How would you feel if you were around someone who is always telling you what to do? Telling is how most riders communicate to their horses. Most people punish a horse who doesn’t obey them. Punishment is nothing more than do this or suffer. If the horse obeys, often the reward is not something the horse wants but rather something the teller wishes to give. Zum still has trouble learning to move forward. I continue to ask, not tell.
There is a great saying that I love: ‘By their fruits, ye shall know them.’ I have always loved and honored animals my entire life. My ‘fruits’ are the way I treat my animals as my companions, best friends, teachers and family members. My animals have always had equal status to myself and other humans. I always have accepted my responsibility to all animals. I attune myself to their needs.
When Zum stops on the trail, he is not ready to move forward. If I think he is going to back up, it is better to wait. I let him stand there. Waiting isn’t bad. Zum needs plenty of time to look around and feel secure in his environment. It will take many repetitions for Zum to learn that he doesn’t need to panic, no matter what strange thing he sees for the first time. When I think I have a good chance of getting Zum to move forward, I kiss. And he moves forward with confidence.
In my life, I have met my share of men who use a beautiful woman as a possession, never concerning themselves about her true happiness or desires. My love and respect for Zum grows as he matures from a colt to a young horse. And I have noticed that Zum really enjoys being out on the trail. