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Last weekend I read a wonderful article from the Financial Times by Alain de Botton “How to travel from your sofa”. It’s all about using the experiences we already have and our amazing imaginations to allow us to travel anywhere and to re-live past experiences.
I believe that this is a skill we can all use and develop during this period of confinement at home. I also believe that using this skill now will mean that it is more use to us once this crisis is over and life returns to normality.
Personally, just three days into lockdown, I’m feeling pretty relaxed and have been enjoying the things I’m filling my days with. I’m managing to continue with some work but inevitably this has slowed down considerably. However, I guess that over the coming weeks there will be times when I do resent the confinement and wish that I was out there experiencing the wider world. This is the time when I will really need my imagination to help me and I would suggest that you will all benefit from a helpful imagination too.
De Botton talks about re-living holidays right through from remembering what you had for your first breakfast to re-experiencing the sights and the sounds of your destination. He suggests that this imagined experience can be as real as you want it to be and that by “travelling from your sofa” will help you to be more comfortable with isolation.
So how can YOU use your wonderful imagination to help you at this time of enforced isolation? I would like you all to spend some time regularly developing your technique of “How to ride from your sofa“.
The technique is really very simple. Just make yourself comfy where you won’t be disturbed for a while, close your eyes and take yourself back to a wonderful riding experience and then re-live it.
This will be most realistic if you involve ALL of your senses and because horse riding is such a physical activity you can really feel as though you are actually on horseback. You are activating all the elements of your nervous system and can really enjoy the ride.
Start right at the very beginning of the ride, for example bringing your horse in from the field and grooming him all the while allowing yourself to be aware of what you can see, hear, feel, smell and even taste. Allow yourself to look around and take in all the elements of your environment so that you are actually “there”.
Then work through to mounting up and heading off for your ride. So you can feel your seat in the saddle, your feet in the stirrups, the reins in your hands. You can see the horses neck stretching out in front of you and can hear the footfall of his movement. You can smell the wonderful scent of horse and perhaps the leather of your tack.
The actual ride will be different for all of you but IT’S A GOOD ONE! Perhaps you are out for a hack or you might be riding a cross country course. It really doesn’t matter.
Your mind is very clever at distorting time so your ride can be as long as you like whilst real time might be completely different. You can re-live an entire week long riding holiday in half an hour on the sofa!
Give it a try and see how real you can make it and notice how it helps you avoid the frustration of confinement.
Sign up to receive your free Five Steps to Riding Confidence programme to help you to get ready to be the rider you want to be once life returns to normal.
Or get in touch to arrange some online 1:1 sessions.
I am also offering a limited number of 20 minute online sessions per week to help you to identify your strengths and challenges. Only four available per week and the cost is just £15.