• Elaine Sanders

Things Did NOT Go as Planned

Things did not go as I hoped.

It was a beautiful, sunny, warm, spring day and I had high hopes for the afternoon with my horses.

I was aiming to saddle up for some riding. I didn’t have a huge ride in my imagination; the mix of mud and ice was keeping my hopes small.

But as I started playing with Kali, I could tell that my plan for the day was different than her plan for the day. As far as her plan went, it was standing in the sun, her dark coat soaking up the heat.

She was just not into it.

I was faced with two choices. I could get the halter and make the ride a priority. Or I could roll with it and see what happens. I chose the latter.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Just because things don’t go as planned, doesn’t mean that they don’t turn out well!

I didn’t really have anywhere I needed to be, or anything I needed to do with Kali. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, after all. Instead of going out for a ride, we played at liberty in the pasture. It was possibly more fun than the ride would’ve been!

2. Go with the flow.

If partnership is what I’m after - and for me this is what it’s all about - then I have to recognize that as my equal partners, my horses have a say in how they want to spend their sunny afternoon. Being with horses, as in any relationship, we have to roll with it and go with the flow of one another.

3. Find the lesson.

I firmly believe that horses teach us what we’re ready to learn. They don’t always give us what we want, but they always give us what we need. And this encounter that didn’t go as I hoped was there to teach me to find some calm. I’d been pushing hard for weeks with hardly any downtime. And here comes Kali, asking me to take it easy, spend some time with nothing more important to do than to soak in the sun.

4. Something can come from nothing.

Because Kali stalled out somewhere in the sun, I got the chance to spend some time with Pecan who was laying down on the grass. I pulled up a waterproof tarp to sit with her as she used my lap as her pillow. This precious moment would never have happened if I was out on a ride.

5. Define success.

Because my attempts to woo Kali out of the pasture at liberty were unsuccessful and she clearly showed me that her preference was to sleep, I felt like a failure. My hopes were dashed and my inner drama lama was convinced that she didn’t love me anymore.

But when I took a look at my goal to be calm, connected, respectful, in relationship, and in flow (your goals might be different, which is just fine), then my day was a huge success! My goals are not to just go for rides - I could’ve just grabbed the halter and made that happen if I really wanted to - my goals are connection. And that is exactly how I spent that beautiful, warm, sunny, spring day.

The next time your horse says, “No, thank you,” to your plan, ask yourself:

  • What are my goals and priorities with my horse?

  • How can I go with the flow right now?

  • What lesson is this horse trying to teach me right now?

  • What else can we do together?

  • What does it mean to have a ‘successful’ day with your horse?

As someone who puts relationship first, I know how frustrating it can be when your horse doesn’t want to do what you want to do, and you’re stuck feeling disappointed. Learn how to move from disappointed to at ease with Equine Relationship Coaching.

Here’s to You and Your Horse!


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