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Pressure Proof Your Riding, by Daniel Stewart


Review by Leigh Ballard

Daniel Stewart is an international riding coach and an expert on equestrian sport psychology. His new book is Pressure-Proof Your Riding: Mental Training Techniques, Gain Confidence and Get Motivated So You (and Your Horse) Achieve Peak Performance. His goal is for riders to learn the skills which will take debilitating pressure and anxiety off themselves so they can ride and compete at their best. He uses a conversational and relaxed style, combined with humor, to explain mental training techniques which help riders manage stress and distraction.

Stewart says mental training is “a science, and like working with a strength-and-conditioning coach to achieve greater physical fitness, you can use the many techniques and tools developed by mental coaches to create greater mental fitness.” His book is about educational sport psychology-his type of coaching is educational in that it teaches skills and “helps ordinary riders become extraordinary.”

The pages are interspersed with humorous cartoon drawings and wise sayings such as “The only rider you need to be better than today, is the rider you were yesterday.”

Stewart’s instruction takes a very interesting approach; it is very un-scholarly but instead it is grounded in reality and practicality. His topics include: Pressure, Fear, Defense mechanisms, Self-confidence, Focus, Mindset, Brain Babble, Mental Imagery, Goal Setting, and much more. He provides specific techniques and contingency plans to control a rider’s state of mind, including exact cue words, “self-talk”, motivating mottos, and habits which riders should internalize and use often. He even has a chapter on how to use music, and he encourages riders to create a playlist: pump up music for motivation, calm down music to steady yourself.

Stewart’s coaching is valuable for all ages of riders. Not only do his methods benefit unsteady or nervous adults, but his techniques are especially valuable for young riders to learn at the outset of their riding careers so they develop as confident riders from the beginning. Stewart has been a long time supporter of U.S. Pony Club and young riders. Plus, the skills and habits Stewart teaches are valuable life skills outside of riding!

Pressure Proof Your Ridingis published by Trafalgar Square books.

Editor’s Note: Read more about Daniel Stewart clinics in Mid-South Horse Review. Check the article archives on our website (or Google search) for January 2012 and September 2011 issues. Stewart came to Vicki Rimstidt’s farm near Somerville, TN in August, 2011 to coach the West Tennessee Pony Club members (“Pony Clubbers Ride Right With Daniel Stewart”). Our January 2012 issue covered a 2-day sports psychology clinic with Stewart at Showcase Equestrian Center.

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