Horse WhisperingHave you ever had someone tell you to “relax” while placing a firm hand on your shoulder saying, “Relax, will you?” Or a mentor put their hand on your knee as you sit upon the back of a horse and say, “Take a deep breath.” What’s up with that? I believe that to enjoy and be successful in riding, the rider must be taught to relax and release tension. In this relaxation the rider puts himself in a position to bring leadership to the horse while teaching the horse how to relax and release tension.

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A simple reminder in the role of “teacher” is that one cannot teach long without going back to learning.

Let’s look at the word REIGN. This word means “a period of influence or to be in power.” The word REIN refers to a bridle with straps that connect to a bit and is held in the rider’s hands. It can mean to lead or to restrict. How interesting. A rider’s hands are powerful tools. A saying I heard at the HORSE & SOUL Tour in January was, “We are either an ambassador of yes or a minister of no to our horse.” The manner in which the rider interacts and communicates with the horse brings a response of relaxation to obtain flexibility and strength, or a restriction to balance and movement.

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A respected Native American horseman reminds us in sundry ways the importance of laying a foundation in our relationship with our horse, to keep it simple and to stick to the basics. If we will be committed to understand how the horse thinks and moves, we will build bridges that invite the horse to have a boldness to place their feet on those bridges, yet have the courage and trust to stand aside as they attempt to cross over in the relaxation of “respond” rather than “react”.

3-16-2013 10-55-55 AMRelaxation of the horse starts at the front. The jaw is the key that unlocks the body and opens the mind to accept relaxation. Since my last writing, I invited an equine dentist to come out and look at my stallion’s mouth. The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and the teeth interact OR interfere with jaw movement and when this union is “off,” it can affect the horse’s willingness to relax, flex and come forward through his back and through the bit. Seek out an equine dentist who understands how to achieve proper release to the TMJ and the tension that comes from hooks and ramps. I just met one I highly recommend. You can use my email address to contact me and I will give you this information.

Remember, RELAX. Be balanced. Don’t expect the horse to stay in balance if you are an unbalanced rider. When the horse has the strength to balance himself, the rider has no need to hold tension in the rein. The balance lies within the horse.

Do you pull on the reins when you ride? Be conscious of this the next time you ride. Count how many times you pull back on the rein for any reason. This is what mastery looks like. Awareness! Being aware of your weaknesses allows you to focus on improvement. A pulling hand positions the horse to resist. It is a fixed hand that teaches the horse to look for a way out. Use the fixed rein instead of pulling and your ride will improve.

Relax. Relax the shoulders, relax the elbows close to the body and relax the knee.

Reign on! Rein with the thumb. If your fingers are tight around the rein, the whole arm tightens, creating tension. Use your thumb.

Enjoy!

Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deborah Kitchenmaster

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Horse WhisperingThe horses here at Corral Connections send you their February loving nickers and velvety rubs from their noses.

To all you wonderful linguistic people the “correct” caption would read, “The main tale of the love of horses”. I simply can’t seem to get away from horsin’ around.

In the equine world, what do you suppose love looks like? Some of the meanings of love reflect feeling affection for, adoring, worshiping, being devoted to, caring for, finding irresistible, being keen on or being in love with. That may be connecting with another human or perhaps canine, but more than likely it will not be a success story in your human/horse connection beyond the caring/devoted factors.

Horse WhisperingWhen I consider meaningful love in relation to our connections with horses, the “L” would signify leadership that builds confidence. “O” would represent organizing your life. “V” represents the value the person will receive from their horse/human relationship. “E” lovingly leads us into the four winds of engaging, embracing, enjoyment and exploring.

LEADERSHIP: Everyone talks about it; few understand it. Most people want it; few achieve it. Ask nine people to define leadership, and you will probably receive nine different answers. Bottom line, leadership is influence. He who thinks he leads and has no one following him is only taking a walk. Leadership is the ability to obtain followers. Horses are natural followers. A natural horseperson I want to be, as my equine partner follows me. I must remember as I go, through summer suns and winter snows, I am building confidence between my equine partner and me. You can love horses without leading them, but you cannot lead horses without loving them.

