Once I have successfully gotten on and off Zum a bunch of times, I let him get used to me sitting up on his back. I don’t kick him to get him moving. I don’t steer him. I just enjoy sitting on Zum quietly!

Wild flower

I love spring in the desert! Hiking with my rescue dog, Karuna, I am surrounded with brilliant orange and yellow wildflowers! My mother used to call me her wild flower. So I feel a strong bond to each little masterpiece of beauty trying to survive alone in the wild.

Getting on

I am training Zum to stand still when I get on his back. If he moves away, he is not ready for mounting. I need to go back to ground work, controlling his direction. With the lead rope, I ask Zum to move left, right, back, forward and then to stop. I reward him when he stands still so he learns that standing still is what I want!


I know that it takes lots of time to train horses naturally. My goal is to teach Zum to do tasks with manners, obedience and willingness to perform. I want Zum to be agreeable with confident responses that will last Zum’s lifetime. I don’t want to train Zum through submission. I want to train him with understanding.

Mother owl

I love spring in the desert! I saw a mother owl in a massive nest in a tall Saguaro recently! She stared at me as I rode by on my horse. I hope she is safe nesting near the horse trail.

No hurry

I always plan to have my training or retraining sessions when I am relaxed and when I am not in a hurry. Zum depends on me for food and feeling good!

Good mood

Zum loves to walk on tarp. This was one of the first things I taught him to do. If Zum refuses to learn something new, I always avoid picking a fight with Zum by going back to doing what he loves to do. Zum learns faster when he is in a good mood.

Arabian horse show

I always attend the Arabian horse show in Scottsdale in February. I see the most beautiful Arabian horses from all around the United States. While the stunning Arabian horses are cantering in the huge arena to marvelous music, the horse trainers are sitting in chairs at the sidelines, yelling at the riders things like: ‘More nose’….’lower leg’….’by the rail’…’rein tighter’…’inside hand.’ Since I have been training Zum, I can really appreciate how challenging it is to train exuberant Arabian horses!


I make sure Zum is standing calm and relaxed before I proceed to the next lesson. Once Zum is comfortable with the saddle, I fasten the cinch slowly. I fasten the cinch just enough so the saddle won’t slip or shift position if Zum jumps. I never jerk a cinch tight all at once. If Zum flinches at the cinch being tightened, his girth is sensitive. I massage Zum’s girth area in a circular motion to get him used to feeling pressure.


After saddling Zum, I tap all over the saddle. I lift the stirrups and drop them. If Zum stands still, I pet him a lot! I wait until everything becomes familiar to Zum before doing new material. It is education and repetition which brings consistency and something I can count on every time.