• Elaine Sanders

Spontaneous and Fun??

I get a short message emailed to me daily. Just a little one-liner, something to think about or try. The other day, the message suggested that I let go of my schedule and try something spontaneous and fun with someone I love.

“Ok. I can give that a shot,” I thought.

Be spontaneous, they said.

It’ll be fun, they said.

Well. Apparently spontaneous and fun are foreign concepts to me because I think I did it wrong…

Because when I went out to the horses to exercise my “spontaneous and fun” muscle, I found out I was more than a bit weak and clueless in the area. Of course, my 20/20 hindsight only informed me of this once the whole thing was over.

I started out by creating a plan to head out with Shilo bareback through some new trails that we cut on the property.

And I resolved that we were going to have fun, dammit.

You are probably a few steps ahead of me already and can see what I did to murder all chances of spontaneity and fun.

It’s not that it ended as a complete disaster. No one got hurt (except my pride). She didn’t run off or anything. It just was jerky, disconnected, and well…un-fun.

If you’re trying to be more spontaneous and fun with your horse, don’t do it like me. Here’s 5 things I learned about being spontaneous and fun.

  1. You can’t plan on being spontaneous. It’s not that “plan” and “spontaneous” never co-exist. You can create a spontaneous plan. You can spontaneously change a plan. You can be spontaneous within a plan. But you can’t plan to be spontaneous. My personal example: I planned to do something different, something spontaneous…and I stuck to that plan. I wanted to ride bareback through the new trail. Period. I was inflexible. I was rigid, sticking to my plan to be spontaneous. What I should have done (thank you hindsight) was to create a plan to ride through the new trail bareback and then resolved to be spontaneous within that plan. If she hesitated somewhere or felt uncomfortable, I should have embraced the spontaneity right there and then and rolled with it.

  2. You can’t force fun. Ok, duh. The “fun” thing is a work in progress for me and I’m still new to the whole idea. But apparently it’s not fun if it’s forced. “Have fun, dammit!” does not inspire much fun. But “What can we do together that we both enjoy?” is much more fun.

  3. Don’t throw preparation out the window. Spontaneous does NOT mean unprepared. I skipped my usual preparation steps before hopping on Shilo and doing something spontaneous. It’s great if you’re going to do something spontaneous. But you have to make sure all your ducks are in a row first. Sit with your horse first. Get in tune with them. Do a little bit of relationship warm-up exercises before just winging it. Ooo, maybe you can even be spontaneous in your warm-up exercises.

  4. There are two of you. Just because you want to do something spontaneous and fun, doesn’t necessarily mean that your horse is up for the same idea. Test out your idea with your horse. Make sure that they like your spontaneous plan. If not, now it’s time to be spontaneous and roll with what your horse is requesting. Meet your horse where he’s at and take him where you both want to go.

  5. Spontaneous is an inside game. Being spontaneous and having fun is much more of an attitude than something to do. Instead of looking for something “new” to do together, maintain a spontaneous spirit as you light-heartedly play with your horse, roll with what the day brings, find joy in the little moments together, and above all, laugh at yourself just a little bit!

Here’s to You and Your Horse!

With heart,


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