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.

12-21-2013 9-29-10 AM

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.

7-19-2013 2-15-14 PM

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!

7-19-2013 2-15-40 PM

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.”

7-19-2013 2-15-51 PM

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

6-21-2013 3-53-06 PMSince my last writing, Corral Connections has had two groups come for round pen sessions. What does that mean? What does that involve? Can I schedule a round pen session for my group?

Round pens are helpful in the process of training horses and connecting this training to the training of humans in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”

6-21-2013 3-53-17 PM

Here at Corral Connections we have a sixty foot diameter ‘John Lyons’ galvanized portable round pen, with about five inches of sand for footing. Leading a horse into the round pen and then releasing the horse without any tack on the horse, we enter an amazing classroom whereby the horse becomes a visual aid. Life lessons are reflected back to the group as a result of my connecting relationship with the horse. The group is situated in their chairs on the outside of the corral, listening and watching the session as I teach from a headset microphone.

6-21-2013 3-53-48 PMHorses view people as predators, and when placed in a round pen (corral), they will run in circles, looking for a way of escape. Some run lap after lap around me, driven by their fear, longing for dominance, fueled by resistance. No matter what motivates a horse’s flight from me, my first goal is to encourage it to slow down and trust me enough to stop running. Through subtle cues I help the horse understand that the best thing to do is stand still, turn to face me, and look at me with both eyes.

Once I’ve gained the horse’s trust and full attention, the foundation of our relationship is built on his choice to come to me. The horse must choose to walk into the center of the circle and stand with me. It’s here that the horse finds rest, peace, and love. The horse is free of any restraints and can bolt anytime it wants. But if it runs away, there will be no rest. The horse must keep moving its feet until it chooses to return. As long as the horse continues to run, it gains no freedom.

When the horse makes the choice to stop running—to come to me and stand still at my side—the healing of its predator mindset begins. It is only when it chooses to stand with me that I touch gently every part of its body with my hands. By doing so, I put all doubt about me to rest, and the horse is able to physically feel my gift of love and peace.

Will you choose to hold still and allow the One who made you to free you, to grant to you freedom from fear and performance to a connecting relationship?

6-21-2013 3-53-36 PMUsing one horse in the first group, we learned about the power of your “yes,” the power of your “no,” and the power of your “intention.” These life lessons can then be taken outside the round corral on into the corral of your life.

Three equine teachers were used in the second group to teach the difference between “observing” and “judging”; a potent key to transition from pain to peace in our arena of life.

6-21-2013 3-54-56 PMComments made from first time round pen session attendees were: “I loved how the horse responded so readily and so obediently when Deb spoke in a loving and kind manner. The experience was a new one for me, and really wonderful. To see such a large, powerful animal become so submissive is truly beautiful, and a testament to the genuine connections we can have with God’s creatures.”

“A few weeks ago, our family was privileged to attend a round pen session at Corral Connections. We watched Deb communicate and direct the horse through body motions and her eyes. She explained how, due to her relationship with the horse, he obeyed her out of the desire to follow and connect. She then paralleled it to a relationship we can have with God. How He loves us and draws us with loving-kindness, not force. I thoroughly enjoyed the thought provoking experience.”

If your group is interested in an outdoor, educational, inspirational activity, please give me a call at 256-943-1121 to schedule a round pen session or email me at link listed below.

Your “Neigh”bor,
Deborah Kitchenmaster
corralconnections@mchsi.com

6-21-2013 3-54-01 PM

5-17-2013 6-46-56 PMThe fog was so dense that school was delayed for two hours, and travel was risky for the group that was coming out for a scheduled “round pen” session. Whenever I do a round pen, I bring a horse out into the pen, (which is like a portable metal corral,) and teach a life lesson.

The fog had lifted some, but it was still hazy. The group arrived safely, came into the yard, and set up their chairs outside of the pen. I discussed some logistics with them, and then brought in a mare by the name of Annie. Annie came from a bloodline that was “hot,” i.e. somewhat nervous, and prone to much for ward motion. The mare had been ridden on trail rides, turned loose in open fields to run, run, run, and had a mind-set of run, run, run! Seeing as she was the alpha horse of her present herd, she knew how to take over in any situation.

