11-6-2015 10-44-21 AMNoticing change is a good part of being an excellent learner. How is your “noticer” working these days? When an individual makes a commitment to simply “notice,” their world begins to flow with life, simply be- cause of the awareness of change. It may be the smallest of changes, yet when one notices, a wave of encouragement and gratitude flows in place of dismay. When we fail to “notice,” we can become discouraged because we are not aware of any change, and think that nothing is changing or even working!

Notice the two words in the word NOTICE……not…. ice. Ice does not flow, does it? Oh, a chunk of it may float, but floating isn’t flowing.

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To be empowered is to allow change, self-discovery without guilt or shame, and encouragement (to name a few,) to flow into your life. This empowerment comes into our lives every time we spend time with a horse. Why? Horses either whisper or shout to us to NOTICE something about them, us, or our environment.

Horses are good at training us. They let us know that we had better not canter “or else,” or stay away from that mounting block. Or, “I don’t do plastic containers without going crazy.” They cause us to either choose to avoid or to develop leadership. After all, the world of horses is all based on dominance, and who is number one.

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As I engage with people and horses I am meeting for the first time, the communication usually is based on their interpretations, some of which are accurate, and some of which simply are not.
As a mentor, I purpose to help individuals understand horses. When we understand, our interpretation shifts, and we have another notch on our belt called experience. If a horse acts in a certain manner and I don’t know how to interpret the actions of the horse, this will cause me concern and even fear. When this happens, create space between you and your horse. Ask someone who has horse sense, not someone who is highly opinionated. Get clarity.

You are experimenting with your horse just as much as your horse is with you. You may be wondering, “I wonder what my horse will do when I purpose to close the gate while I’m on his back?” The horse, who is skilled at outwitting his predators, asks the same question. “Hum. I wonder what the human would do if I _____?” The more you understand the horse, the more your interpretation will be accurate.

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Corral Connections has begun a mentoring program. How exciting! The learner is engaged in NOTICING.

The learner is becoming aware of body language, presence and intentions. The learner is seeing horses as horses, not humans or dogs. The learner is taking in approach and withdrawing. The learner is observing how horses and humans communicate. The learner perceives things about himself, the world of horses, and how to develop strategies. The learner is discerning and detecting himself, the horse, and the environment in each session.

One of my objectives as a mentor is to safely invite the learner outside his or her comfort zone. This is the very place where learning to notice happens; however, not “too” far outside the comfort zone. An equally important objective is for human AND horse to experience the building of confidence! One session at time, one “notice” at a time, one interpretation at a time and one experience at a time, the foundational blocks in which confidence is built are put in place. This creates a foundation on which to build a relationship.
Wishing all of you wonderful readers of ATHENS NOW a delightful Thanksgiving, and if you happen to choose turkey for your meal with one of those little button deals stuck in the breast, you may want to notice if it’s all the way out before you start carving!
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections: Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner

11-6-2015 10-45-00 AM

10-17-2015 10-14-23 AM“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another grandchild! A granddaughter! Miss Emma is here! We are grateful and rejoicing.

This October writing, in celebration of Emma, is about our young/little people in our lives. If Emma expresses an interest in horses, I will be there for her. These are some of things I would instruct her in as she hangs out with horses.

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The Latin name for horse is Equus. This name comes from the word “equine,” which mean something to do with a horse. The Greek names for horse is Hippos: “hippocampus,” the sea horse; “hippopotamus,” the river horse, and also “hippophile,” the lover of horses. Signs of a “hippophile” would be someone who dreams about horses, wishes for a horse, has fun simply watching horses, wants to make friends with horses, enjoys petting horses, and is seen hugging horses from time to time, and identifies with an ache to ride a horse!

The horse’s body can be divided into three parts: the forehand, the barrel, and the hindquarters. The left side is called the near side and the right side the off side. A horse’s height is measured from the ground to the highest point of its backbone, “withers.” All horses are measured in hands; one hand equals four inches. Any horse measuring fourteen hands, two inches, or less is known as a pony.

