1-16-2015 11-25-20 AMHappy New Year AthensNow “Neigh”bors!

January is a great time to do inventory while assessing the horses that are under your stewardship: observing their health, their feed (no dusty or moldy hay) and their water supply. This is also a great time to consider a plan for a particular horse. What is it that you would like to enhance with your horse (see sidebar for a few possible goals)?

1-16-2015 11-25-14 AM• More trusting relationship
• More confident trail-riding
• Stand still while mounting
• Go around the barrels faster
• Jump a little higher
• Enter and exit horse trailer more relaxed
• Harness to a buggy, wagon, or cart
• Place in the first 3 or 5 positions at a horse show
• Competition in an endurance event
• Healer/teacher for someone, even yourself
• More clarity on your personality and the horse’s “horsenality”
• Deeper level of connection with the horse

You may choose to write your plan down, or simply meditate and hold that plan inside. To bring about advancement we need a plan. Or a song! Let me explain. If the horse you are riding is moving at an undesirable pace, select a song. Set the tempo and silently sing your song inside!

I was told this once by a teenager while I was riding in an outdoor arena the evening before a horse show. The mare I was riding had a bloodline of athletic performers. She had forward motion and energetic tempo. This precious teen came up to me on her horse and asked me if I knew I could increase or slow the speed of a horse by singing a song inside.

I had NEVER heard this before but I was awed at what she was telling me. I thanked her and gave it a whirl. It worked! The song tempo inside was much slower than the leg movements of the horse at first but I continued and the mare slowed down. I am so grateful this teen used her voice and had the confidence to share this with me.

Recently, I was asked how long I have been doing this and why horses. I was a licensed foster parent and our home offered a place for respite on weekends for a child or siblings. I had two horses. I began to teach the children about horses: safety, grooming, feeding, mucking, and with permission, riding in the round pen wearing a helmet. I knew horses had brought healing to me in varied ways and now I was seeing it happen right before my eyes with the children!

I had favor with social workers, teachers, school counselors, in-home caregivers and a handful of organizations in my community. We all worked together for the wellbeing of children in need. From this, I developed Abba’s Lad Riding Camp where I would have one-day camps (usually family units or a specific group), two-day camps and three-day camps. I worked with four young people (either all girls or all boys) during the 2- or 3-day camps and our home became their bunkhouse. I extended the camps to home-schooled children, community Christian school students and, having laid a foundation, opened to community.

On one of my birthdays, my life took on a new form. I held a baby in my arms in Huntsville, AL. I was a grandmother! In time, we moved from the North to the South. A desire to be a part of this little one’s life compelled me to pack up. It is here that CORRAL CONNECTIONS was developed. I changed from doing camps to offering one-on-one sessions and group sessions. The horse/human connection here is more about grooming, hands on, and ground work. These three tend to bring definition to leadership skills, self-discovery, belief systems, and confidence, along with communication, awareness and observation.

Horses are some of the best counselors our young people will ever encounter. Teens can learn how to say all the right things during a counseling session. They’re smart. Like some horses, they want you off of their back! What I have eye-witnessed is teens come to know their horse will not let them “get by” with anything! Life changing potential!
2015 – Rearin’ to go into the lives of teens and young people with horses.

2015 – Being an eye-witness of Abba Father’s tender mercies and perfect, unfailing love to our future generation.
Your NEIGHbor, Deb Kitchenmaster

12-19-2014 11-16-49 AMWe have a new addition to our herd, a sorrel mare by the name of Speck. She’s a beauty, an introvert, and “right brain” in the horse psychology of “Horsenality.” What that simply means is an introvert is looking for leadership while an extrovert challenges leadership. A right brained horse tends to be fearful/nervous, defensive, reactive, emotional, unconfident and spooky whereas a left brained horse tends to be dominant, pushy, tolerant, unconcerned, confident, and curious. An introvert has low energy, more “whoa,” is slower and has a tendency to stop. In comparison, an extrovert has high energy, more “go,” quick and tendency to run.