5-17-2013 6-46-43 PMMy goal this day was to develop a relationship of respect. First I needed to give respect, then I expected and would demand respect from this strong-willed mare. My plan of action was to turn the horse loose in the round pen without any tack. I held in my hand a lasso. Annie was familiar with longeing, and knew how to go around and around in circles with a halter on and a chain over her nose. But I wanted an “inside connection.”

Using body language, I sent her to the rail. I would ask for a transition, and simply desired for her to go a different direction. Each time I requested a transition, Annie always turned her hind quarters to me when she changed direction. Thus each of us inside and outside the round pen entered into the “classroom of respect.” I explained
to the group that all I wanted her to do was face me when she changed direction.

5-17-2013 6-46-26 PMTime after time I would draw her to me, but she would choose to turn away from me, face the rail and go on from there. The entire group was engaged in the session, rooting for her to
“get it.” Annie had much potential, but to develop it a shift needed to take place inside her mind. This very change was what I was going for with everything in me!

Then it happened! She “got it,” and during the transition when she faced me for the first time, the sun broke through the haze with brilliance. Every one of us, whether we were applauding or smiling from ear to ear, stood in awe of the timing of this moment!

Months later I received a letter from one who was in this session. There had been a misunderstanding between her and one of her friends that had the potential of ending a friendship. This session gave her the tools to face her friend and be reconciled!

A whisper from a horse can change how we relate to our “NEIGH” bor!
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE
through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

5-17-2013 6-46-11 PM

4-19-2013 3-10-54 PMSpring is in the air! Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, birds are singing and the horses are shedding their winter coats. Our wheelbarrow has been filled to the brim from their coats as we groom.

Horses enjoy being groomed. A handy grooming tool is a shedding blade, and it has a dual purpose. Use the toothed edge when the horse is letting go of their winter coat. The birds will use some of this hair to line their nests. After the horse has shed its winter coat, use the smooth edge of the shedding blade to remove sweat and excess water from spraying or sponging your horse before you put your horse up from riding.

4-19-2013 3-11-17 PM

How does a horse KNOW when to release their winter coat? Light! When the days become longer, with more light than darkness, this communicates to the horse a seasonal change, and the horses begins to shed. In the fall, when the days become shorter, this triggers in the horse another seasonal change, and they will begin to grow a suitable coat for this new upcoming season.

I quote, “Nature is made to conspire with Spirit to emancipate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does emancipate mean? Some words that define “emancipate” are: liberate, set free, free, release, unshackle, unfetter, let go and untie. When simply observing a change of season in the life of horses, two life lessons stand out to me. When the horse releases their winter coat, the birds are free to use this release to build a nest that will house the hatching of eggs, growing of feathers and the development of wings. Another life lesson that nature teaches me is that Light has a voice. So does darkness.

Truly, “Nature is made to conspire with Spirit to emancipate.”

4-19-2013 3-11-27 PM

Grooming horses at Corral Connections is one of our first steps in building a relationship with a horse. We have a specific order to grooming in our barn. Our first action is to use a shedding blade or a curry comb, depending on the horse’s coat. This removes excess hair and or mud. Then we replace that tool with a stiff brush. The flicking of the wrist while using this tool lifts up dust from the horse’s hair. Next we move to a soft or finishing brush. After the horse’s body has been groomed by three specific tools, we gather up a small, soft brush and gently brush the horse’s face. There are specific strokes we use on this most delicate place. Above the eyes, inside the ears and on their muzzle are areas of gentle attention. They really enjoy you spending time with them in this way. Then we focus on the mane. At some barns the only tool used on the mane is a person’s fingers. I allow a soft brush or fingers like a comb. Standing to one side, by the flank, we reach to gather the horse’s tail in hand, and slide that hand down the tail below the tip of the tail bones, making a fist. When you brush the tail, you are putting the force of the strokes on her arm and not on the horse’s tail. Last, but not least, is using a hoof pick to clean out each hoof. This gives you a chance to observe the heel, frog, barb, white line, sole and wall of the hoof; removing mud, manure and pebbles before you tack up.

4-19-2013 3-11-46 PMHorses enjoy spending time with you, and appreciate being groomed.

Here’s some advice from a horse, written from Ilan Shamir’s pen: “Take life’s hurdles in stride; Loosen the reins: Be free spirited; Keep the burrs from under your saddle; Carry your friends when they need it; Keep stable; Gallop to greatness!”

Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster