Thinking outside the Box

One of the earliest dates I remember with my then husband to be, was supper at Est Est Est in Liverpool. Still very much getting to know each other, he set me a challenge by drawing 9 dots in a square on the paper tablecloth. He handed me the pen and said join up all the dots without going over any twice. So I did! He was pretty impressed and probably assumed that I was some smart lady that could think laterally. How wrong he was. I had simply seen it done before, and remembered! I knew that I had to get outside of that box to find the solution.

To “think outside the box” we need to keep an open mind and be receptive to doing things differently.

To “think outside the box” we need to understand the nature of the box that bounds our current thinking.

To do this we too will need a pencil and paper

  • Please take an A4 piece of paper
  • Fold it in half, then re-open it
  • Above the crease draw a large square
  • Below the crease draw a similar large square
  • Inside the first square write “ The Box = The Field”
  • Inside the second square draw a smaller square about  1cm from the edge

Define the Box = the Field

  • The Box/Field has boundaries
  • We put Horses in boxes with boundaries i.e. Field/Stable
  • We respond without thinking, because it has always been that way
  • We are stuck in our conventional way of thinking, We are stuck in the Box and our Horses are stuck in the Field/Stable
  • It is safe in this comfort zone or is it?
  • The truth is that the grass in this field puts our horse(s) at high risk of colic/laminitis

Just because it has always been that way, doesn’t mean it has to always be that way. The horse world is changing around us as people become more interested in the welfare of the horse, connecting with him/her, work at liberty, barefoot and bit less riding etc.

What inhibits our ability to change?

  1. Black and White thinking
  2. Following rules
  3. Fear of failure/perfectionism
  4. Stress
  5. Negative attitude

Now let us go to the second Box/Field that we have” reframed”


Define this Box/Field – we can reclaim it

  • We could make hay from the grass of the now smaller  Box/Field
  • Use it to work our horses depending on our discipline
  • A “play area” that we will allow our horses into for 20 minutes play time each day

To” think outside the box” is to seek an alternative, often unconventional solution that would be considered beyond the norm

  • The horses have moved outside the box and onto the never ending “tracks”  that surround it
  • Now there are no boundaries for our horses and no boundaries to our creativity

In its most simplistic form this is Jaime Jackson’s  Paddock Paradise” It is he who did the “thinking outside the box’ because he knew there had to be a better way for our horses well being both physically and mentally. Below is a plan of our interpretation of his book “Paddock Paradise” and our home JaxTrax.



Reflect over this

Ask Questions

Don’t jump to hasty conclusions

Give your imagination free rein

Look at horse management in a different way