2014-03-21_14-17-50As I write this article, I am on a plane, on my way to Colorado Springs, CO. One of our grandsons is marching in his first parade as one of the drummers in his school band. A couple of weeks ago, his older brother took first at a regional through his school’s forensics solar speech competition, and is going to Denver, CO to compete at a state level.

One grandson is all about rhythm and the other is all about communication/language, which leads me to another Horse Whispering Article.

It’s one thing to see that people are different. However, do we also understand, and are we willing to accept that horses are also? What works for one may not work for another.

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Have you met some people who enter the room with their mouth first? Oh, they are so full of high energy, talkative, making jokes and loud? Others are quiet, reserved, and need some quiet time, alone. Some people are quicker to bond than others.

So it is with horses. Some horses are right out there! “Hey! Let’s play! What’s next? Do we have to do the same ole thing again? How about something new and fresh?” By contrast, some horses get overwhelmed because we push them too fast and hard. These horses need us to slow down, be more deliberate and allow them time to process it all! Sometimes these horses can appear to be detached or uninterested, while in reality they are more introverted in nature and need time allowance. Once a human connects with this type of horse and builds a relationship, you will discover a friend that will give you their attention, and help you live a more balanced life. The key to unlock and enjoy a relationship with an introverted horse is to be gentle.

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How many times have you heard the statements, “That horse is crazy”; “That horse isn’t safe to be around”; or “You need to get rid of that horse?” Many times these statements are based on experiences, observations and opinions about a particular horse. Did anyone stop and consider the possibility that this particular horse may NOT be any of the above, but rather an extremely sensitive horse? Or do “sensitive” and “horse” not fit in the same sentence? What if the truth was that a human was in the presence of an extremely sensitive horse? Sure, there will be some challenges in the training of this horse, but if this horse is understood, a building of confidence can be achieved to the point that even a human paralyzed from the waist down could move this horse through the disciplines of walk, trot and canter. Think about it. I have met a few of these “super sensitive” horses personally, and some I have read about.

As with the grandsons, not only are we different in our personalities and learning skills, but we also are emotional. Horses are too!
Because horses are prey animals they have an inner wiring to be aware or sensitive to danger. A horse’s number one emotion is fear. However, horses can become frustrated, irritated and annoyed with humans because of peoples’ unawareness of their personality, their learning curve and their emotional state. This is what I call BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

Our relationship with our horse is “squished” when we are unaware, unwilling or uneducated in the whole horse, i.e., personality, learning curve and emotional makeup.

Some ways to deal with emotions that arise in your horse are to get him to move his feet. Whether ground work or riding, please dismount when the thought comes to you to do so, regardless of who is around. Ride forward in tiny circles until your horse slows down on his own accord, and be more patient and consistent.

Good News: Get to know your horse’s personality; answer the question “Is your horse a quick learner, or does your horse need time to process?”And when emotions arise, assess what’s up with your horse and deal with it in a network of safety for you and your horse.
Happy Spring!
Your “NEIGH”bor,
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

I am happy to announce Julia Wood as the winner of the Horse Whispering trivia that was in ATHENS NOW/ Dec 20 – Jan 2, 2014 issue. Congratulations, Julia! It was fun to receive the many responses to the equine trivia. Julia was the first to respond; answering all the questions.

2014-02-22_16-47-35HERE is what Julia wrote:
“When I went to Ms. Deb’s it was so much fun!! We sat in the barn… some sat on hay bales. Ms. Deb taught us all about horses. She told us the parts of the horse. She used a live horse so we could see the parts on him & on our picture. We wrote the names of the parts so we could remember. Then we all got to brush the horses. I learned a lot!!!

Thank you for the horse brush & book.” 🙂
Julia

Although the requirements differed, 18 young ladies, ages 5-16, who came out to CORRAL CONNECTIONS, received their horsemanship badge from having spent time hearing and learning about horses. If you are in an equine group that requires time at a horse facility, please call CORRAL CONNECTIONS at 256-426-7947 and schedule a session.