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The eyes of a horse are large, bright and set far apart. The horse has to turn its head in order to see behind him. The ears of the horse can move separately, forward and backward. The ears of a horse can reveal the horse’s state of mind. When both ears are forward-the horse is cheerful, interested and alert. When the ears move backward and forward-the horse is alert and listening for your voice. When both ears go back, watch out! The horse is displeased. This is like your frown. When the ears go back, try to find the reason for the horse’s anger or irritation. Be careful around the horse’s teeth and heels when the ears are pinned back!

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The horse’s foot is called a hoof. All domestic horses need the attention of a good farrier between every five to eight weeks. The farrier trims the new growth off of each hoof. It is not painful, since the outside of the hoof has no more feeling than your fingernail.

A horse uses its tail in the summertime to keep its body brushed free of flies. When a horse is feeling lively and frisky they carry their tail high (flagged).

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Horses like to be patted and talked to. The best place is on the horse’s neck or shoulder. Pat is different than “slap.” Put your heart in your hand and touch the horse. If you are touching your horse on its head, keep your hand below the eyes.

10-17-2015 10-15-18 AMWhen you approach your horse, come to the front where the horse can easily see you. Speak to your horse in a gentle, reassuring voice. Running towards a horse, shouting loudly, is not a good idea. If you need to approach your horse from the rear, use your voice to let your horse know that you are coming. Otherwise, the horse, in its own defense, might kick first and then turn its head to look.

Little people (bigger people also) like to give treats like peppermints, carrots, or apples, but don’t give treats to a horse that has a bit in its mouth. It’s difficult for the horse to chew. Wait until the work is done to reward your horse. When you give a horse a treat, place the “goodie” on the flat of your palm with fingers extended. If your fingers are curled, the horse might accidently nip your fingertips.

Horses have sensitive or ticklish spots just like people. Horses cannot say “stop it,” so they nip or kick to show their annoyance. Be careful around those “ticklish” spots when grooming or saddling.

That’s where I would start with someone who hasn’t been around horses but wants to.
“Leadership is automatically transferred to those who remain optimistic.”-Mark Virkler.
I would model that, not just quote it.
“Future generation,” we are here for you!
Your “NEIGH”bor,
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

9-18-2015 4-21-09 PMThis beautiful September, I want to talk to you about how horses touch our souls. First of all, let’s talk about the soul. Our soul is different than our spirit. Our soul and our heart are the exact same thing. Some people say “pop” and others say “soda.” Language is different, yet communicating the same. So it is with heart and soul.

Our soul contains seven timings. I call these timings because they are not pieces (we are not fragmented) or departments, but a rhythmic timing that resembles flow. These timings are: understanding, consciousness, judging, imagination, mind, memory and will. The will is referred to as the feet of our soul. One of the beauties of horses with people who are struggling with PTS (post traumatic stress) is the horse’s ability to soothe memory.

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Some horses are described as left brain extrovert, and they get bored easily. If you are connecting with a left brain extrovert horse, your imagination will be ignited, or you will have a bored horse in your presence who acts out. Since horses are prey animals, they are great at outwitting their predators (that would be us). All seven timings of the soul are involved to bring forth human leadership worth following to your horse.

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I have watched horses casually transform people’s perceptions/understanding about themselves without a human facilitator present. One example would be the girl who had no interest in riding, but simply wanted to spend her session alone grooming her horse. I was near if any questions came up. Her trust level had been shredded, and her horse was a safe shelter for her to experience restoration of her soul. Her horse would not break confidentiality. She was safe to express her vexed soul.

Another person had experienced the loss of a loved one and found it extremely difficult to talk about. Because horses are followers, she needed to bring forth leadership through communication. Showing up for horse sessions opened new lines of communication for her, and she became conscious of the special moments she had shared with her loved one, and that which seemed bad and wrong transmuted into peace and goodness.

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I mentioned about the flow between the seven timings of our soul. Because horses are so aware of energy, I wonder if horses are aware of blockage in that human’s energy field. I say that because they seem to pick up everything from a broken heart to a car accident to a traumatic experience that is being carried around in a person’s soul or body. I watch these horses, in their own unique way, connect with that human’s energy field and bring a space for awareness, healing, and an invitation to move forward. They remove blockage.