Horse Whispering

ORGANIZING: Start with yourself. We cannot travel without until we first travel within. When we are foolish, we want to conquer the world. When we are wise, we want to conquer ourselves. Deal with the drama, chaos and lack of clarity in your life; in doing so you will light a spotlight for brilliant clarity. The Greek word for self-control comes from a root word meaning “to grip” or “take hold of”. This word describes people who are willing to get a grip on their lives and take control of areas that will bring them success or failure. If you can develop focus in the midst of distractions, you are in a position to put your focal cues to use in the saddle. You will wean yourself from your reliance on physical aids and learn to trust your focal form of communication by using only focus to direct your horse.

VALUE: People tend to stay motivated when they see the value of self-discovery due to partnering with their horse. People tend to stay motivated when they see the importance of developing the leader within that ushers them into the arena of life and human relationships, resulting in reconciliation and healthy boundaries. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. My grandson, Evan Michael, would come to his mommy early in the morning and tell her ‘it’s a beautiful day to wake up!’ Well said, Evan Michael! Surely it IS a beautiful day to wake up to your dignity, value and worth. Horses are great awakeners!

ENGAGING, EMBRACING, ENJOYMENT and EXPLORING: Enough said.

I hope this article has planted a few seeds of awareness and inspiration and are helpful to you as you LOVE yourself and your horse.

Remember, consistency is paramount when partnering with your horse. Without it, you will get nowhere.

Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections

Village Vet Clinic

Horse WhisperingWith any area of personal interest, there is the opportunity to engage on an adventurous journey. We move forward, stand still, come to “intersections,” choose which direction to go, and hopefully on the road to mastery, we enter into a rest in the midst of involvement and activities!

Holding a desire inside to master natural horsemanship, I welcome informative, challenging, relevant opportunities to connect with others who have the same passion. The word ‘horsemanship’ sums it up quite well: Horse – Man – Ship!

Horse WhisperingSeveral years ago, I received a postcard sent to the previous owners at my address. The invitation was to attend a horse event in the Huntsville area. I went.

This was my first connection with Pat and Linda Parelli, and their horses. I observed alert horses enjoying themselves with their human partners! Unforced! Willingly! I have been to rodeos, horseshows, county fairs and trail rides, but what I was eye witnessing in this large arena was a new thing!

I was already a homeschooling parent of two children, and decided to enroll us in a natural horsemanship homeschooling program through the Parelli approach to horse training.

Horse WhisperingOne by one, I began to connect with the Morgan horses that made up my little herd by playing seven different games with them. These games are ones that horses play with each other, and when you connect with the horse at this level, a relationship, respect and leadership begin to evolve! It’s quite amazing. Self-discovery is at the core of connecting and mastery. Horses naturally mirror that so honestly. At times, my leadership was worthy to follow, and then there were days that the horse looked at me as if to say, “Really?” “What?” Yes, horses are great at asking questions. It is such an awakening when you realize they are asking, and what they are asking!

I am thrilled to announce the HORSE and SOUL event this week-end on Saturday, January 19th, and Sunday, January 20th, at Morgan County Celebration, 67 Horse Center Road Arena, located in Decatur, Alabama. The doors open at 8 am, and the last demo will wrap up around 4:00 pm. Admission is free for military, police, firefighters, EMTs, and kids 16 and under. Parking is free. Cost is $25 at the door. Go to www.parellihorseandsoul.com for details and schedule.

Cowboy church starts at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 20th with demos following. The show finale is at 4:00 p.m.

Horse WhisperingFor those of you who do not have Internet, some of the demos on Saturday are: Seven Keys to Success, Psychology 101, Pre-Saddle Training, and Quick and Easy Fixes for Straightness. Sunday demos include Diagnosing and Solving Lead Change Challenges, Mastering Body Position, and Driving and Trailer Loading.

Hope to see you there, and may your HEART and SOUL be touched by this HORSE and SOUL event!

In the book of Genesis, it is recorded that God made man from dust, then God breathed into man’s nostrils His breath, and man became a living soul. In the original Hebrew language, the words “living soul” actually means “speaking spirit.” This is what differentiates us in the animal kingdom.

