By: Deb Kitchenmaster

A pleasant or unpleasant “suddenly” has the power to realign you. “Suddenly” moments show up in our ordinary 24-hour timeframe called TODAY. Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when a man with his 8-year-old daughter came in the yard unannounced and unplanned. How I broke forth with laughter and hugs when I realized who this man and little girl was! Our son! Our granddaughter! For months our annual meeting was planned for Nashville, and the two decided to make a trip to Alabama and surprise us. And gratefully surprised we were! Together we groomed a horse, rode a horse, read a book, and enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon together. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Emma.

An unpleasant “suddenly” happened when a man on a ladder, cleaning his gutters, suddenly fell off the ladder onto the cement driveway. Whether it’s the release of joy or grief that bursts forth from a “suddenly,” our physical bodies look to homeostasis to bring a stability between our spirit, soul, and body as we yield to the physiological processes. Happiness, sorrow, anger, fear, and love are physical processes.

Realignment is the action of changing or restoring something to a different or former position or state. He refreshens and restores my life. MY SELF. My soul.

What about horses? Are there practical and visual signs to let me know if my horse is aligned or in need of realignment? Yes. Would you describe the posture of the horse as normal or abnormal? Does your horse pin its ears back or toss its head when being saddled? The horse may be in need of an equine chiropractor. Does your horse have difficulty turning or working in one direction? Is your horse sensitive to touch or uncomfortable with you when you groom? These are signs that your horse is off and looking for some harmony. Three other questions to answer would be: Can my horse walk a straight line, does my horse lean on the reins, and does the saddle tend to slide to one side?

If your focus is drawn to realignment, here are a few exercises you can do with your horse. This exercise is a stretching exercise that you can do with your horse while standing on the ground with bent outstretched arm. You do the stretch left and right so your horse stretches evenly on both sides. Your horse stands still and you let him gradually bend to the left/right. Let him find his own limit. No force. Like you, you’re either dominant on your right or left, he too has a dominant side.

Another realignment exercise is riding in an eight- to ten-meter circle, both to the left and to the right, varying the circles in size. This exercise aids the horse to step under himself more and helps him carry his weight on his inside hind. A figure eight or serpentine pattern bends the horse left and right in one exercise. A circle is often more difficult for your horse than you think. BE PATIENT.

One more exercise I would encourage you with is the exercise of lunging. Attach your lunge line to the halter of your horse. Lunge up to two or three times a week and no more than ten to twenty minutes. Does your horse shoot forward or run away on the lunge? He may be out of balance. Lengthen the size of your circles, giving him more space. Be mindful not to pull on the lunge line. Lunge your horse to the left and the same amount of circles to the right. That way you will be training both sides of your horse.  However you train your horse on the left side, you also must train the same on the right side in order for them to understand. A good visual or communication between you and your horse is when they lick/chew. Keep it up. You’re getting through. You are communicating with your horse and the two of you are connecting in a way that the horse understands and you are achieving the TOGETHER you desire.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your NEIGH-bor – Deb Kitchenmaster