12-19-2014 11-17-09 AM

I have come to understand that a “right-brain introvert” horse benefits from a handler who is patient, making choices again and again to slow down, waiting, and allowing the horse to come out of his shell at his own pace.

My new student/teacher combo is my first horse with these tendencies. It was interesting being in her presence because she didn’t seem to look at me through her eyes. It was as if she was within herself. I knew she was ‘internal’ and she felt ‘frozen’. I had hopes that by me being a leader worth following, she would thaw, and we would begin to connect in a meaningful relationship. Little did I know that her tail would be the very part of her body that would offer a significant connection between us.

12-19-2014 11-16-57 AM

About her tail; it was more like a board than a tail. There were a few strands that weren’t stuck together, but overall, her tail was one cluster of entangled, compacted, solid hardness!

12-19-2014 11-17-15 AMPreparation to untangle tail was complete. I had tail and mane conditioner, an equine gel for grooming called “Micro-Tek,” infamous baby oil, warm water, and towels. In addition, I had the tools of brushes, curry comb, fingers, a mane comb with a hook on one end, a pocket knife (every horse person needs a reliable knife), and a pair of scissors.

Plan of action to untangle tail was on the agenda for the day. Where do you start? At the end of the tail! What a mess! She was anxious, and I felt overwhelmed. After 3 huge fistfuls of massaging conditioner into her tail, it was no longer about her tail. It was about us. In the alleyway of the barn, we walked together, stopped, backed, turned, and did it over and over again. She was dull, disconnected, and borderline unconscious due to her running away inside herself. Through consistency, patience, and waiting, I offered leadership to her.

12-19-2014 11-17-22 AM

Then the “wow” moment happened! She began to release huge amounts of adrenaline through blowing, rolling her eyes where only white was visible. A shift began to take place, and she knew I was partnering rather than being a predator. These animals are amazing!

For the next two and a-half hours, we would work on the tail until a free-flowing tail was excavated from all the entanglements.

Have you ever been stuck? How about a sticky situation? These moments are somewhat uncomfortable and awkward, right? At times you simply are overwhelmed!

12-19-2014 11-17-31 AM

I would like to take a minute and untangle a Christmas tale. It’s Christmas time in the city and the country. We are aware of a baby being born in a barn years ago and then placed in a manager. His earthly parents were instructed to name him Jesus. He was born with a purpose, like we are. His purpose was to give his life and shed his blood for the forgiveness of sin. His sacrifice satisfied the wrath of God, and reconciled us with Abba Father (perfect, unfailing LOVE), making us children of the Most High God, and part of a family. Up till the time when the Word of God became flesh, and dwelt among us, we knew God as Jehovah, Yahweh, I AM, LORD. However, we never knew HIM as Abba Father! Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, brought to this earth a new name: ABBA, FATHER!

Yes, it’s Christmas! CHRIST Mirrors Abba’s Smile. Christ’s finished work on the cross has untangled you from sin, shame, and strife. His resurrected life has conditioned you to flow with righteousness, peace and joy. Swish, swish, swish! Use the Christmas “tail” to keep the flies of doubt, unbelief, and fear far away from you.
MERRY CHRISTMAS BELOVED NEIGH’bors, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

11-21-2014 6-30-09 PMThank You! Sometimes these two words may seem insufficient in expressing or showing someone gratitude and appreciation. Needless to say, I want to thank each of you for reading the HORSE WHISPERING column. Thank you for the emails you have sent to me, your statements, questions and requests. I enjoy hearing from each of you.