May the speaking spirit of the children of God connect with the conscious spirit of the equine, creating an awakened beauty of righteousness on this earth!

Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T. Practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

Horse WhisperingMerry Christmas ya’ll from the arena of horses! From the stable many years ago where a young woman gave birth to a little boy whom she called Jesus; to the equine that was ridden for the first time as this grown little one, now known as the Son of man, mounted upon its back and rode into the city of Jerusalem, to once and for all exchange works for grace (for by grace are you saved, through faith, not by works least anyone should boast,) choosing to give His life, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life; to the white mount that scriptures depict Him coming back on; Merry Christmas!

Merry ChristmasAnimals carry with them a form of unconditional love. Love heals. There is healing power in pets.

Recently the news reported the presence of therapy dogs for the people mourning in Newtown, CT.

Horse WhisperingStanding in the midst of five felines who had been rescued from an animal shelter, I experienced the love of God one more time. The caregiver of these beauties is healing from the same hatred that nailed the Son of God to a cross. You will not see her in church, or on a hillside tending sheep, but you will find her in the activities of a nursing home loving on the elderly as a care provider, loving her family or at home with her beloved husband and their five cats; each bringing a healing balm to her soul. I stand in awe of the LOVE OF GOD! He has no limits in touching our hearts with perfect, unfailing love!

My Christmas gift to you this year is to share a couple of stories about the horses here at Corral Connections, and the healing they purely give.

A home health care person was at our house because we had applied for an insurance policy, and this was part of the procedure. The horses were grazing out in the pasture east of the house at the far southeast corner. We had just walked out to the porch when her teenage daughter pulled onto our lengthy drive. The horses’ heads came up, from grazing, and in one accord they ran with full force to the northwest corner of the pasture by the entrance to the yard. I observed the horses move at a trot in single file as they formed a perfect figure eight pattern. She asked what they were doing. Enjoying the moment, I smiled and said, “I don’t have a clue! Someone in that car must need this.” Upon hearing these words, she shared a story about abandonment, neglect, trauma and abuse that had occurred in the two young children’s lives years ago. She adopted them. They were in the car with their older sister!

The figure eight pattern represents what is referred to as cross/crawl. As an Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner, I use this pattern more than once while working with a horse. This movement is used to reset the internal thermostat at a cellular level. When this event happened at my home on an ordinary day in my presence, Animal B.E.S.T. was unknown to me. Years later I would connect the dots through Corral Connections! The horses knew that an “internal reset” was something these children would benefit from. What a gift. What a blessing. What a Christmas NEIGH!

Horse WhisperingOnce I was grooming a horse when a man pulled up on a motorcycle. As I stepped outside the barn and was surrounded by horses on all sides, he pointed to a small herd, and asked me if I knew whose horses these were. I knew, because they were ours. This man’s brother had told him about these horses he would pass as he went to and from work. One day, out of curiosity, he rode out with his brother to see these “wonder horses!” He then told me, “Sometimes my brother would pull off the road and sit on his bike on the side road, and just watch them. At times they would come up to the fence. There was something about these horses that touched something inside of him. They were special to him.” He then said, “My brother died a few days ago, and I was wondering if we could spread his ashes near your horses.” What a request! What a Christmas NEIGH!

The next time you hear someone call a horse stupid, just smile! Then whisper…“God, bless them with an awakening!”
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy NEIGH Year!
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com
Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner

Legal Shield

Horse WhisperingThe last few months, have you noticed all the signs displayed around our community?  Signs in driveways, alongside the highways, in neighbor’s yards; positioned to be read by all who passed by.  It was effortless to know who was in favor of whom, and the positions which they represented.  And what about the signs we pass by every time we are out driving around?  The stop sign, the yield sign and the speed limit signs.  Do we pay attention?  Do we respond?

Horse WhisperingA sign that I will not forget and caused me to chuckle was posted by a huge pond and read, “NO FISHING!  DON’T EVEN ASK.”  That was quite clear.  I wonder how many people read the NO FISHING sign, and assumed that was for everyone else except them.

Signs indicate what road you are on, where you are heading, the distance and the direction in which you are going.  Have you ever seen NORTH and you really need to be going SOUTH?  This influenced you to change directions, didn’t it?  Signs have value and purpose as we journey on, but we must read them.

