I had set up the arena for an equine assisted learning activity. The props were neatly organized, and I went out to greet my students, leaving the horses alone for a few minutes. They took advantage and I came back to find them...well, watch the video.

Horses, of course, can teach us a lot about the importance of unstructured time and play. They're really good at it and they're not constantly angst-ridden that they're missing out on something else.

But our culture has gotten away from allowing unstructured time and play and I'm not talking about the necessity of it for children here. There's lots of research out there about them. I'm talking about us -- the adults. Those of us who think every minute needs to be filled. Those of us who can never say no to a request even when we're already so overburdened.

Those of us who actually get anxious if there's too much quiet.

Yet it is from this discomfort of unstructured time that we can gain so much of what we're missing.

If you need to call "doing nothing" something there's actually a term for it! Wu Wei is a Chinese term that means literally “non-doing." It's a Taoist concept referring to natural action that is free-flowing, harmonious, and spontaneous.

Many of us complain that there's not enough deep connection in our lives anymore or that we don't get to play and create and just have fun or that we never have an unexpected adventure or that spontaneity is a thing of the past.

Connection, joy, creativity, and an experience of Oneness can seemingly magically happen when we allow ourselves to sink into unstructured time unfettered by expectation and agenda.

Don't plan ahead. Just allow pockets of unstructured time in your schedule and see what comes up.

Maybe you'll just sit. Or NAP. Or take a really slow walk. Or sit in a cafe by yourself with a cup of coffee. You can't say now what you'll do then because that wouldn't be spontaneous.

This isn't time for distractions from the present, like TV or talking on the phone or scrolling through social media. This is time to experience each moment with your senses and to observe yourself and the world around you in real time. This is where we meet our true selves; this is where our horses want us to meet them too.

I can hear your protests already.

"I'm not a horse and I have things I want to accomplish."

"My to-do list keeps me sane!" (Does it really?...)

"I have people counting on me."

All of that is legitimate. For sure. I also have things I want to accomplish and things I need to accomplish and daily grind sorts of stuff that must be done.

But between paper lists, sticky notes, and phone pop up reminders, I think most of us have gotten a bit beyond "need to remember this" and more toward "slave to the grind."

I think most of us are FEELING this too... when we can take a moment to breathe.

Spending time with horses can remind us of something essential about ourselves and about this life: What really needs to get done, gets done. Eventually. And especially if we can approach our days with less agenda and more openness to spontaneous action, more horse-like, if you will. Horses don't have the sense of time that humans have. They live in kairos, while we tend more towards chronos. Kairos (the sense of time horses live in) : a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action : the opportune and decisive moment Chronos (the sense of time humans often live in) : chronological or sequential time Ideally you learn to integrate the two concepts of time, taking the best of both worlds with you through the day. If your to-do list is running the show, pause, take a second to notice your breath and feel your feet on the ground, slip into kairos and see what opportunities the world outside of your to-do list is offering you.

This is a comprehensive riding and training program combining a foundation in understanding horse management/behavior/cognition with relationship building, self awareness techniques, and horse/rider biomechanics to develop a truly harmonious partnership.

Horses and riders will develop more dynamic balance, quiet confidence, athleticism, and coordination - qualities that are beneficial to any discipline.

I also teach self-assessment; while I love supporting your progress, I want you to be able to problem solve and feel confident when you face challenges on your own as well.

Emphasis is placed on creating win-win situations, progressing at a pace comfortable for both rider AND horse, and building awareness on multiple levels including physical, mental, emotional, and energetic.

An instructional program can be stand alone or can work well as a supplement to your existing lesson program as it often brings to light dynamics at play that are not addressed by many other equine professionals.

Horse training programs are also available and owners are included in the training process to create the foundation for a sustainable and rewarding journey towards their goals.

PACKAGES: These rates apply between June 1st and August 31st. You can schedule any combination of riding, groundwork, or liberty work. 

(10) 60 min lessons $540 (10) 45 min lessons $450

Details: Lessons must be scheduled within specified dates. Packages are per rider only and cannot be shared. Unlimited additional lessons available at the prorated rate. Refunds given based on lessons taken multiplied by regular rates of $60/60 min and $50/45 min. Go HERE to contact me and get started!

​© 2016 by Stephanie Sawtelle