A BIG ‘thank you’ to our wonderful horses that have been bridges connecting me with friends, new faces, teachers, students and horse lovers!
In the summer of 2013, I made a decision to take applications for a mentoring program where I would select one person with the objective of laying a foundation of basic horsemanship that included grooming, ground work, and riding. In the spring of 2014, this individual was selected to represent Alabama in Washington, D.C., through 4-H. Working with horses is a great venue to empower young people to be the best they can be while developing leadership skills. Being with horses is a great arena to build confidence and compassion. With the completion of the ‘mentoring program,’ my focus has been redirected to horses.

11-21-2014 6-31-19 PM

Three new horses and three new friendships have trotted into my life! We are scheduled to attend a horse conference to further our education and understanding and plan on working together in getting these horses ‘safe’ for young people. We will be preparing these horses mentally and physically before connecting them with our hands-on program. One of the beauties of this goal is we humans will be entering a classroom of awareness to our emotional fitness!
Being in the presence of horses to train mentally and physically requires emotional fitness on the human’s behalf. Each of us will notice how easily or how often we may get angry, afraid, or frustrated. Then, we each decide if we want to change. I am grateful to have these new connections. This is a beautiful opportunity to increase emotional fitness during this training time.

As 2014 is nearing the end, I am remembering what I am grateful for and expressing my thankfulness! Thank you to each of you within the state and out of state that stopped in and spent some time with the horses and with me. Self-awareness was awakened in some, and they left the horse arena to be an excellent leader in the corporate arena. Thank you to the person who was challenged by their horse to stop being so rigid and be willing to be flexible. Thank you to the youths where ‘trust’ was the classroom with the horse as their teacher.

Thank you for the tears you let flow when the horse was touching every raw emotion you didn’t know you had. How you got a taste of what it was like, not to necessarily be in control of your emotions, but to make a decision that you simply don’t let your emotions be in control of you. Thank you to each of you that a horse mirrored the importance of setting boundaries, and to some of you, not only setting the boundaries, but enforcing them!

Thank you that some of you realized it was time to take your life force up a notch and make a decision to take steps away from apathy and passivity to engaging and asking questions. Some of this came from “UFFDA! What’s wrong with this horse?” The answer: “OH! I need to be present and engaging!” MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL; AM I CONNECTING AT ALL?

Thank you to each of you who experienced a ‘pause’ moment while in the presence of a horse. During the pause, you made a decision on how best to respond to the situation rather than react. Awesome life lesson!

Thank you to each of you when the horse invited you to speak and think positive about yourself rather than blaming yourself or asking, “What am I doing wrong?,” or getting frustrated with yourself because of a communication gap. How you chose to reposition yourself inside and be creative instead of blaming; connecting instead of condemning!

Thank you for each card, call, note, hug, mug, and gift; expressing meaningful time spent.
“Happy Thanksgiving”! And remember the thanks are in the giving.
Your NEGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections
www.corralconnections.com
‘A church of great heart’
256-426-7947
Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

11-21-2014 6-31-52 PM

10-17-2014 3-14-21 PMThe tears flowed as I listened to a song sung by Christina Aguilera, “Say Something.” Christina had no idea that when I was considering what to write on my informational card, I had coined the phrase “connecting with life and the power of choice through horses”.

Life is communication. Communication is relating. Relating is RELATIONSHIP. A healthy relationship is always a 2-way passage: listening/speaking, giving/receiving.
First and utmost, I considered my relationship with Abba Father. Second, I considered my relationship with humans. Thirdly, I considered my relationship with horses. When we “CONSIDER” someone or something, we position ourselves in a place where the eyes of our understanding can be opened!

10-17-2014 3-14-29 PM

Because this is HORSE WHISPRING my focus will be on the equine.
The song states “anywhere I would have followed you.” Horses are TRUE followers. True followers do two things. Want to take a guess what those two things are? (1) They follow and (2) they challenge the leader to see if the leader is worth following. Horses are skilled at outwitting their predators. It is at this point we make a choice whether we will relate as a predator or as a leader, a controller or a communicator. The song also states “swallow my pride.” Human ego is the horse’s greatest predator in domestic life.