Whether you are starting a new relationship with your horse or you are continually building one, it is helpful to understand how you are perceived by your horse when you approach him.  Horses perceive us as predators, even if we are nice ones!  We predators approach in a direct line with our eyes focused on what we want (i.e. the horse).  Horses are amazingly ‘tuned in’ to intention.  The horse knows they are going to be caught.  A horse will run off, not allowing the person to catch him, and that is a sign.  What is that horse telling you?  The horse is telling you that he does not trust or respect you; this is valuable feedback.  Forcing the horse to be caught does not improve things.  Remember “unforced rhythms!”  The unforced approach is a key to building relationship.

Learning how to approach your horse in a way that doesn’t cause him to feel the need to leave is priceless.  You have to persuade him that you are not going to act like a predator, regardless of his response.  You make a deliberate decision to become the kind of human your horse is interested in being with.

Some days when your horse sees you he will nicker and/or come running to you.  Other days, the horse sees you, turns and walks away as if to say, “Oh no, not her again.”  Don’t take this personally! Become creative and interesting, and enjoy watching your horse change his mind!

Signs of fear and trust issues come up often when interacting with our beloved equine friends.  Is the horse afraid, or simply does not trust you?  One exercise you can do to determine the answer is to ask the horse to give you one hoof at a time while standing on one side of the horse.  Let’s say you are standing on the left side of your horse, and you ask him to give you his front left hoof.  Nice. Now reach over to his front right hoof while remaining on his left side.  Ask the horse to pick up his hoof.  Only a horse that trusts you will give you his hoof in this way.  Do the same with his hind hooves.  You have connected with a secret language that explains the ‘sign.’  Move forward from there.

I  would like to wish each of you a Blessed, Wonderful, Connecting Thanksgiving.  “Signing off” for now.
Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deborah Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com Tia Leonard Valley Pools

Big SkyA long time ago, a rider saddled up her Palomino Quarter Horse to go for a lovely, peaceful ride out in the prairie near her homestead. In preparation for her ride, she securely tied a gray Arab-mixed gelding with a long rope to a concrete block so the horse could gently graze the hillside, while she and the gelding’s friend, the Palomino, left the vicinity. Having traveled across a sizable mass of land, faint sounds were echoing to her. She and the Palomino paused, and continued to hear muffled sounds that sounded like someone hollering. Turning her horse around, she saw her son and husband waving their arms and shouting. Coming straight towards her and the Palomino at full speed was the gray gelding. He had a flying concrete block trailing behind, and it looked like a malfunctioning flying saucer repeatedly soaring in the air, and then crashing to earth!

Horse WhisperingPeople and horses are social animals, and horses simply do NOT do well when a partner is removed from their presence. The horse is more interested in partnering than digesting food! For example, the Morgan breed came into being simply because a man by the name of Justin Morgan walked from Randolph, Vermont to Springfield, Massachusetts to collect some money he had loaned to an old neighbor by the name of Farmer Beane. Justin was a singing schoolmaster, and wanted to buy a harpsichord for his singing class.

Horse WhisperingNot having the money, Farmer Beane asked, “Would you take a colt instead of cash?” After some time, a decision was made to take the larger colt by the name of Ebenezer. After all, the little colt by the name of Bub was only a pint measure, and in the Vermont hills of lumberjacking, a strong horse was desired. Leading the larger colt down the road, Justin began his 100 mile journey home. Little Bub would not have this nonsense! He jumped the fence to partner with his friend Ebenezer. Farmer Beane waved his arms and hollered, “Take both of em.”

Horse WhisperingThis little horse became the father of the American breed known as the Morgan horse. His willingness became an American legend. Justin re-named Bub “Figure.” Go figure, this runt that didn’t look like it would amount to anything could walk faster, trot faster, run faster, and pull heavier logs than any other horse in all Vermont!

Remember, when you are separating one horse from another, secure the horse in a safe place. You might save yourself some pennies on vet bills. Or perhaps start a new breed!

