’s a sough-after keynote speaker, has published countless magazine articles, and is an equestrian sport psychology and rider fitness contributor for many other equestrian associations.

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