Human/horse relationship is not rider teaching horse OR horse teaching rider, but it IS creating an environment! The environment it creates establishes emotional and physical boundaries in which human and horse can understand each other. Horse lovers desire the discipline and the ability to act as one with one’s horse. This requires open, two-way communication between horse and rider. This relationship can be obtained easily, but by no means does it come quickly. To secure a true partnering relationship and open communication with your horse, very specific tools are needed, the most important of which is time.

With his students having been dismissed for the summer, a teacher carried out his months of preparation to ride his Arabian horse from Minnesota to Wyoming to visit his brother. His biggest challenge was when he and his horse encountered a wild stallion. They came through unscathed. His most rewarding event was coming upon a campfire one evening, and the Chief extended an invitation to ‘come and be by the fire.’ He accepted. Needless to say, when his personal goal was reached, the teacher and his horse had quite a connection. True but rare story; however, the point is time spent with horse.

A mother and grown daughter wanted to do something together and spend some time with each other that would include their love and interest in horses. CORRAL CONNECTIONS welcomed them.

I received this letter. “At times I felt like crying. I don’t know why I held back my tears. I felt protected standing so close to the horse, maybe it was its shear [sic] strength next to me. He didn’t use his strength to harm me. I felt connected, maybe because of the beauty of God’s creation. I felt accepted in the moment; the horse didn’t care who I had been or where I would be going. I felt empowered. Today wasn’t just about being with the horse, but learning about the horse and how being and learning translated into lessons about relationships and boundaries. Boundaries are precious. Boundaries enrich a relationship, not suffocate it. Seriously, boundary setting & enforcing established boundaries is uncomfortable for me because I am concerned that setting boundaries will come across uncaring or rejecting! Yet I am aware that HEALTHY relationships REQUIRE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES. I have known how to build walls. That is lonely and disconnecting. My new equation in LIFE looks like this: walking in love = setting and enforcing healthy boundaries.”

And….”My experience today was very nostalgic and reminded me of riding classes I took during middle school. I enjoy learning about various things and appreciate the knowledge Deb shared with me. Although the horse I was grooming was sassy and difficult, Deb patiently explained that he was challenging me, which meant confrontation; not my greatest forte. It was a great practice in being a leader, although I didn’t quite get the horse’s full respect by the end of the day. Spending time with the horses was a great de-stressing experience, which is nice after a long work week. Thank you for the awesome day, Deb!”
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections
www.corralconnections.com
256-426-7947
Animal B.E.ST. Practitioner
corralconnections@mchsi.com

9-19-2014 2-18-05 PMAn African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” has controversy wrapped around it like bubble wrap. No! Others say, not a village – a family! An idea is that individuals and groups outside the family have an impact (for better or for worse) on a child’s wellbeing. Bill Grace writes, “it takes a village or at the very least a church of great heart to help raise a child.”

9-19-2014 2-17-58 PM

CORRAL CONNECTIONS, founded on Romans 8:15, has been established to provide opportunities to develop self-worth, self- confidence and to experience God’s love through building relationships. God did not leave us alone as orphans. He has adopted us by paying a great price for relationship with us. We are HIS sons and daughters! CORRAL CONNECTIONS will provide opportunities to develop interpersonal skills and confidence in who we are in Christ Jesus and who we are becoming as we learn how to receive God’s free gifts of grace, love, and mercy.

Students will learn about groundwork, haltering, leading, mounting & dismounting, bridling & saddling. Of course we will provide ample opportunity for grooming the horses and daily clean up chores. You will learn principles that can be applied to all areas of life through these activities.

9-19-2014 2-18-12 PM

As you develop sensitivity to the horses, you will also be more sensitive to those around you. Your awareness of varied ways of communication will become evident, and you will see how we can encourage the horses and one another through affirmation and praise.

