Don’t Fence Me In

By: Deb Kitchenmaster

Do you remember the songwriter Cole Porter? Or perhaps, the song “Don’t Fence Me In,” sung by artists such as Frankie Laine, Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, Willie Nelson, and Leon Russell? The lyrics pretty much remained the same, even though there was some tweaking, depending on the vocalist or group. What was consistent were the words “don’t fence me in.” The song expresses an interest in land, “lots of land, under the starry skies above.” A longing to ride through the wide-open country that is loved and is heralded through the rhythm of music. The songwriter is comfortable with “being by myself” in the evening breeze, listening to the murmur of the cottonwood trees. Plus, this rider’s “saddle that is straddled” is refreshing and invigorating in this OPEN space. Don’t fence me in is what is consistent. Consistency is on the “top-ten” list of developing a safe, fun, and growing partnership with your horse.

Each of these singers had their own voice and personal style. That is how it is with horse people. This is one of the many beauties of being with horses — an awakening to “my true self.” My grandson, Evan, made a comment that I will never forget. He had awakened before his mom on a particular day and he came into his mom’s bedroom and said, “Mom. It’s a beautiful day to wake up!” I had the blessing of being an eyewitness of two teenage friends as they found the beauty “to wake up” while being on the back of their horses. These teens had progressed from round pen, to corral, to the moment of a trail ride. We had our lunches packed in our saddle bags and off we went into 200 acres of trails. We came upon the coolness of a knoll of trees, listening as the wind blew through the leaves. As we sat on our horses, facing each other, we became engulfed in a cloud of butterflies! They swarmed around our faces; they encircled the three of us and our horses. God Himself brought a beauty of transformation to each of us in that “wake-up moment” of being OUTSIDE the fence. I must say, that day in these young gals’ lives has not left their memory or the sense of direction it brought into their lives. Nor mine.

This fall, open up the gates from the round pen and corrals to wide open space or color beyond the fences; relax, enjoy, listen, and breathe deeply as your horse carries you to discovery and awe. “Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle underneath the Southern skies.”

Your “NEIGH”bor,

Deb Kitchenmaster