The horse in the field.

The horse in the field – A metaphor about the past not equaling the future.

There was an old farmer who kept a horse in a field. It was a working farm but it wasn’t a working horse, the farmer had kept the horse for a long time for his children and grandchildren to ride. Now the horse was old and, this is the sad part of the story, as old horses do, he died.

Although the farmer didn’t need another horse, he thought it would be nice to get another horse. But he couldn’t get an old horse so he got a young colt. The young colt was not like the old horse; the old horse would spend all of his days in the middle of the field, this was not like the young colt.

So the first day whilst the farmer was working on the farm the young horse pushed against the fence, the fence gave way and the horse got out. The farmer had to stop his work, push the horse back in the field and push back the fence. This happened again two, three, four times and the farmer got angry and frustrated.

So on day two he got up very early, he went to the barn and got a single strand of wire and ran the wire around the fence and connected it to a car battery. The horse awoke and pushed against the fence as he had done before – Zap! The horse jolted back, but after a few moments pushed again with more force, ZAP! He tried it again three more times, he had to learn. Shocked and defeated he gave up for the rest of the day and just stood by the dangerous fence.

On day three he tried to push the fence again as it may have just been what happens on one day… Zap! He tried two times more and gave up and just stood by the fence. On the fourth day he remembered not to push against the fence but whilst looking over he got too close to the fence and Zap! He now learnt that even touching the fence would cause pain, so he stood a little distance away from the fence just in case.

On the fifth day he walked round and round the field next to the fence and with the carelessness of a young colt he brushed against the fence and Zap! He moved away from the fence.

On the sixth day he cautiously walked around the centre of the field, by the seventh day he just stood in the centre of the field… just like the old horse. This pleased the farmer.

A year went by, the farmer received his electricity bill (and we know about farmers and their money), he scanned through the bill and saw he’d been spending a lot more money. “Aaaaaaah” he thought to himself, “it’s because I’ve been charging that car battery”. So he continued thinking to himself… ”Hmmm… If I stop charging the battery the horse won’t know,” so he stopped the charging and the horse… didn’t know.

A few months went by and the pigs started to escape. The farmer knew what to do – he took the wire and the battery from the horse’s fence and wrapped it around the pig enclosure… He smiled, and in seven days, the pigs had learnt too. And the horse stayed in the middle of the field.

Another few months went by and the big storms came, (you know the sort – those storms that blow down fences and blow over wheelie bins) the storm blew over one whole side of the horse’s fence. The farmer went to repair it the next day but stopped. There was his horse, despite no fence – just standing in the middle of the field, so the farmer put his tools down and let the fence lay broken.

Another few months went by and now the cows needed re-fencing, so, to save money, the farmer took down the remainder of the young colt’s fence and enclosed the cows. The horse stood in the middle of the field.

With no barriers, no fences, no boundaries whatsoever, the young colt stood still in the middle of the field. The farmer smiled.


A few months later an old travelling circus passed down the lane adjacent to the field in which the horse stood. You know the kind of travelling circus – the type with many brightly coloured caravans and horses of all sizes. And our young horse strode out of his field and joined this circus.

Several years later he sired a colt of his own.

What are our fences….what are our limiting beliefs … so old that we even forgot they were there?

Published by The Sage Page


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