By: Deb Kitchenmaster

How are you getting along these days, neighbor? Keeping your distance? Washing your hands frequently? Covering the mouth and nose when out in public? In the midst of all that, remember to laugh often and find humor. That’s important. A merry heart does well like a medicine. So, this son calls his dad up on the phone and tells him that something about his sister is bothering him. The dad inquires about what’s bothering him. The son tells him it’s the name Paris. “Why did you name my sister Paris?” His dad answered, “Oh! That’s simple. You see, when your mom and I were in Paris, that’s when your sister was conceived.” LOL. That makes total sense. The son thanks his dad and his dad says, “No problem, Quarantine.”

Let’s talk about ‘training.’ Our own training paralleled with that of horse training. Our personal training -- beyond diet, workouts, lifting weights, treadmills, and aerobic classes -- is our personal training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Righteousness simply means uprightness and right standing with God. (FINISHED work of JESUS on the cross). Every ordinary day we are in training in righteousness by the exact same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Resurrection LIFE is training us in righteousness, breathing His breath of Grace upon us, empowering us to ENJOY an environment free from condemnation, blame, shame, and accusation. Sound like heaven? It is! Thy Kingdom COME, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Only by the power of grace can we live FREE from condemnation, blame, fear, shame and accusation. One day at a time, neighbor, one day at a time! Let’s look at training a horse. What is your objective? If your focus is upon anything but ‘relationship,’ you have placed the cart in front of the horse. With tongue in cheek, ‘good luck with that.’ When relationship is the objective, the focus, you are more concerned about the relationship between you and your horse rather than immediate, hoped-for results. It’s important to remember ‘a horse is a horse’ not a human. That simple phrase is a reminder to reposition from training a horse within a human behavioral framework to the relationship, language, and a boundary a horse understands best – the herd. This training is NOT rider teaching horse. Nor is it horse teaching rider. It IS creating the right environment. A right environment creates the most productive set of emotional and physical boundaries possible. It creates an environment in which two beings can understand each other. Unity (oneness) is the most sought-after skill for riders of all disciplines at all levels. This requires open, two-way communication between horse and rider. It can easily be obtained, but by no means does it come quickly.

To enjoy a true partnering relationship and open communication with your horse, very specific tools are needed. The most important is time. Look at the time we are presently in. Focused on creating an environment where a virus does not multiply, we are distancing ourselves from each other. Six feet apart seems to be the length. In training a horse, we are creating an environment, an environment where we had better avoid frustrations during the training process in nearness. We are in a time that is being referenced as ‘shutdown’, ‘social distancing,’ and ‘lockdown.’ OR is it time to hit the reset button, to rewire, to simply rest? You choose. In doing our part, we honor each other. In creating a herd environment, you and your horse will, in time, come into oneness in any discipline you choose or any event you sign up for. It’s all about relationship. Relationship between you and Good, Good, Good God. God is LOVE is upmost. Relationship between you and others happen through the channel of LOVE. You love your neighbor as yourself. Your relationship (love, language, and leadership) with your horse extends into riding, competing, trails, camping, racing, dressage (the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility and balance), or simply fun with children, young adults, adults, grandchildren, and yourself.
Your “NEIGH”bor,
Deb Kitchenmaster

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