Sometimes we have judged ourselves harshly. Horses are great at ignoring ego. A person gets frustrated because the horse isn’t doing what is being asked, and the person wonders what they are doing wrong. Great opportunity to understand that it’s not about right or wrong, but are we getting the results we were going for? Are we giving mixed messages or unclear communication? Is our energetic field suggesting or leading? Big difference! Through awareness we make an inner shift from asking “What am I doing wrong?” to “How can I connect?” We judge, but not the horse or ourselves. We judge the situation, the results, the communication, the solution.

King David in the Bible referred to his soul as his “darling.” He would ask his soul, “Why are you cast down?” He would encourage his soul to “Rejoice in the Lord,” to trust God, even asked that his soul would be restored, and that the joy of his salvation would return to him.

I am grateful for the connections in the corral. The more we awake to the fact that we are the righteousness of God in Christ, and that we are righteous apart from our works, the more we are empowered to live a life that brings glory to God. Is it any wonder that the King of all kings is coming back on a white horse? I think not!
My hope is that this horse and soul article will empower you to love your soul. And if you need the support of a horse, give me a call.
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9-18-2015 4-22-04 PM

Defining Moments

8-23-2015 1-00-19 PMCan you recall a moment in your life that brought a significant awareness, an inside shift, or a sense of direction? Or maybe a moment when you experienced confidence, peace of mind, or a sense of well being that was empowering rather than performing? Those are defining moments.

Within the past thirty days, I have had re-connections with four different individuals that have had a session with me and one of our horses here at CORRAL CONNECTIONS. Of the four, I had asked one of them if they would be willing to share their experience. As a pleasant surprise, the others came to me without my having to request. Each of these re-connects was a defining moment for me and I am grateful. These re-connects have refreshed my memory of what and why I do what I do.

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First of all, it’s not about riding; yet we ride. It’s not about session upon session, and you need to keep coming. One of my top priorities for someone who has scheduled a session at CORRAL CONNECTIONS is to experience a defining moment and go live your life. Out of the four people that I referred to earlier, three of them had only ONE session. Please allow me to share some of their defining moments.

I received a message on my Facebook account from a CORRAL CONNECTIONS person who had recently graduated from University in Canada, and was coming to Huntsville. Could we connect and could she see the horses was the request. I had met this young gal when she was eleven/twelve years old, living in Huntsville, and enjoyed time with her and our horses. When we got together, she shared with me these defining moments: (+) though I was young and you were an adult, you didn’t talk down to me or make me feel insignificant (+) I remember you telling me that when I was with horse Annie, my leadership needed to exceed her own or there was a possibility she would not listen to me; that I needed to “up” my leadership (I “remembered” this in college and applied this defining moment more than once as a student) (+) I remember coming out to the barn and reading on the white board “a new barn rule:” NOT ALLOWED IN DEB’S BARN (the spoken phrase) “I KNOW THAT” by the end of that session we were laughing so hard because I had caught myself several times. I had no idea how frequently I said those words. It was a defense for me that was rooted in a belief system held in place by shame. My identity was “in knowing” not “being”.

8-23-2015 1-00-49 PMTwo brothers from Ohio came to Alabama to spend some time with their grandfather and grandmother. The two boys came out for a session. A few weeks ago, they were watching a horse event on television that triggered a memory of the session here. I received a phone call. (+) though it’s been three years I “remember” that “enriching” moment with the horses (+) enjoyed connecting with the horses (+)became aware of how comfortable I was with horses (+) how the horse looked to me for leadership and trusted me was amazing (+) grooming the horse was one of my favorites (+)when we return to Alabama can we come again?