CORRAL CONNECTIONS mission statement: “We purpose to provide an experience that will be enjoyable, memorable, inspirational and educational while building confidence, esteem and relationship.” We invite you to come and BE BUILT.

The hand of LOVE, in the form of loving grandparents, brought a precious young lad 13 years of age to be with us for nine days and experience CORRAL CONNECTIONS. Upon returning back to Minnesota with Grandpa Donny, an over-the-road truck driver, he wrote about his experience. I received his permission to share with ya’ll.

9-19-2014 2-18-22 PM

“Hey, I’m Eli and Deb is a really good person to do horses with. She has you do things that really help you build connections with the horse you are working with. There was a lot of fear in me working with 1,000 pound animals, but Deb helped me get passed [sic] that by grooming and playing trust games between me and this 1,000 pound animal! There was a lot of stuff that I did to build a relationship with these horses! I have learned MANY things to do with horses to build trust and connections! My main goal was to ride a horse since I was 9/10 years old and this amazing lady helped me do that! NOW I can truly say when I am older I will want to have horses! These animals teach you things about yourself that you didn’t know! I did an exercise on the back of my horse with the assistance of Loren and Deb that rocked me on the INSIDE! I experienced a relaxation and confidence that I had never known before! These entire amazing things Deb had me do all led up to my goal, RIDING HORSES! It was a really FUN experience! Grandpa and Grandma Watson, your love for me creates a space to grow and be rooted and grounded. THANKS! Mom and Dad, I love you! I always will. Loren and Deb “thanks” for impacting my life. Ruhammah, you are a beautiful horse! Thanks for letting me work with you and for teaching me!” ~ Eli Hauser

9-19-2014 2-18-31 PM

I quote, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” (Jimmy Johnson) Because of the extra, extra….you are reading about it!
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” Teddy Roosevelt

That’s what Grandpa Donny & Elijah James did when they stopped in Alabama. That’s what CORRAL CONNECTIONS did when they came.

Eli expressed having fear when he was in the presence of a horse. My final quote is from George Addair who said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” Eli rode a horse!
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections/www.corralconnections.com
‘A church of great heart’
256-426-7947
Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

8-15-2014 4-26-23 PMMaking one single phone call (to inquire if my friend had an extra wormer in her inventory) repositioned me into a new dimension with horses. I was invited to attend a clinic to learn about Animal B.E.S.T. Graciously receiving answers from several questions that had arisen, due to the fact I had never heard of this before, I made a quality decision to attend.
Animal Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique (Animal B.E.S.T.) is energy work, which balances the body and updates memory patterns so animals can heal. This powerful technique provides your animal with increased immunity, pain relief, behavior stability, stimulated cellular and tissue repair, and increased performance.

8-15-2014 4-26-42 PM

As an Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner, I feel for the pulse in the animal. This pulse is an energetic pulse, which may feel like a vascular pulse, but there are not necessarily any major blood vessels where you are touching. It is really an energetic pulse. Often the pulse will be a slow, rhythmic one, which may feel different in each of your hands when you first feel it. This is common and demonstrates the imbalance in the animal’s energetic pattern. By holding the pulse until it balances out the same in both of your hands, you will synchronize the animal’s pattern, an indication that interference has been removed.

8-15-2014 4-26-31 PM

There are varied responses to the Animal B.E.S.T. treatment in both distinct and subtle ways. Some obvious reactions you might observe would be muscle spasms, licking, salivating, chewing, yawning, digestive sounds, moving away from or into the point of pressure, or a noticeable change in breathing patterns. Some not-so-obvious signs would include a relaxing or lowering of the head and neck, a “dreamy” softening of the eyes, changes in facial expressions, including a relaxing of the mouth, chin or ears. Sometimes with Animal B.E.S.T., when energy is shifting, the animal may become uncomfortable and want to strike out.