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In the Aug 17-Sept 6, 2012, edition of Athens Now, I wrote about “CONFIDENCE”. This particular HORSE WHISPERING article ended up in the hands of a horse person in Iowa. THERE in my email box I received my first connection with a NEIGHbor in Des Moines, Iowa. This ‘happened’ to be a timely article for her. Through expressions of gratitude and being encouraged she shared her horse story with me. This fall she came to the South! I asked Christine if she would share her experience with ya’ll. She was honored to do so. HERE is her story.

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“Over the course of 3 weeks my 8 year old Quarter Horse, Willie, transported this Iowa farm girl through some amazing country I’ve never seen before at the Cross Country Trail Ride at Eminence, MO, the Shawnee National Forest in South IL, and Land Between the Lakes in KY. We hauled over 1700 miles. We spent over 100 hours in the saddle in 4 states in 15 days, averaging over 6 hours/ day riding with 4 days of it in rain and 1 day in hail. And after a 20 mile trail ride from KY to TN and back, we woke up one morning in Eminence to a frosty 27 degrees.

2014-02-22_16-47-42This entire trip was full of firsts: my first encounter with a copperhead, seeing Cypress trees with knees, learning about tobacco sticks, riding into territorial ground wasps, zip lining, visiting a pawn shop, tasting liver, persimmon, wild grapes, and grits.

It’s not possible to choose just one beloved new place. The 81 million gallons a day rushing through Alley Spring in Eminence and the barn red color of that grist mill next to that multi colored clear water is unforgettable. Also the metal art was clever and “old West” shops felt homey. The Blue Hole in KY held the prettiest of hidden treasures – rocks turned blue from the process used to create Iron Ore in the area. The hues range from pale to teal, iridescent, purple, and striped. I’d love to live on the edge of the serene One Horse Gap Lake in Shawnee. Lunch at Peter’s cave, taking in the tumultuous clouds at Crow’s Knob, the waterfalls at Jackson Falls and Jackson Hole, the Tin Whistle culvert and tunnel are just a few of my favorite things.

2014-02-22_16-53-53Everywhere we went the people were wonderful: the people at tack stores helping me with saddle fitting, the staff at the various campgrounds, other riders, and non-horse people. The time spent with new fiends and growing closer to current ones was precious.”

Christine and I want to encourage you to go THERE sometime.

HERE (at this time, at this point, at this juncture) is where qualifications were met to receive a horsemanship badge because of choices, decisions and interests INSIDE individuals.

2014-02-22_16-47-14THERE was a connection with another person because I was HERE writing and horse/human sparks ignited a new friendship.
The only difference between the spellings of here and there is the letter “t”.
The “T” reminds me of the cross where Jesus cried out, “IT IS FINISHED”!
May you keep hearing and learning about how much God loves you and how precious you are to HIM.
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

1-17-2014 4-27-05 PMLast month’s Horse Whispering trivia question really generated quite a response! Thank you to all who participated, and the winner will be announced in the February column.

Eye/hand coordination is important when one is upon the back of a horse. Some ways to improve this skill while increasing your riding skills are: opening and closing gates, get- ting mail from the mailbox, or finding an object that has been hidden while playing games on horseback.

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One particular summer during horse camps, we had two cats on our ranch; an all white cat with blue eyes by the name of Gideon Charles, and?a black cat with green eyes by the name of McFly! When Gideon came to us he was a tiny, six week old kit- ten, and was as wild as wild can be. He arrived on the back of the topper on our pick up, and bounced from one corner of the truck box to the other. We put him safely in the tack room with all his necessities. Daily I would go out and sit on a hay bale and sing to him. In time, he and I, along with McFly and two German shepherd dogs would go for walks. We simply enjoyed each other’s company.

As the campers came week after week, the dogs and the cats would be right in the midst of what we were doing. At times we had a blue barrel in the center of the round pen, and we would put objects on it. This served a two-fold purpose: developing better eye/hand coordination, and teaching equine terminology.

