Daniel Stewart’s Athletic Anthems

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Photo © Lauren Mauldin

BY DANIEL STEWART

When you’re struggling to find your way out of a bad mood (insert frustration, disappointment, doubt, etc. here), it would be great if you could find a quick easy trick… and an athletic anthem might just be one of those tricks. 

You already know that music can calm you down, pump you up, and put you in a good mood… but did you know there’s a special sort of song that’s also been proven to improve your optimism and self-belief? That kind of song is called an athletic anthem and it works because its lyrics contain hidden positive-affirmation messages… messages that remind you to never quit, stay positive, and always believe in yourself. The Climb by Miley Cyrus is a good example. Here are the lyrics: 

“There’s always going to be another mountain. I’m always going to want to make it move. Sometimes I’m going to lose, but I’ll be strong, I’ll keep pushing on”. 

When a song delivers an empowering message like this, it becomes more than music… it becomes an anthem. Its power comes from the idea that catchy music often has a weird way of getting stuck in your head, and that’s exactly what you’re hoping for! After all, what could be better than getting good thoughts stuck in your head at a time when you’re feeling bad!

The first step to finding an athletic anthem is to take a look into your playlists to see if any of your favorite songs are athletic anthems. You can do this by performing an online search to see if any of your songs have positive messages hidden in the lyrics. Once you find a few anthems you can create a riding playlist using those songs. Perhaps you listen to a few calming, yet empowering songs the night before an important ride, and a few upbeat songs the morning of those rides. Here are ten good examples of athletic anthems:

  • Have it all by Jason Mraz
  • Love myself by Hailee Steinfeld
  • Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
  • Pompeii by Bastille
  • Confident by Demi Lovato
  • Fight Song by Rachel Platten
  • Brave by Sara Bareilles
  • Ain’t noting going to break my stride by Mathew Wilder
  • Cowgirls Don’t Cry by Brooks and Dunn
  • Try by Pink

There’s just one rule when it comes to athletic anthems: they’re only to be used before mounting. Our sport requires you to be hyper-aware while mounted so be sure to leave your earbuds at home… that exact why you want to listen to your anthems before you ride and why you want those positive and empowering lyrics to get stuck in your head before you even mount up!


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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