My biggest goal now is to put the snaffle bit into Zum’s mouth!
Zum learns from everything that I do. Anytime I am with Zum, I need my body language to reassure him that he is doing what I want. Today I was able to control his movements to make sure he did what I asked him to. I was able to keep us both safe while having fun on the trail. This entire teaching process is now becoming a positive experience for both Zum and I. All my encouraging words and rewarding pets have helped Zum to develop confidence in me and my leadership. I finally feel like a leader again!
I have decided that Zum is an empath. Human empaths can feel other people’s emotions intensely. I have met a few human empaths. Many of them have to contract their awareness and escape into addictions, selfishness and indifference to cope with the waves of feelings constantly coming at them from others. They don’t realize that being empathic is a gift and must be protected. A true empath needs to be surrounded with harmony, expansion and peace. As long as I keep Zum inspired, interested and happy, he is an amazing and very agreeable horse!
My dream is to ride Zum on beautiful trails in the deserts of Arizona and in the mountains of New Mexico. When I first bought Zum in August of 2018, I wanted to offer the best of myself to Zum and see if he could offer the best of himself to me. Negative trainers along the way traumatized Zum and told me Zum is naughty and disrespectful. It feels like my original idea to train Zum with love and reward may fail. Zum doesn’t like humans very much and I am a human. My girlfriend in Santa Fe thinks I should sell Zum. Zum has his good days and his bad days. On his bad days, I am very discouraged. But I am trying to make every failure with Zum into a steppingstone to success. Instead of telling myself that I have failed with Zum, I am trying to remember that I haven’t yet succeeded.
Zum loves to crowd me and take over my space. I need to teach him to respect where I stand and to allow me room to breathe in peace. I don’t want to yell at him or hit him. This approach is the coward’s way to discipline a horse. And it doesn’t work. It only starts a fight and the coward is the loser. The best way is to ask Zum to back away and reward him when he does. If he doesn’t obey me, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with firmly pushing his body out of my way. I can also make a loud growling sound to show my displeasure with his behavior.
The racehorse trainer has taught me that I don’t know how to discipline Zum. I know how to show Zum how to do things, like put ropes around his ears when Zum doesn’t want his ears to be touched. I know how to reward Zum, praise him and love him. But when Zum disobeys, I really am at a loss. I know how to discipline myself. But I need to be taught how to discipline Zum.
I am so grateful that my racehorse trainer friend is teaching me how to drive Zum in the round pen. This is the missing link between all the groundwork I have been doing with Zum and riding Zum on the trails. With driving, I am teaching Zum how to turn right and left with the reins but I am standing in the center of the round pen. The secret to driving is the tension and release of two long ropes that I hold with my hands. There is an art to it and I really am excited to learn something new. So is Zum!