It had been four years since I have been in the presence of this businesswoman from St. Louis, MO. She remembered her one session and shared in an email ‘my defining moment with Deb Kitchenmaster and (horse) Ruhammah was leadership training, grief counseling, spiritual guidance and balance training cleverly disguised as a horse session! (+) I was surprised when Deb escorted me into the barn and expected me to choose my horse partner for the session (+) I was instructed to take on the energy of a leader and believe, when I did the horse let out a big sigh “he can relax now because a leader has arrived” (+) breathing exercise was a great exercise all by itself (my focus changed) (+) Deb was called to bring forth another level of leadership in me. Years later I am still amazed by all that was accomplished in the Round Pen (+) I sobbed, letting go of grief and limitations (+) I was humbled by the patience and honor of my horse partner (+) I saw the mutual respect between Deb and her horses (+) four days after my horse session I had the opportunity to jump out of an airplane and I DID!

Thank you Thea, Miles, Markus and Carrie for re-connecting! It blesses me to know that your moment was noteworthy, significant and essential to your journey.
Your “Neigh”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

8-23-2015 1-00-39 PM

7-17-2015 1-34-41 PMJourney: an act of traveling from one place to another; a long and often difficult process of personal change and development.

Yes, a journey is a process. If we go on a journey and do not change, we become a nomad or a wanderer. If we change without going on a journey, we become an actor or an actress, that has been handed a script on the stage of life. We simply resemble a chameleon. However, if we choose the journey, and we experience change, our reality is transformation, or a shift. We get our wings!
When the journey is about you and your horse, wing #1 is to get a connection with your horse, and wing #2 is to ask the question “What does my horse need?”

I just returned from a twenty-four-hundred mile trip, which had a focus, a purpose, and resulted in several meaningful connections. However, along the way I had to deal with some detours, adverse weather conditions, and road construction. Many choices were made during my travels, and timing was a major part of the experience. It was worthwhile to be adaptable and flexible, and remain “in the moment.”

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As we journey with our horse, we come to realize that pressure motivates the horse, but it is the release of pressure that teaches the horse. You become aware of your horse’s mental and emotional state as you journey “in the moment.” You focus on getting the mental connection with your horse, because this connection gets him in a learning frame of mind. It also helps him to avoid becoming emotional. It is in this learning frame of mind that confidence is built in your horse.

7-17-2015 1-35-00 PMHave you considered your emotional fitness and the emotional fitness of your horse? When I took my training as an Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner, I came to know that a high percentage of horses “integrate” at Level One. “Integration” is the place where all the energy of the horse synchronizes into a healthy, focused place, and can be easily experienced by the rider. The healthy rider, in turn, is able to readily “become one” with the horse. However, there are horses that need Level Two, which is dealing with an emotional dynamic, in order to integrate well. An example of an emotional dynamic for a horse could be associated with the herd, environment, feed, pasture, water, human(s), training or tack, etc. Our horses actually are interested in increasing their emotional fitness and they invite us to journey in becoming more emotionally fit ourselves.

Having relationships with other “horse people” is important. It is with these “NEIGHbors” you can ask questions, as well as share your thoughts and feelings. In these human connections, because of your horse connection, you get involved in the process as much as you choose.

7-17-2015 1-35-10 PMWe all get stuck from time to time. Interestingly, when we do get stuck, we seem to go backwards rather than forward. Each of us was designed to move (to journey), and change (transform).
Don’t be afraid to admit that there may be a place or two where you are not moving forward in your connection with your horse. Go to work on the places in your life where you are stuck, so you can get unstuck and move forward. Enjoy the shift(s).

In March of 2015, I wrote an article entitled, “H.E.L.P.” This is the key that changes the chain that has us stuck to the chain that pulls us out of our rut. We ALL need help from time to time! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out someone that knows something you don’t, otherwise, you’ll remain stuck, and may even become more discouraged or frustrated. Receiving meaningful help will allow you to make progress with your horse until you get stuck again, and you find yourself asking for help again.

Being conscious and being present in the moment provide such fuel for you and your horse as you journey. For it is in the “being” that you become aware. In awareness, a space to take the time to consider opens up. It is in the “considering” that the Scripture says “the eyes of your understanding are opened.” Once you “understand”, you will be compelled to do something. And when “doing” happens as a result of “being”, rather than “being” happening out of “doing”, you are on an amazing journey!
All of creation invites you to:
Your “NEIGHbor”
Deb Kitchenmaster

6-18-2015 4-24-10 PMNew faces, new names, new friendships, and new connections are happening at Corral Connections.

