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.”

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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

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

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.

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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.”

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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

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.

3-16-2013 10-51-00 AM

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.


Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deborah Kitchenmaster

3-16-2013 10-51-33 AM

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!


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

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
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
By: Deb Kitchenmaster