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The cats and the dogs wanted to be included along with the horses as “teachers”, so they showed up, too. What a classroom! The cats became a part of the eye/hand/ focus/ balance round pen sessions. They were NOT objects, but rather LIVING animals. They chose to come. They chose to jump upon the barrel. They chose?to be touched. They positioned themselves willingly. Relationships between cat and horse and be- tween rider and cat and horse unfolded in this circle called a round pen.

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While there existed a place to develop, even master a skill, this paled in the face of connecting relationships. In connecting relationships there is a willingness to be present, to touch and be touched, i.e. to connect, something for which all creation was designed.

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,” quotes the book of Romans, chapter eight. What is the whole creation groaning and travailing about? Two things: for the manifestation of the sons of God, and for the glorious liberty of the children of God. I’ve seen it in the eyes of dogs, cats and horses, and I’ve heard it in the song of a bird, a loon on a lake, or a trumpeter swan flying over… ………“Sons of God, children of God, awake to righteousness!”
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections: Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

Gifts – Horse Whispering

12-21-2013 9-28-48 AM

Recently a local group known as American Heritage Girls scheduled an appointment with Corral Connections. What a lovely group of amazing learners. What was intended to be a one hour session turned into two hours as the students’ interests kept igniting the teacher and lover of horses in me!

The students came clothed with their hats, gloves, and coats. Not even a cool breezy day would interfere with this event. Each student built their own book as paper was handed out. The classroom was benches and hay bales in the twelve-foot alley way inside the barn. Horses leaned their chests against their stall guards as they enjoyed the enthusiasm and energy these students brought with them, generated by their love of horses.

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The goal was to teach storytelling, creating a take home book and provide hands on information in haltering, leading, and grooming.

A play area was set up in the round pen with 2 equine balls for gaming and fun filled laughter. The mounting block provided some needed rest for a moment. By the north entrance, a couple of hay horses with their wooden horsey heads that contained reins and a horse blanket under a saddle carried some of the younger students across plains and over all imaginable terrains.

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The equine family was discussed. The mare is called a ______. She is the mother of the foal. A boy foal is called a ______. A girl foal is called a _____. A stallion is called the ____when he is the father of the foal. A female horse ages three and under is called a _____. A female horse age three and older is called a ______. How are you doing with your answers?

We identified five different markings on a horse’s face: star, snip, blaze, stripe and bald. Can you describe each of these markings?

12-21-2013 9-28-38 AMWe covered ten equine safety rules, haltering, and grooming. Here at Corral Connections we groom in a seven step rhythm.
(1) We begin with a curry comb starting at the horses’ poll and work to his hindquarters. We do not apply this step to the horses’ legs.
(2) Repeat with a stiff brush (flick, flick, and flick with your wrists. Brush legs.
(3) Now it’s time to brush with a soft or “finisher” brush; both sides and legs. Remember to brush in girth area every time you groom your horse.
(4) Brush mane with soft brush, fingers or comb. Be careful not to pull out mane.
(5) Brush tail; remember proper stance and to hold tail below tailbone, applying pressure to your arm, not the horse’s tail.
(6) Clean the horse’s face; use a facial (soft) brush. Remember proper strokes: Above eyes, inside ears, under jaw and gently on muzzle. This is where the class on “The Parts of the Horse” comes in handy.
(7) Pick out horse’s feet using a hoof pick.

In conclusion, when measuring a horse the term “hands” is mentioned. Let’s say, “This horse is 15.1 hands.” A “Hand” equals how many inches? If a horse measures at 15.1 hands, how many inches does he measure from the ground to his withers? Again, the class on “The Parts of a Horse” comes in handy here.
Out of curiosity I looked up the word “heritage”. Words such as inheritance, birthright and bequest appeared on my computer screen. From the word bequest comes the word gift.

12-21-2013 9-29-33 AMIn honor of the American Heritage Girls, Corral Connections would like to offer a gift to you, the reader, of the Horse Whispering column. Answer the six questions about the equine family, describe the five different equine facial markings, list the Corral Connections 7 steps of grooming a horse, and answer the two questions about measuring a horse. How many inches in a “hand,” and how tall in inches would a 15.1 hand horse measure?