As the gray gelding was quickly closing the gap between himself and his Palomino friend, a solution to the danger of the flying cement block was quickly needed. “Face and position” became the strategy of the rider. She would face the potentially deadly object, and position her horse and herself to use her foot and the bottom of her stirrup to stop the cement block from touching her horse. WHAM! Mission accomplished! Now she was on the back of a runaway horse! Losing centeredness from the jolt of the impact and the response of the horse, she knew she was coming off. As the ground was getting closer and closer to her body, a thought occurred, ‘relax.’ She chose to relax, and draping over the side of the horse, she was able to get in sync with the rhythm of her horse. In doing so, she was able to recover, re-center and bring her horse safely to a halt. No injuries accept a swollen ankle on the human.

The moral of the story is this: humans need to understand the horse. In doing so, there will be less “haunting stories” between horses and humans!

By: Deb Kitchenmaster

Dobbs Shoe Shop

UNITY ~ Horse Whispering

Fall is in the air! I so enjoy this season, with its cooler temps, earthen smells, and varied colors. Great time to saddle up a horse and travel by a riverbed amidst the trees and wild turkeys, vultures, foxes, honeybees, and Canadian geese. All of these I encountered on a recent outing. Later, I found myself relaxing by a campfire under the stars, sipping a fresh cup of coffee with a shot of real half and half, and listening with friends to stories that warm the heart and soul. One word comes to mind, and that is “UNITY”.

What is unity? Unity is an agreement, accord and unison that presents us with a dance card of closeness, friendship, peace and solidarity. Some people refer to being on a horse as riding. Riding refers to travel, a journey, to be carried, a trip or an outing. Unity refers to a willing communication between horse and human; a dance that requires focus, balance and rhythm. An acronym for Unity could be Understanding, Noticing, Insightful information, Timing, Yourself/Your horse.

Three of our grandsons came this summer and spent a week with us. One afternoon, there were four horses out in pasture and four of us to bring each into their stalls. The boys dropped me off at the gate while they went to get halters. As I was bringing my mare into the barn, I looked over my shoulder to see eleven-year-old Evan walking out in the pasture with his rope halter, and lead rope draped over his shoulder. I wondered if Evan ‘remembered’ how to put the halter on. I thought, “Interesting!” Coming from the barn, I saw something that is tattooed on the fabric of my memory forever. It was Evan walking across the pasture with his halter still draped over his shoulder with his horse walking right beside him, and her head dropped at the level of his right shoulder. UNITY! WILLINGNESS! COMMUNICATION between human and horse!

I waited at the gate. Evan said, “Mamaw, I didn’t remember how to put the halter on, so I told my horse I needed her to just come with me to the barn, and she did!” It was the position of the horse with the human that makes this story so beautiful. One of the most important things to understand with your connection with your horse is that this is an individual process. It has to come right out of the inside of the individual. Real learning has to come from within oneself. This is what I mean by “IN- sightful” information.

The opposite of Unity is disagreement or discord. There will be moments where there aren’t shared aims or a team spirit between you and your horse. It is in these moments one needs to remember that sometimes going slow is the quickest way to get back into agreement. When you learn to wait and enter into an awareness of timing, you may observe frustration and fear within yourself or your horse being replaced by knowledge and trust. Confusion becomes confidence, and discord becomes harmony. Focus on the picture of what “could be.”

This fall of 2012, may you enjoy the goodness of unity between you and your horse as you accept, recognize and appreciate the uniqueness in you and your horse!
Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE
through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

“CONFIDENCE”…what is it? Can confidence be misplaced? If so, can we get it back?

Have you enjoyed watching the Olympics? What event (s) did you show most interest in? I certainly found myself quite excited by many events! Holding my breath at times then yelling “YES” when the finish line was crossed. Listening to reporters, I became aware of a repeated word and that word was ‘confidence.’ Some athletes had some injury or an event that shook their confidence, and it was important to get it back in order to accomplish the possibility of winning a medal.