In each session, I purpose to create a pathway for each individual that will be exciting to follow in the arena of connecting with horses and humans. An elder can teach ‘proper’ manners, such as saying ‘thank you’, but gratitude comes from within the heart of the person. Someone can provide a piano for a student and teach timing and notes and keys, however, the music comes from within. An individual can mount a horse and be instructed on certain techniques, but the riding comes from within. Within each person is a leader, and through the horsepower of ‘common sense’, I desire to excavate, awaken (that can be alarming), and improve leadership, with the hopes that ‘corral connectors’ will think beyond themselves. Why? Because when you think beyond yourself, you enter into the zone of “considering.” That, dear reader, is a mega amount of horsepower! When we consider someone or something, we ‘soften’ inside, and connect with the power to understand the person or the situation.

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What a learning process! It’s like a spiral. You go over the same steps again and again, each time at a different level, with new perspectives and insights. This type of spiraling is not regression. Each spiral represents growth.

Common sense is about being consistent, sound, reasonable, valid and rational. Being consistent in training, whether horses or humans, is one of the most effective tools used. We have to be effective to be understood. We have to be understood to be effective. If you were drawing a symbol of these past two statements, it could easily be one of a horse and rider.
Common sense reveals the difference between aggressive and assertive. Common sense encourages you to be as gentle as you can and to be as firm as you need to be with your horse or a human. How to be gentle without being timid is another spiral in the learning process. Common sense shows you what it looks like to be firm without being mean or mad.

Isn’t the learning process amazing! Even though our classroom is held outside in an arena of different sizes and shapes, and our teachers have four legs instead of two, we are learning! A precious equine student blessed me with a mug that reads, “In teaching others we teach ourselves.”

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Two sisters from Arizona came to visit their Grandparents in Tennessee. They chose to come to Corral Connections, and I am so glad they did! I received emails regarding what their first time experience was like for them. I would like to share some of their comments with you.

“My experience was ‘sooooooo’ amazing! I NEVER thought I could trust a horse as much as that. The horses were very well trained and so beautiful If you are scared of horses, then Mrs. Deb is the “Horse Whisperer” that you can trust to get out of that fear.”

6-18-2015 4-24-43 PM“My experience at your farm and horse ranch was so amazing. I actually got to connect with my favorite animal…….horses. I got to walk and trot on bareback. It was the most awesome experience I have ever had with horses. Horses are like humans, they need water and food. They also need respect and honor too. They need to be treated fairly too. Just like people do. Horses are beautiful on the outside and on the inside. I learned you can’t expect the horses to do everything so fast. We learned how to get them to trust us and how to get their permission to ride. We learned how to groom and brush them properly I will never forget how amazing this day was.”

What common denominator word shows up in these two quotes? The word “trust.” Whew! You see, “trust” is a major building block for a healthy identity. Learning to trust begins in infancy, and is the foundation for the toddler to learn about autonomy (independence) versus shame (inadequacy).
Thank you, Michaela and Chelsea!
Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

5-15-2015 3-25-51 PM“Grandma, I’m on student council at my school, (age 7; first grade,) and we are planning a dance for our grandparents. Will you come and dance with me?” How precious! With the kindness of amazing people in my life and the effortless re-scheduling that took place, Southwest wings flew me from Nashville, TN, to Denver, CO, simply to dance.
And dance we did- one solid hour of dancing! We danced the chicken dance, YMCA, slow dance (Grandson Aren made it easy to follow), Hokey Pokey, even the Macarena. What fun we had!
I want to thank Madison Elementary School, of Colorado Springs, CO, for the dance of knowledge and relationship. What a joy to see the elders and the youngsters being with each other, laughing, dancing and sweating.

