To open in an appropriate Valentine sort of a way with a line from a song: “So don't be persistent, baby, keep your distance, you know my resistance is low,” sung by Jane Russell and Hoagy Carmichael in the 1952 film Las Vegas Story.

There couldn’t be a better anthem for all of life as it is today in all sorts of ways. But distance as a concept is very relevant to many aspects of horse riding.

In the arena, while group riding, look between your horse's ears and look at the tail of the horse in front of you, if you can only see the top of the tail you are too close, but if you can see more than the bottom of the tail you are too far away, it must be just the tail in your vision.

That was the visual aid you were given by your coach to help ‘dress’ a drill ride – and some of us are old enough to remember that sort of group schooling or maybe taking part in the mass Pony Club musical rides so popular in the 1970s.

In jumping the distances between jumps depend on the size of the fences, the length of the horses’ stride and the education and balance of both horse and rider.

Distance guides for horse and ponies are so complex that our accredited professional coaches must constantly brush up on them for their assessments and to deliver jumping lessons.

There are reams of technical tables dedicated to safe jumping distances, that is why the profession of course building exists and no event should be without a qualified course builder.

In road safety, vehicles keeping a distance away from the horse is a key safety measure and main tenet of the BHS 'Dead Slow' campaign – pass wide and slow.

It’s important to understand that horses are prey animals and their usual response to danger is flight. This means that however well-trained and calm a horse normally is, they can still be unpredictable and frightened by something they perceive as a threat.

That is their instinct and means a horse’s reaction to a threat is to try to escape the situation. A horse’s range of hearing is greater than a human to higher frequencies (over 33kHz in the horse compared with under 20kHz in humans) although a horse may not be able to hear the lowest frequencies audible to humans.

Equines use their hearing for three primary functions: to detect sounds; to determine the location of the sound; and to provide sensory information that allows the horse to recognise the identity of these sources.

Horses will react to unexpected or loud noises. Therefore, it’s vital for vehicles to always pass horses slowly and with plenty of room.

Joyfully, there is something wonderful about horse riding being so naturally socially distant. For a starter you are two metres up in the air and we all know to keep a safe circumference around you and your horse.

It is simply lovely to ride with a friend. This joy is one of the best things about being a horse rider. It’s more fun, safer and more motivating to ride and explore with a friend and the horses prefer it too.

To ride side-by-side is simply bliss and intimate in an outdoorsy action way – spurring the best lifelong friendships and safe in the pandemic. So good for these strange times we find ourselves in.

That is my prescription for wellbeing as we enter spring – go riding with a friend and smile and stay safe.