When I was a baby, I used to love to run around the pasture as fast as I could go, then launch myself in the air, kick out behind, land with a thud, then do a sliding stop into my mom’s side. It was great fun. I would play fight with my friends, rearing up and striking at each other with our little hooves as we shook our heads in mock anger. We were preparing for the day we’d have to fight for our own band of mares, but we were also just having fun.
Of course, being a domesticated fellow, I never had to fight for a band of my own. My “family” became Jane, Rhett, and Indy. I have horse friends too, but I’ve never had to compete for company or food. That’s the nice thing about being cared for by human friends.
But that playful colt is still in there. Sometimes, when I’m turned out, I run as fast as I can and launch myself in the air. It’s not as easy as it was when I was a baby, but it’s still fun. It’s exhilarating.
What fun things have you stopped doing? What could you do, today, that would put a smile on your face or rekindle the enthusiasm you had as a youngster?
I heard Jane say once, “We don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.”
I hope you’re going to go to the barn today! Your horse wants to PLAY with you!
In dog years, I’m a teenager. I’m at the prime of my life. I can run as fast as a car (well, at least a car going down the driveway), I can jump as high as a deer, I can wrestle my friend Geoffrey to the ground in three seconds or less, and I can catch a fast moving ball in mid-air.
I don’t intend to grow up. You know what? I don’t have to! I’ve heard Rhett tell Jane how much he enjoys my child-like enthusiasm in everything we do together. He says I remind him to “play full-out.”
Play isn’t just something for kids. The sense of play is what keeps you going when things get tough. It is the inspiration to keep you from stopping when you’re tired. It’s the difference between quitting and giving everything you’ve got.
It’s easy to change your mental focus from serious to playful – just remind yourself of a time when you had a whole lot of fun doing something you love to do. Remind yourself what that feels like. Own it. Feel it. Let your imagination rekindle that sense of fun and excitement! Then apply it to the thing you’re doing now.
My body may look all grown up, but my enthusiasm for life is very puppy-ish. I don’t intend to ever lose that. And I intend to remind both Rhett and Jane how to maintain that sense of play, no matter how serious the task may be. That’s a very serious job, but I do it with joy and playfulness.
Come on! Grab the ball and let’s go outside! Let’s go PLAY!