What is confidence? One definition is simply, “standing up on the inside.” I like that. Another definition is “internal security.” When you look into the Hebrew language you discover the word “trust” directly connected with the English word “confidence.”
Whether considering your own journey or being around a horse, confidence must come from within. One can show another a piano, the keys on the keyboard and the bench in which to sit and instruct with some basics, however, the music comes from within, doesn’t it? Likewise, one can present a person with a horse, instruct safety and savvy to the point that the individual gets upon the horse’s back , yet riding comes from within. The focus, the balance, the rhythm come from within the person and the horse. What a dance when there is that unity and oneness with horse and rider! What beauty! What ‘awe!’

As a water tower, a water line, and a hydrant are sources for water, let’s look at some sources for confidence. Understanding, knowing, remembering are single sources of confidence, and when braided together create a leader worth following and a follower worth leading.

No one single animal has contributed more to the spread of civilization than a horse. Think about it. There were great distances between peoples and societies prior to the domestication of horses. Horses have served humanity in travel, most certainly in war, in agriculture, in rehabilitation and in recreation.

UNDERSTAND: Understand yourself. Understand your horse. Take the time to lay a foundation with your horse that you can build upon. You don’t get your identity from a horse, but it is important to identify with your horse. That simply means that you see and discover how to be with your horse in a safe, connected way. You appreciate yourself and your horse and you have value for yourself and your horse. One of the many things I love about Native American people is the honor, value and respect they have for the land and for nature.

KNOWING: Know what your intention is in being with your horse. Do you just want to hang out and just sit in their presence, studying their behavior and/or their position in the herd? Do you want to groom? Go on a trail ride? Get ready for a performance? Develop some trait in yourself or your horse? Be deliberate. Be expressive. Come up with a meaningful plan. Have a sense of direction for you and your horse, knowing when to move forward and when to stop. Have fun and enjoy yourself and your horse.

REMEMBER: Keep in mind what has worked and what needs to be worked on within yourself and with your horse. Retain information from books, videos, clinics, and friends that you have spent time with in considering yourself and your horse. Learn by heart consistent cues. The keyword here is ‘consistent.’

Yes, confidence can be misplaced; usually because of a measurement of some fear or disappointment, or a perceived set-back. With support from savvy friends and other horse people, you can recover and so can your horse. Confidence is a two-way street.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward, Hebrews 10:35.

Is it possible that one of those rewards to holding onto confidence (or getting it back if it got away from you) would be in being taught how to ride into new directions to awaken and discover your own freedom and power on the back of a horse!

Your NEIGHbor,
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE
through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

Earlier in July, when we were experiencing record breaking heat, I was in frequent contact with my daughter who lives in Colorado Springs. She kept me informed regarding the fires in that area that devoured thousands of acres, consumed structures, and took lives. People’s lives were challenged by heart wrenching choices, re-arranged because of the fire’s presence, and left with the reality of the environment that now surrounds them.

With any and all fires, three elements are present: fuel, something that will burn, oxygen, the environment that supports the fire, and heat, the ignition source. Firefighters unite together to remove first one, and then all of these elements.

In our connecting moments with horses, sometimes our relationships can become heated, ignited, or out of control. Let’s identify possible “equine fires” and how to extinguish them desirably, back at the starting point.

The three elements I will be discussing are: your relationship with your horse, your role with your horse, and your intention with your horse.
Understanding our relationship with the horse is crucial. We are the predator or the hunter, and they are the hunted. Inside themselves they know this about us; we need to do the same. What is the definition of “predator?” Here are three: 1. Carnivorous animal or destructive organism – a carnivorous animal that hunts, kills, and eats other animals in order to survive, or any other organism that behaves in a similar manner 2. Somebody who plunders or destroys – a person, group, company, or state that steals from others or destroys others for gain 3. Ruthlessly aggressive person – an aggressive, determined, or persistent person. Don’t get discouraged. We have the power of choice. We can connect in meaningful ways with our equine friends simply by choosing not to react, respond, or relate to them as a predator. Are you going to do this perfectly every time? NO! You will not, but what you will do is become more conscious of your anger, illusions, sorrow and fears, to mention a few. This, my NEIGHbor, is worth the connection!

We most definitely need to understand our role with the horse. Horses are true followers! Followers do two things. They follow the leader and they challenge the leader to determine if that leader is worth following. YOU are the leader! There is a HUGE difference between being a predator and being a leader! This is worth meditating on and receiving clarity. True leadership is not about controlling, it’s about connecting. “Being in control” actually is an illusion! Again, there is a difference between the illusions of “being in control” and the fruit of the Spirit of self-control. This fruit comes by being connected, rooted and grounded in LOVE, which is God.