8-15-2014 4-26-50 PM

I would like to share with you someone’s experience with Animal B.E.S.T. “The results that I’ve seen when my own horses have been BEST’d by Deb Kitchenmaster have truly been remarkable. Most recently my old retired quarter horse Doc has experienced some significant pain associated with founder and hip trouble. His pain was to the level that I had thoughts about having him humanely euthanized. However, I believed that as long as he continued eating his meals and greeting me every morning with a nicker, then I wouldn’t give up on him. But I felt so bad to see him in pain. The traditional pain medicines were providing him with some limited relief but I wanted more, so I turned once again to the BEST program. During Deb’s treatment I could see Doc getting more relaxed and “tuned-in.” He started to groom me (something he had never done before), as Deb was balancing out his energy flows and breaking down the blockages. As part of the BEST, Deb had him walk a small figure eight pattern a few times. With each pattern I could see that he was putting more weight on his bad foot! I was so amazed, and thankful for any bit of pain relief that she could provide. I don’t know the ‘hows’ of BEST, but I do believe in the results. Thank you Deb and the BEST Program!”

The training and the information I have shared with you in this article comes from Morter Health System, 215 W. Poplar St, Rogers, Arkansas, 72756. Telephone: 800-874-1478 or visit www.morter.com.

Thank you, Dr. Morter for touching my life that I might reach out and touch others. Thank you Julie and Greg. And last but not least, I want to thank the donkey that is seen from highway 53 in the Ardmore area. After passing my written exam and B.E.S.T.“ing” the stallion I was assigned to, my training required ten case histories on animals. While driving my Mustang convertible on Hwy 53, I was contemplating if this is what I wanted to pursue at this time in my life. In that moment of contemplation a donkey began braying and I chose “pursue.” Thank you Donkey!
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections – www.corralconnections.com
Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner – 256-426-7947
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

7-18-2014 3-02-57 PMI received a phone call asking if I would host two young women from the Women’s Institute of Psychology from Tokyo, Japan who wanted to come to the United States to learn about horses. Two years prior, this same organization had contacted me and asked if I would host a young woman from Zurich, Switzerland. I said yes to this request and was grateful to have met a very lovely young lady from the Alps.

At the time I received the request from Japan, I was on crutches. I had a horse that was extremely sensitive to bugs, flies and mosquitoes, and suffered from allergic reactions to these annoying critters! When this mare sensed a bug was present, she forgot everything and everyone in desperation to free herself from any possible contact. It was in one of those moments that one of her hooves came in contact with one of my feet, hence, the crutches.

7-18-2014 3-03-19 PM

One Japanese student had never been on the back of a horse, and spoke little English. This was her first time to the United States. The other student had experienced one hour on a horse, spoke English pretty well and this was her second trip into the United States. With crutches under each armpit and a telephone at my ear I said “Yes, I would love to have them!” Little did I know that those crutches would serve to be a potent visual aid in answering a question that surfaced from the heart of one of these students!

We started grooming, moving to ‘connecting’ in the round pen, and then went on to the corral. We utilized various obstacles to develop eye/hand coordination. Other exercises included using a hula hoop to loosen up the hips as well as mucking stalls. One student made an entry in her journal stating how surprised she was to notice that horses makes manure in same place every day, and that observation made me chuckle. Of course the most important part of thelesson was communicating and more communicating, so crucial to all successful relationships with animals, humans, or both.

7-18-2014 3-03-39 PM

It was in one of those “‘connecting/communicating” ‘moments when the question was presented to me. It went something like this: “Debbie, I attended Christian school in Japan for two years. I do not understand the Christian way. I see people not needing this Christian God unless they are unhappy, struggling or don’t know what to do. This does not make sense to me.”
“Oh, like crutches,” I thought! These young ladies were with me when I returned the crutches to the rental place just that day. I needed the crutches because I was hurt, and I couldn’t walk on my own until I healed up. With great joy I was able to communicate the difference between religion and salvation. Religion is like the crutches. Salvation is a relationship with a personal, intimate, loving God! When you have a friend like Him, you are safe communicating your failures, weaknesses, and struggles. He becomes the first person that comes to mind when you want to share something happy or something you are thrilled about! He becomes the One who will carry you when you aren’t able to walk on your own.

7-18-2014 3-03-27 PM

When these young students experienced the role of the Holy Spirit as Teacher, they closed their eyes, touched their hearts and nodded their heads. It was precious to behold, and I felt honored to have been a part of such an important lesson.
7-18-2014 3-03-51 PM

2014-06-21_15-28-16New 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.

2014-06-21_15-28-40What 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.”

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.”

2014-06-21_15-28-08

“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.”

2014-06-21_15-28-30

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

2014-06-21_15-28-52

2014-05-16_14-59-01Remember the movie, “Dances With Wolves”? The dedicated soldier mounted a horse that caught his eye, changed the deadlock between two opposing parties, his wounded leg received the medical attention it needed, and one step at a time he walked into a destiny. Most likely, that wasn’t in his mind when he mounted that beautiful horse on that most challenging day!

Little did I know on that “ordinary” day when I saddled up my horse, coins jingling in a blue jean pocket (with the purpose of buying a Crème Soda and a Zero candy bar), descending from Hocking Hill, wading through a creek, smelling the curing of freshly mowed alfalfa, I would encounter intimacy with my Creator!
“Upon A Horse’s Back!” That’s what I titled this particular writing when I asked three questions in my new, living relationship with perfect, unfailing love. (1) What is love? (2) Freedom! Can it be seen? (3) Do my questions bother You?

2014-05-16_14-58-54

“I like to get upon a horse’s back; running free in an open field. I feel security that I’ve lacked while riding upon that horse’s back. The wind blowing through my hair, my mind without a single care; loving to live and living to love, searching for answers from God above.”

2014-05-16_14-59-27“Love, O Lord, what does it really mean?” “Freedom, Lord. Can it be seen?” “Questions I have, answers I need, won’t you help me, LORD, please?”

“My love, My child, is a perfect thing. It makes hearts rejoice and voices sing. To prove to you My love is not a lie, I sent Jesus to earth and for you He did die; freeing you from all your sin, to let you live again. To live a life that’s worth the living, to live a life that’s full of giving. Love, My child, is giving all you have, even yourself, and don’t keep you on a shelf. Open your heart, let ME do what I want to do through you.”

“Freedom, My child, is becoming someone. Someone you thought you could never become. To live a life that’s free from fear. To live a life that’s very clear; having peace within your mind, joy all the time, having the control that you need, as you go about, planting My seed. Freedom, My child, is for you to RECEIVE! Open your heart, YES! In ME BELIEVE! The fruit will come, as I look at you, I’ll say, ‘Well done!’”

2014-05-16_14-59-40“Questions, My child, don’t bother me, for the answers I give will set you free! I just love it when you come and talk to ME, for I know you will be, who I created you to be! So come to ME, My child, every day. You need to take heed and continue to pray, for the day is coming ‘LO’ it’s at hand, when the trumpet will sound and come the SON OF MAN.”

After writing this, I heard a “new” song. It was a simple song, “I’ve got a feeling everything’s gonna be alright. Alright! Alright! Alright!” While outside one “ordinary” day with a couple of horses and my golden lab, Jubilee, this song came to my mind. I began singing this from my core; you know, that place where you find balance while riding. In the presence of only 4-legged friends, I began twirling around as I sang. One horse, Annie, walked away. She wanted no part of this song or dance. HOWEVER, a beautiful chestnut mare, (whose name means ‘great grace’) along with the dog, Jubilee, began twirling around! Seriously! Here I am in the midst of a horse and a dog and we are dancing! Please don’t share my ordinary day with anyone, okay? I just wanted to share this with you. What an amazing moment of worshipping our Creator, along with HIS creation! One horse chose not to participate, but another horse and a dog chose to!