Email your answers to dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com. The first responder with the correct answers will receive an equine gift. Let’s have some fun!
In a few days many will be celebrating a birthday! When Mary gave birth to Jesus, the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, each of us was given a Gift, the Gift of a Savior! When we choose to believe and receive (unwrap,) we are forgiven, reconciled, redeemed; blessed beyond measure. Upon receiving these “immeasurable gifts” we become ‘gifts’ to everyone we meet; our “NEIGHbor”.
MERRY CHRISTMAS
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

11-16-2013 10-20-24 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 because 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!

11-16-2013 10-20-46 AM

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.
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.

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.

11-16-2013 10-20-33 AM

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.

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.

11-16-2013 10-21-13 AMOne 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 “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

11-16-2013 10-21-03 AM

10-19-2013 11-43-03 AMHave you heard the statement, “Anything’s for sale if the price is right!”? I want to talk to you, dear readers, about a couple of things that must NOT be for sale in the hearts of individuals.

In June, I made a decision to fill out an application to attend an informational clinic at a horse ranch in Bend, Oregon. My application was accepted and preparations were under way.

Over one hundred of us gathered together on the site of a converted nine acre cinder pit to talk about dreams of rescuing horses and humans. I represented our beautiful state of Alabama!

10-19-2013 11-43-11 AM

Out of the thirty horses present on the ranch we were introduced to seven, hearing their rescue stories, and what message each brings to the humans that connect with them in one of the three corrals on the ranch. One of the horses rescued was from Louisiana when hurricane Katrina visited us with such force. When the levees broke, the water currents carried many away. Days after, in the aftermath of this horrific storm, a horse was spotted alive, surrounded by water and debris on all sides.
Using chainsaws from their boat, men made an opening to free the horse. Upon investigation they discovered that the horse, while being swept away in the currents, found there was a solid mound of dirt underneath his front hooves. When his hind legs reached that spot, the horse shifted all his weight and anchored down; waiting for help. The message: “having done all, stand; help/hope is on its way.”

10-19-2013 11-43-45 AMI heard some amazing true stories of some remarkable horses with a will to live and live! And, there were stories of humans who have suffered some huge traumas in life being touched with hope and healing, purpose and meaning, self-esteem capsulated with dignity, value and worth, as they in turn touched these incredible animals in a Christ centered environment.

In the midst of rescuing horses, mentoring staff, and providing a safe place for all who step foot on the land, I realized that on this ranch there are two specific things that are NOT FOR SALE.

Horses cost money; youth don’t have any or much. To successfully operate this type of outreach, support comes in from willing, giving souls; grants, fund raising cook-outs, etc. You can imagine how awesome it would have been for the ranch owner to be presented with an offer of a sizeable annual contribution from someone who has followed this proven ministry outreach for years.

I’m sure I was not the only one thinking, “Wow”! How generous, how kind, how caring, right? There was just one single, tiny, little, stipulation: don’t do the “God thing.” You know, like, pray, the Bible, that whole faith thing. In tenderness of heart and a living, breathing relationship with Christ Jesus, gratitude was expressed for the generous offer extended, along with, “I can’t accept.” How come?

You see, each of the horses is prayed over. Each child, parent, youth, staff member is prayed over. Prayer is a way of life for this ranch. Why pray if you do not KNOW you are being heard? Faith is not for sale, therefore it cannot be bought! Faith works by love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Another day, another person arrives on the ranch with checkbook in hand to cover the expenses for a roof over one of the corrals. “No thank-you.” What? What is the logic behind that? The logic empowered with compassion to say “no thank you” one more time because something of more value than a roof was a stake.

10-19-2013 11-48-52 AMThe ranch’s ministry leader had an understanding of the value of rest. On rainy days they do board games, visit one-on-one, things like that. On hot days they dunk their head in a water trough prior to riding. Though serving is the lifestyle on this ranch, equally important is resting. Rest is the other thing that cannot be bought.

Well meaning people come into our lives with their agendas and wants. Know what you’re about and stay true! Surround yourself with people who know you and what your mission & vision are. Ask meaningful questions and decide to remain in faith and rest with great joy and simplicity.

Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

10-19-2013 11-43-03 AMHave you heard the statement, “Anything’s for sale if the price is right!”? I want to talk to you, dear readers, about a couple of things that must NOT be for sale in the hearts of individuals.

In June, I made a decision to fill out an application to attend an informational clinic at a horse ranch in Bend, Oregon. My application was accepted and preparations were under way.

10-19-2013 11-43-11 AM

Over one hundred of us gathered together on the site of a converted nine acre cinder pit to talk about dreams of rescuing horses and humans. I represented our beautiful state of Alabama!

10-19-2013 11-43-45 AMOut of the thirty horses present on the ranch we were introduced to seven, hearing their rescue stories, and what message each brings to the humans that connect with them in one of the three corrals on the ranch. One of the horses rescued was from Louisiana when hurricane Katrina visited us with such force. When the levees broke, the water currents carried many away. Days after, in the aftermath of this horrific storm, a horse was spotted alive, surrounded by water and debris on all sides.

Using chainsaws from their boat, men made an opening to free the horse. Upon investigation they discovered that the horse, while being swept away in the currents, found there was a solid mound of dirt underneath his front hooves. When his hind legs reached that spot, the horse shifted all his weight and anchored down; waiting for help. The message: “Having done all, stand; help/hope is on its way.”

10-19-2013 11-43-22 AMI heard some amazing true stories of some remarkable horses with a will to live and live! And, there were stories of humans who have suffered some huge traumas in life being touched with hope and healing, purpose and meaning, self-esteem capsulated with dignity, value and worth, as they in turn touched these incredible animals in a Christ centered environment.

In the midst of rescuing horses, mentoring staff, and providing a safe place for all who step foot on the land, I realized that on this ranch there are two specific things that are NOT FOR SALE. 

Horses cost money; youth don’t have any or much. To successfully operate this type of outreach, support comes in from willing, giving souls, grants, fund raising cook-outs, etc. You can imagine how awesome it would have been for the ranch owner to be presented with an offer of a sizeable annual contribution from someone who has followed this proven ministry outreach for years.

I’m sure I was not the only one thinking, “Wow!” How generous, how kind, how caring, right? There was just one single, tiny, little, stipulation: don’t do the “God thing.” You know, like, pray, the Bible, that whole faith thing. In tenderness of heart and a living, breathing relationship with Christ Jesus, gratitude was expressed for the generous offer extended, along with, “I can’t accept.” How come?

10-19-2013 11-43-56 AM

You see, each of the horses is prayed over. Each child, parent, youth, staff member is prayed over. Prayer is a way of life for this ranch. Why pray if you do not KNOW you are being heard? Faith is not for sale, therefore it cannot be bought! Faith works by love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. With checkbook in hand to cover the expenses of putting a roof over one of the corrals on this ranch, this individual was kindly told, “No thank you.” What? What is the logic behind that? Only the logic that the economy of God is different than the economy of man, and a leaky roof is better than a fettered soul.

10-19-2013 11-48-52 AMThe ranch’s ministry leader had an understanding of the value of rest. On rainy days they do board games, visit one-on-one, things like that. On hot days they dunk their head in a water trough before they ride. Though serving is the lifestyle on this ranch, equally important is resting. Rest is the other thing that cannot be bought.

Well meaning people come into our lives with their agendas and wants. Know what you’re about and stay true! Surround yourself with people who know you and what your mission and vision are. Ask meaningful questions and decide if the answers are in line with what keeps you from being bought. Then, ride on!
Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

9-20-2013 5-19-52 PMHave you ever been under the impression that you had the best interest of someone or something in mind only to discover that it wasn’t? Really, who hasn’t? That’s part of our journey of discovery and awakening.

While in Colorado Springs, CO I noticed a clever bumper sticker; “SHIFT HAPPENS.” I liked it!