Thirdly, let us talk about our intention with the horse. Horses are sentient in nature. What does that mean? They are conscious, alert, attentive, awake and responsive. In order to survive, they have to be sensitive to emotional energy and the intention behind it. Consider horses in the wild, for example. They may graze peacefully with a lion in the vicinity because they know he has recently eaten and is not hungry, yet, the herd scatters long before a predatory animal comes near, because they are aware a carnivore is on the hunt looking for food for its empty stomach. Horses are in tune to intention! Being the mirrors they are, if you are not clear with your intention, aim, intent, plan, objective or meaning, your equine friend will reflect that back to you. And one more time, you stand in the position of “choice!” Choose well, it’s worth the connection.

In your relationship with the Great Shepherd, you are a follower. He will lead you into green pastures, beside still waters, and restore your soul. Guess what? Goodness and mercy will follow YOU! In your relationship with your horse, be a leader worth following.
Your NEIGHbor ~ Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com

Masako? Who? Some of you may ask, “Where in the hee-haw does this woman get these names?” This Morgan chestnut mare is the 7th (last but not least) equine teacherthat I referred to in ATHENS NOW, dated Sept. 16 – Oct. 6, 2011.

In 2002, it was on my heart to breed sire Big Sky to mare Arianna. This foal was to bear the name meaning “justice”. At the time of the breeding I had no idea we would be packing up and leaving our community of twenty years and heading south.

When I inquired about names that meant ‘justice’, the feminine Japanese name “Masako” showed up. Of course, I had no idea of the gender. See Horse Whispering Column in ATHENS NOW, July 22 – Aug 4, 2011.

As the foal that was to bear the name “justice” was being “formed,” I found myself packing, sorting, getting rid of stuff, simply put, smack dab in the midst of changes, choices and compassion!

Were our horsey days over? Logically, it would simplify our lives if we were to sell the horses. After all, bringing them would require us to look for something much more than an apartment or house. Each time we inquired of the LORD, there was no peace whatsoever in NOT bringing them with. I will say that when God is in “it,” He will provide. Psalm 5:12 became an anchor to my soul and my testimony, “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous: with favor you will surround him as with a shield.”

Our move to the south included transporting one stallion, one bred mare, two open mares and a gelding. This column does not provide the space needed to tell you story after story of God’s faithfulness, provision and connections. For someone who prefers to have things in “order,” this move released me from a dimension of a comfort zone to a, “be still and KNOW that I AM God” zone! Did I do this ‘perfectly’? No, I didn’t. However, each time I fell down, I chose to get back up. I hadn’t walked like this before to this degree! It was a walk of faith that would birth in me an identity of faith righteousness. I will explain in a minute.

On June 15, 2003, wearing a cap and gown, I walked across a platform receiving a minister of theology degree. After that celebration I threw on some blue jeans and headed out to the horses. Driving down the drive I saw a chestnut filly, with a white blaze and three white socks standing beside her momma. MASAKO! “Justice” was born on graduation day! To me, Masako’s mission statement simply is, “I exist to remind you of peace and a sound mind.” Interestingly, the word justice does NOT appear in the New Testament. Did you know that?

I was surprised when I discovered this. The words “just,” “justification,” “ justified” are there, but you will not find the word “justice” in the New Testament. What you will find in the New Testament because of Jesus’ obedience and because “IT IS FINISHED”, is the word “righteousness”. The meaning of the words justice and righteousness are interchangeable!

I am grateful for equine teacher, Masako! Because of Jesus’ obedience, justice has come to each of us. Because of our faith in HIM and his obedience, we have become the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.

Your righteousness is of the Lord. Jesus did not come to condemn you, but to save you through His rich mercy, grace and love. You can rest in that. Masako to you my “NEIGH”bor.
Deb Kitchenmaster
Corral Connections:
Connecting with LIFE through a horse
Animal B.E.S.T practitioner
dkitchenmaster@mchsi.com