Month: March 2021

Month: March 2021

I have twin brothers and today, March 23rd, is their birthday so this is an easy date to remember in my family. It is of course a full year now since the start of the first lockdown period and a day when lots of people are making time to think and reflect on their experiences over the last year.

Thinking of my family, the first thing which comes to mind is that we have hardly seen each other. I saw one brother briefly last year when he called to visit en route to a mini break in NW Scotland – I made him camp in the garden as we weren’t supposed to be having guests in our homes at that stage! He did sneak in to use the loo and shower, which in theory was breaking the rules but hey, who hasn’t broken or bent the rules at some point? I haven’t seen my other brother since late February 2020 when our family was all together for our Mum’s funeral. Mum timed her passing perfectly in some ways, she was at the end of a long and happy life and we have said frequently over the last year that we are glad that she didn’t have to go through the loneliness and isolation that so many have experienced. We are a close family and can’t wait to get together again before too much more time has passed.

My husband’s family are mostly in Ireland so, of course, we haven’t seen them for over a year now either. Our experiences of missing our families are no different to those of our friends and everyone else throughout the country and beyond. We have been accepting of the situation, frustrated and saddened at times but made the best of other forms of communication and it has been fine.

I must admit I found the first couple of months really quite a relief. After the few weeks leading up to it, when we knew that there was a serious worldwide situation going on, it did feel good to me when things finally shut down and I felt safer in our own little part of the world. I think, in some ways, I needed that quiet time which came so soon after Mum’s death and followed on from losing my mother-in-law in 2019 and my father in 2018. Life had been very busy for the past few years lurching from one elderly parental crisis to the next and so a time to pause and be quiet felt good. Spring 2020 was beautiful and those early days of sunshine and fresh air walks, seeing virtually nobody were a special time here at home with our animals.

Long Summer evenings and this view helped us in the early lockdown days.



When things eased up a bit last Summer and early Autumn we managed to make the most of a couple of short break opportunities and enjoyed seeing a few of our local friends. Then it quickly became obvious that we would have to return to tighter restrictions and that is where we still find ourselves.

Like many others I’ve found the more recent period more challenging than the earlier days. There were times when I did feel afraid with new variants springing up and infection rates soaring. The more I learned about Covid the less I wanted to catch it. Now in March 2021 I feel optimistic about the future, grateful to have received my first vaccination, appreciative of the hard work and dedication of health and care professionals and other key workers and thankful that we have remained happy and healthy throughout.

I have learned an immense amount over the year in many different ways. I’ve done a couple of major online learning courses and will write about them separately. On a personal level I’d just like to mention a couple of things which I’ve learned.

I realised that I need to constantly challenge some of my own personal self limiting beliefs so that I don’t allow them to hold me back. For example, I tend to describe myself as a technophobe who is pretty clueless when it comes to using technology. This just simply isn’t true! I have embraced and learned all sorts of new things and new ways of working over the past year. I’ve either been able to work out for myself how to do things or I have found an expert who can help me where needed! No more technophobia for me…..!!

I also believed that I could only do my job well when working with clients face to face. Again, this has proved to be untrue and I have truly enjoyed all the encounters I’ve had with new and existing clients online over the past twelve months. This has allowed my work to develop in ways which I had never anticipated or particularly thought about and I am excited about continuing to grow these new ways of working and helping horse riders throughout scotland and far beyond.

So it isn’t just my clients who have self limiting beliefs which they allow to hold them back from reaching their goals! I have them too and that’s something I need to be aware of and keep on top of. We are ALL works in progress!

I’ve also learned that there are many others out there in the equestrian world who I can enjoy making connections with. I joined the wonderful Small and Supercharged mastermind group, run by Rhea Freeman, and through this have made many delightful online friendships and have benefitted from many opportunities which have come my way through this marvellous group of people. Just because we are all isolated in our own corners of the world it doesn’t mean that we can’t support and encourage each other and that is just exactly what this group does.

So as we can all hopefully start to look forward to doing more of the tings we enjoy and seeing more of the people we love and who are important to each other I know that I will always continue to learn and, for me, that is one of life’s great joys.

Photo credit: Joanne Boyle

Month: March 2021

Developing the resilience to handle challenges, overcome disappointments and learn from both good and bad experiences will help all riders fulfil their goals and generally enjoy their riding more. Being resilient gives us the strength needed to be able to move forwards and not be defined by any setbacks. Resilience is empowering and helps us to grown in self belief.

Working on the seven “C’s” of resilience will help you to strengthen what you already have and what you have already learned from all the experiences which have brought to this point in your life.

COMPETENCE
The belief that you can and will handle a situation effectively. That you have the skills and experience necessary to do what you are asking yourself to do. Of course skills can always be improved and refined and this is why most riders who wish to progress in the sport continue to have coaching. Competence can also apply to mindset skills.

CONFIDENCE
Having confidence comes from that deep belief in your own abilities and is closely aligned with competence. Confidence isn’t a fixed attribute and there will be times when it’s stronger than others but developing an overall belief in yourself will help you to grow in confidence and to enjoy yourself more.

CONNECTION
Developing close ties with family, friends, coaches, equestrian professionals and “your team” will help you to develop a real sense of community and support. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and have your best interests at heart helps you to have that support system in place which is so important for resilience.

CHARACTER
We are all different and learning to accept that is part of maturing as a person. Being true to your own values and set of moral principles is important for all of us, as is demonstrating a caring attitude towards others. I believe that we all have a responsibility to show kindness and care towards others and that this helps us to feel better about ourselves which, of course, is part of being resilient.

CONTRIBUTION
We all have a contribution to make in life, great or small. We are all important and have a role to play in whatever form that takes.

COPING
Learning to cope effectively with stress helps you to become better able to cope with life’s challenges. Learning to be able to tolerate the temporary discomfort of stressful situations will help us all to perform at our best, whatever “performance” means to each of us.

CONTROL
Realising that we have control over our decisions and taking full responsibility for them helps us to grow and develop as riders and as human beings. We can control what we learn from experiences and take the responsibility to apply that learning in the future. This builds and strengthens resilience.

WHICH “C” IS YOUR STRONGEST AND WHICH NEEDS SOME ATTENTION?

Stand tall and proud and you will bloom


Month: March 2021

Category : Uncategorized

I first published this in March 2020, little did I know that a year on we would still be pretty much confined to out homes! I think it’s time to revisit this and perhaps enjoy a few more moments of escapism!

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 (GOSH THAT DOES SEEM A LONG TIME AGO NOW!!) , 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.

It’s been a long time since we had a holiday! Can’t wait for the next opportunity but in the meantime I have my memories and my imagination.

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.

You may have your feet up but in your mind you can be anywhere in the world!