I thought of Edward Lorenz, who presented a hypothesis to the New York Academy of Science in 1963. He simply stated his theory that a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air that eventually was capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Of course, he was considered crazy, he was mocked, and the conference thought his proposal was ridiculous. However, more than thirty years later, physics professors working from colleges and universities worldwide concluded that the butterfly effect was authentic, accurate, and viable. How interesting! Now known as The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions, this principal has proven to be a force enveloping more than butterfly wings. Shift Happens.

9-20-2013 5-19-43 PM

I would like to share two shifts I have had in my thinking with our horses here at Corral Connections.

The first one has to do with minerals and salt; the second with worming.

I came across a quote from a man known as Dr. Dan the Natural Vet. He says, “Did you know that most commercial salt and minerals are either ‘man made’ or some other industry’s waste product? Did you know that blocks for horses, and others for that matter, are almost useless and potentially dangerous! They just can’t get what they need, when they need it, fast enough, by trying to lick or chew from a block! When the weather changes sudden imbalances in the grass can occur. Horses must be able to get what they need when they need it! Period!”

9-20-2013 5-20-04 PMThe “shift” I made was to remove all salt and mineral blocks from our ranch. I am using Red Cal, a brand that has a prized ingredient, montmorillonite clay – a rich source of trace and other minerals. It is referred to as “living clay” because it consists of minerals that enhance the production of enzymes in all living organisms. Perhaps this “shift” (a decision to feed loose salt/minerals) could be the “single-most healthy thing you can do for your horse.”

Let’s talk about worming. All horses don’t have worms no matter what type of fear tactics you might be presented with. Now, bear with me, please.

9-20-2013 5-20-15 PMIs it possible we are over worming our horses? How do I know when to worm and what wormer to use? What if I, as a steward over horses, considered each individual horse and wormed as needed, rather than worm as programmed or scheduled? Would this “shift” benefit my horse? Is it possible to save some money and have a ‘safe’ worming awareness? Yes! It is. The “shift” is to simply check a fecal sample before you deworm. Your vet can do this. I work with a vet that is ‘natural solutions’ minded. For twelve dollars, I send fecal matter to be checked for worm count. Depending on these results/facts I decide whether to deworm or not. If there is a need to deworm, I will re-check that horse two to three weeks after deworming for effectiveness. For more information on either Red Cal or naturally timed deworming, contact me at www.corralconnections.com.

I realize that mindsets and traditions die hard. I simply hope that I have made you thirsty enough to drink from the fountain of meaning and purpose, knowing your actions have value far greater than “we’ve always done it that way.”

Pass the salt, please.
Your “Neigh”bor
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

8-16-2013 1-56-33 PMIn the ordinary days of tender care and meaningful companionship, Arianna, my chestnut, Morgan mare, grew old. People ask me, “How long does a horse live?” My response is, “Until they die.” There are variables connected with each horse and the longevity and quality of their lives.

This extraordinary horse graced my life with her presence for twenty-three years! Oh, how she taught me to get involved with life, even when life gets unbalanced.

She had been named Arianna before coming into my life. Unknown to the human, she gave this beautiful filly the name that means, “full of grace.” This mare lived up to her name. In the years we were together not one person came off of her back. She was so sensitive to each mount. If the person was unbalanced, she worked with them in a way they could learn and be safe; offering a dance card to a graceful, centered ride.

8-16-2013 1-57-04 PM

Morning chores were complete and all was well. On the agenda for the day was washing the white vinyl fence. That afternoon, Arianna walked up to the east fence and got my husband’s attention. She had access to a paddock, her stall in the barn with a fan, and pasture time. She got to choose. This was the geriatric care we offered her. My husband got my attention and I joined Arianna in the pasture at the fence. Her eyes were soft. She was peaceful. She also was dying. I asked her if she would walk with me. My intention was to go together to the barn. Slowly we walked. She carefully planted each hoof when crossing the one ditch that was before us. After crossing, she stopped. Face to face, eyes to eyes, breath to breath, I looked at her and said, “This is it, isn’t it? You’re dying.” You can see it coming, you can know some day in the back of your mind, yet, when it is right smack dab in the moment, it just seems surreal.