5-15-2015 3-26-09 PMThe horses in our lives ask us the same question: “Want to come and dance?” The four beat of the walk or gallop. The two beat of a trot. The three beat of the canter. Let’s dance!
Aren enjoys being Spiderman. He enjoys dressing up by wearing a suit. Whether he’s Spiderman or in a suit, he remains ‘Aren.’ Whether you ride English, Western, or bareback, your horse remains an energy field of rhythm. To connect with this rhythm in an unforced way, it takes knowledge, experience, showing up, sensitivity, timing, balance, and focus to enjoy a beautiful dance. The satisfaction of unity, oneness and harmony is rewarding to us as we interact with the horses and human beings in our lives. There will remain place and space for trouble-shooting, for re-considering, for understanding, but this is worth the effort and priority, because life is so much more enjoyable when we partner! When we connect, whether in a corral, a classroom, or in a community, we build, make progress, and go forward.

In the environment of clipping, washing, sanding, polishing, grooming, and blanketing horses for the Morgan/Open Horse Show, I heard nine words inside me that have changed me from the inside out. “I need you to help me build My Kingdom.” I was aware of the words from the Bible, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….” However, my non-verbal response simply was “I don’t have a clue what that means.”

5-15-2015 3-26-20 PMIn that moment, I became aware that I was understood even in my clueless state, and that instruction was coming. That’s exactly what happened. Shortly afterward, I received an invitation to attend a conference in Missouri. “Building the Kingdom of God,” was the theme. The eyes of my understanding were opened to see that this building of the Kingdom of God comes through HEALTHY relationships.
Now we have a little problem. It’s solvable, but requires change. It’s rewarding, but requires honoring, considering and listening. Our mindset of horses as animals that need to know who the boss is reflects a different relational possibility than a mindset that sees a horse as an animal that needs to know who the leader of the herd is. See the difference? The human arena involves mindsets in relation to marriage, family, education, medicine and the spiritual, to mention a few.

The key word is HEALTHY. Speaking from my own arena of life, I have eye-witnessed how hurting people hurt people. Hurts can come inside a family unit, in the streets, in schools, in churches, in small interest groups, and in your own neighborhoods. Do you dance when you’re hurt? No, you sit this one out, because you’re bruised, sore, lame, broken, or limping. These are not dancing feet.
How many horses have suffered because they didn’t perform like we needed them to? Didn’t run fast enough? Didn’t run the barrels with record-breaking time? Didn’t cross the water out on the trails and caused us to be embarrassed? Wouldn’t load in the horse trailer, and our leadership was questioned by those watching?

This month of May, I am hoping that as you go forth in community and in corral settings, that a question will unfold in your own heart: “Will you come and dance with me?”
I hope you have fun. And I hope you will dance!
5-15-2015 3-26-45 PM

4-17-2015 10-03-43 AMRemember the times when you have a song in your head that just keeps playing over and over? I am having one of those moments as I sit here at my computer. The song was written by Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman and is called “The Great Adventure.” Like many songs, I remember certain lines or the chorus but not necessarily the entire song.

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The first four words are ‘Saddle up your horses’. Nice. Sounds like a plan (a more likely plan when the spring showers let up). The song continues with:

“Started out this morning in the usual way. Chasing thoughts inside my head of all I had to do today. Another time around the circle, try to make it better than the last. I opened up the Bible and I read about me. Said, I’d been a prisoner and God’s grace had set me free. And somewhere between the pages, it hit me like a lightning bolt. I saw a big frontier in front of me and I heard somebody say, ‘Let’s go!’ Saddle up your horses; we’ve got a trail to blaze. Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace. Let’s follow the leader into the glorious unknown. This is a life like no other. This is the great adventure. Come on; get ready for the ride of your life. Gonna leave long faced religion in a cloud of dust behind. And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored. This is what we were created for. Saddle up your horses; we’ve got a trail to blaze. Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace. We’ll travel over, over mountains so high. We’ll go through valleys below. Still, through it all, we’ll find that this is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see. The love of God will take us far; beyond my wildest dreams. Saddle up your horses. Come on, get ready to ride. Let’s follow our Leader into the glorious unknown. This is a life like no other. This is the great adventure.”

