Original Play is a gift from creation that connects all of life. It conveys the message that "You are loveable and that there is nothing to fear." Original Play promotes a sense of belonging, which is the most powerful alternative to human fear and contest behavior. Original Play is manifested by a sequenced pattern of touch, which allows you to lovingly respond to aggression and violence while maintaining self-esteem and not diminishing the esteem of the other person. O. Fred Donaldson, Ph.D., who has been studying play with children, adults and animals for nearly three decades, coined the term "Original Play."
Play is a fundamental developmental factor in the lives of humans and other species from birds to primates.
- It keeps us fit physically and mentally.
- It helps us to learn and promotes creativity.
- It fosters belonging and cooperation.
- Play allows us to develop alternatives to violence and despair.
- We learn perseverance and gain optimism through regular play.
On the other hand, play deprivation, excesses, and distortions damage healthy development. Play isn’t trivial. It shapes who we are and what we will become. Gaining knowledge of play’s deeper meaning allows us to gain greater benefit in our individual, group, and political lives.
"The play of which I am speaking isn’t naturally competitive. In fact, it is the opposite-naturally cooperative. The basis of this play is kindness and belonging. In play, one’s self-esteem is not based on the loss of others’ esteem. As a result of constant contesting adults suffer from what I call cardiosclerosis, or "hardening of the heart." Play heals this isolation and separation and helps humans deal with change and surprise without the need for either victimization or attack."
I see this applying to people and horses. I think it means that we must allow our people and horses time outside to just play and be themselves with no demands, no stress. Turnout time with other horses is vital to developing confident, athletic, happy horses! Horses raised and kept in areas large enough to run and play seem more mentally, physically and emotional fit and balanced!
For more information on Fred Donaldson and play go to www.originalplay.com