8-16-2013 1-57-20 PMIn that moment there was a silent equine language that flowed between us. I knew she had purposefully honored me with the deliberate choice to connect one more time. She blessed me with an intimate, tender “good bye.” I spoke some words to her and began praying. A memory surfaced in my mind. When she was in labor with her first foal she returned to me time and time again until I understood ‘that look.’ She was asking for prayer! When I said “Amen,” she walked gently from my presence and nibbled at some hay. She welcomed prayer!

Her hind right leg began to tremble and I sensed all her life force culminating together. She dropped to the ground and I dropped with her. She took her last breath.

I cried grateful, thankful, cleansing tears. Not one tear was of regret but gratitude, for this horse’s acceptance remains one of my earliest memories of belonging.

8-16-2013 1-57-38 PMArianna, full of grace, brought to me an understanding of acceptance and a freedom to love myself. Not once did she judge me or compare me to anyone or anything. She let me honestly know how I was at any given moment on my leadership and I welcomed her honesty!

Each horse had some time to come and say goodbye before her burial. She honored us, we honored them. Goodbyes make sense in the sorrow. Disappearing doesn’t.

Some people do not believe there are animals in heaven. I don’t see it that way. The book of Revelation speaks of “…heaven standing open and before me was a white horse, whose rider is faithful and true.”

8-16-2013 2-07-06 PMWhen I cross over into heaven, I will hug my dear friend one more time. I will swing upon her back if that’s okay with her.

Thank you for leaving your hoof prints on my soul, Arianna. Thank you, Abba Father, for bringing her into my life. She has helped me to see You more clearly. She has brought an awareness of Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Your “NEIGHbor,”

7-19-2013 2-15-25 PMHorses Opening People’s Eyes is one way of spelling “hope”. How do horses open people’s eyes? I honestly don’t know. I simply know that they can and they do!

In the days when we were raising German Shepherd puppies, one of the pups the children called “Beautiful,” was bitten by an older dog while at the food dish. Her eyelid was torn through by a tooth, but fortunately the pup’s eyeball was unscathed. The next day that little puppy could not see out of her eye because it was swollen shut. I was reminded that one act of compassion that Jesus did when he walked this earth, Son of God; Son of man, was to bring about recovery of sight to those who were blind. Key word “recover”. Wounds, like that of the puppy, can close our eyes and bring about blindness.

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Doing the work here at Corral Connections, I have observed time and time again the healing power of horses in opening blinded eyes. Some eyes have been opened to leadership skills within, eyes have been opened to a sense of belonging; eyes have opened to dignity, value and worth that run much deeper within than the scars. There are eyes that are more focused and deliberate because of connecting with a horse.

Is it possible that we people experience a measurement of hope when we connect with a horse? This hope brings to us a confident expectation of something good, a measurement of trust, of a wish, and optimism that anoint our eyes to see. What an act of compassion to have our blinded eyes opened, to have eyes to see the beauty within and all around us, eyes to behold the wonder of simplicity, and eyes that are softened to the hardness and harshness of people’s choices that have wounded us deeply.

“With a spark of hope, faith is ignited and love is illuminated.” Deborah Ann

I received a card from a woman who came out to Corral Connections with a group for a horse session. There was a moment, (sometimes that’s all it takes,) when she observed the connection between me and the mare I was with. In that moment, God reached in, touching her heart and opening her eyes to reconciliation. After years of therapy, hope came riding into the arena of a mother/daughter relationship, and two amazing women were restored and reconciled!

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One person with great intelligence and a scientific engineering mind shared openly and honestly about his Corral Connections experience. He said he was quite skeptical when he came out with his group for a horse session. He was amazed at the connections between a human and a 4-legged animal! He experienced such heart.

A young person experiencing horrific nightmares due to intense abuse connects with a horse for a week. Now when the nightmares come, this horse enters her dream; she swings upon the back of this horse, and the horse carries her away from the “mean people.”

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Hope. Hope. Hope. May you hear the sounds of horse’s hooves coming to you to bring you hope in any situation, whether it’s unbearable or simply uncomfortable.
Your NEIGHbor
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com