As people were setting up their chairs outside the round pen to experience a group session at Abba’s Lad Riding Camp, “The Great Adventure” song would be playing until it was time to begin. Today, Corral Connections exists to provide a ninety-minute one-on-one session or a 2-hour group round pen session, where the horse is the visual aid and teacher. I am the communicator between horse and humans. One of my intentions is to build confidence in others while they are learning.

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Growth occurs outside our comfort zone, and it is rarely comfortable or convenient. Inside, tender spots can become quite an adventure for us in this growth, exposing a mountain or a valley that is defined by our “reactive” self. The glorious unknown is to move beyond reactive to “responsive.” Reactive hinders relationship(s) while responsive builds. Another glorious unknown is when we simply “show up” and observe/listen for in the showing up, being present, and listening, we simply learn without trying to learn!

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When learning happens in this way, it is you who are aware of your results. You step out of fear and shame into the blazing trail of taking responsibility for your choices. Graciously, beyond your wildest dreams, you seek ways to improve your strategies in an unforced rhythm. It is you who sees the purpose of the lesson and feel responsible for your own contribution. Wouldn’t it be beyond amazing to “discover” a whole new horizon on what it means to be responsible? That word can be saddled to “blame.” What if that word responsible was instead saddled to liberty, joy, grace and confidence? Now that could be the ride of your life!

I want to thank Christine and her Beloved Willie for sharing some photos with me on their adventures. For fun, can you identify Colorado, Wyoming, Illinois (One Horse Gap Lake) and North Carolina (Triple Falls)?
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

4-17-2015 10-04-20 AM

3-20-2015 10-56-11 AMYippee-Yi-Aye! Spring is here! I don’t know about you, but for some reason this winter has seemed like a long one to me. The unearthing of a yellow lily and purple hyacinth has brought me amazing encouragement.

The word “HELP” keeps coming to mind, along with the question, “How do horses help humans?” Horses evoke processes within humans. Leadership processes to be exact, since they are true followers. The word “evoke” means “to call to mind, suggest, remind or to stir up.” Thus, Horses Evoke Leadership Processes.

How many times have you heard or said, “I’m processing that?” Simply, you have come up with a procedure, course, and some method, course of action or development. Each of us desires to achieve a positive outcome in the process (like a flower after winter). The beauty of increased hope, confidence, and a calm/focused relationship between horse and human are a few reflections of this process.

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I remember coming up with a plan of action to help a young grandson learn his alphabet. There was quite a lot of resistance on his part due to an attitude of “It’s just so hard!” Out in the barn, I hid index cards that had one letter written on each one. “A-Z” and “a-z” cards were placed throughout six box stalls, a grain room, a tack room, a wash rack, alleyway and two tie-stalls. Each time Evan identified the requested letter, I clipped a clothespin to his tee. The fun outweighed the hindering mind-set. The clothespins were counted, and a trip to Toys-r-Us scheduled. Evan, now almost fourteen years old, remembers that moment. He said, “Mamaw makes learning fun!” And this, dear NEIGHbor, is what we want to have with our horses; a relationship that makes it fun for the horse AND you to learn.

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Questions are asked during the learning stage, and horses are constantly asking questions, too! How they react tells us what answers they are getting. We call this “mirroring.”
There is no such thing as a “hard mouth” horse. There are horses with dull minds, however, who are shut down to survive. If horses are handled “unconsciously” for a period of time, they become dull. We want to keep our horses asking questions, not becoming less and less sensitive. We keep our horses sensitive when we practice relational leadership skills such as focus, feel and timing.
Horses benefit when time and space are provided to relax, play, and chill with their friends. So it is with humans! In fact, horses prefer fun above food!
When a leader chooses to be particular and progressive without being critical with their horse, something organic occurs. It begins with a bond that transcends into being focused, and then is expressed through playfulness. It develops into a calm confidence. Be interesting to be around. Be fun to be with.

Horses help people in so many ways. Self-discovery, honesty, truth-telling, confidence, focus, communication, and being a leader worth following are a few priceless life skills that these wonderful, effective, followers offer us if we choose to show up.