2014-05-16_14-59-15

Happy, happy May days, dear reader, and if you get the chance, “I HOPE you dance!”
Your “NEIGHbor”
Deb Kitchenmaster

2014-04-18_16-06-23One of the many joys of connecting humans with horses is the unforced effortlessness of excavating treasures buried in the human’s heart. Again and again I have eye-witnessed the simplicity of this miracle that can be easily overlooked, ignored, or about which we can be unaware.

Out at the barn I met a young lady. It was but a short time in her presence that I realized she had a secret place deep inside where no one was ever invited. That was until an “equine breath” entered into her “no trespassing, barbed wire” zone! It was this unreachable part of her heart that this horse had every intention to touch!

2014-04-18_16-06-34

The baseline of this CORRAL CONNECTION is that this precious human being suffered from severe difficulties in taking ownership of her life. Made in the image of God, she was created to take responsibility for certain tasks. Check out the first book in the Bible, Genesis, chapter 1, and verse 28. Part of taking responsibility or ownership of one’s life means that one knows what her job is and what isn’t. People who take on duties that aren’t theirs will eventually build walls, shut down, or go away inside.

There are those who aren’t aware that it is okay to set boundaries in their lives due to the fact that their personal boundaries have been previously violated instead of protected, cherished, and valued. The first step here is to acknowledge that it’s alright to (1) have personal boundaries, (2) set personal boundaries, and (3) enforce personal boundaries. Bottom line: let your “yes” be YES and let your “no” be NO.

2014-04-18_16-06-42

It is the setting of our personal boundaries; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually in our lives that bring clarity in what is our responsibility and what isn’t. The action of setting personal boundaries is a great antidote for “confusion”.

Two emotions that popped up like popcorn in a microwave, were guilt and fear. These were faced and acknowledged in the corral connection of horse and human, equipping her so that when in the big arena of human to human interaction, she could transition from toxicity to health.

I enter my round pen through a gate. The gate that enters into the round pen area swings both ways. I can open towards me or away from me. The setting of boundaries always brings in the dynamic of ‘gates’ and ‘choices’. ALWAYS!

Boundaries are NOT walls! Boundaries are your personal property line between you and your neighbor. In these boundaries are gates, gates that let the goodness, safety and health in, and allow the pain, poison and toxicity to exit. OR, gates can allow pain, poison and toxicity in, and causes goodness, safety and health to exit.
Horses, round pens and gates offer a support, awakening, and invitation to humans in creating boundaries. Isn’t that amazing?

2014-04-18_16-13-45What treasure was uncovered from the heart through our CORRAL CONNECTIONS? Feelings! Please don’t put the paper down, hear me out. There are teachings that refer to feelings as ‘fleshly’ or ‘unspiritual,’ and not to be given attention or governed by’. If we are told to run, ignore, pay no attention to ‘feelings’ and we believe and judge them as ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’, we will NOT connect. Feelings come from your heart and tell you something. A feeling can tell you the state of a relationship. Feeling loved, accepted, supported, cherished and safe indicates measurements of a healthy relationship. When you feel numb, rejected, anger, shame, guilt and fear you have a problem in this relationship that needs to be addressed.

The core of the life lesson that was a ‘gift’ to this person during our CORRAL CONNECTIONS is that your feelings are your responsibility. You must willingly face them and make a decision to how you will begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to. Perhaps it will be asking yourself some questions about a particular relationship, acknowledging something in your belief system that is tripping you up and keep you from walking in the unforced rhythms of God’s grace, or an agreement that needs to be broken, or one that needs to be agreed upon.

Our ability to receive and give love is our greatest gift. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, ‘love one another even as I have loved you.’” Let’s receive His love for us and give it to those we come in contact with.
Your “NEIGH”bor,
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

2014-04-18_16-06-55 2014-04-18_16-07-03