Horses are helping countless people who have physical challenges. One chiropractor stated that his goal was to be as effective in his practice as an equine. Horses are helping people with post-traumatic stress come into calm and out of anxiety. Horses are helping people behind bars understand the difference between being assertive vs. being aggressive, and being responsive vs. being reactive. Horses help people in managerial positions to trust vs. micromanage. Horses help people of all ages learn how to be responsible, vs. blaming everything and anyone for the quality of their lives. And so important, horses help people understand that life flows when we live connected vs. living disconnected! Truly, horses help people practice life skills.
Psalm 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help.” Thank you God for help!

Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

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2-20-2015 1-29-57 PMWhat “bundle up” days we are having here in the Valley! Layers are welcomed. Having lived in Minnesota for twenty years I understand cold, layers, and fields of white. Here in the South, we experience a season where the white fields are white with cotton. In the North we experience a season (sometimes longer than not) where the white fields are white with snow. Isn’t it interesting that the field of cotton can be woven into something that protects you from the field of snow?

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So, what is a conspiracy? Simply, it’s a plot, scheme or plan. Last month I wrote about the importance of having a plan for your horse, yourself, and your connections as we enter into a new year. The dimensional quality of the root word, “conspire” is like a 2-edged sword, meaning, yours can be an experience of “working together” OR “working against.” What you are experiencing is mirroring your relationship, whether it is with a horse or a human. The hope is to bring a unity. To join, fuse, and bond together. Connect.

Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Nature’s Conspiracy” is a connection with your true self to liberate you, to set you free, to release you, to free you, to untie you, to unshackle you, to unfetter you, and to let you go from what has you on a leash.

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In the book of Job, (35:11) we see that God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom. What about the invitation to look at an ant? Being instructed to watch the ant closely, letting it teach you a thing or two. (Proverbs 6:6)

One of the beasts is the horse. Horses are wonderful teachers in the classroom of life, self-discovery and how much you are loved perfectly and unfailingly by your Heavenly Father. What makes them such great teachers and revealers? Their intuitive nature and their ability to evoke emotion in humans are their credentials. Horses mirror an illumination without glare our struggles without judgment. Horses are skilled at revealing “pieces of trauma that our unconscious mind hides.”

A woman called and scheduled some sessions at CORRAL CONNECTIONS. On our third session, I noticed the mare she was leading was walking as if her left hip was out. Being an Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner, I knew the horse was not “off.” After a few moments and “the look” from the mare, I realized I was present in an illuminating, revealing moment for the handler. The horse having done its part, illuminating /revealing, it was time for me to do my part, ask questions. I simply asked her to talk to me about her left side. A memory of a car accident surfaced from her unconscious mind. Though surgery had been successful and there was no visible evidence, her body was carrying some related trauma. The horse revealed this trauma and she was set free! That’s one snapshot of what it looks like to work together! Nature’s Conspiracy!

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One more snapshot from Nature’s Conspiracy album. On an ordinary day, a woman was coming out to talk about insurance. Her teenage daughter had driven her to the house with an understanding of a designated time to come back. Having completed the task, three of us were visiting on the porch when her teenager turned onto our lengthy driveway. We witnessed five of our horses who were grazing in the southeast corner of our pasture in front of our house raise their heads and come running to the northwest corner where pasture and yard connects single file. As they approached the corner, their gallop slowed to a trot, and they remained in their single file positions and formed a perfect figure-eight pattern. The insurance rep asked me, “What are they doing?” My response, “I don’t have a clue.” In that moment I realized I was present in an illuminating, without glare revelation. I said, “Someone in that car must need this.” This statement evoked questions and revealed a story. I discovered that two abandoned children had been rescued by law enforcement in the Huntsville area (we were not living in the area when it came out in the news). Long story short, she had adopted those two children. They were in the car!

The figure-eight pattern is the pattern used in Animal B.E.S.T. protocol. It is to re-establish a normal neurological configuration for cross crawl, resetting internal thermostat. The horses were revealing “pieces of trauma” one more time and bringing healing.

It has been said the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person. I agree!
Enjoying God’s Science Classroom,
Your “NEIGHbor,”
Deb Kitchenmaster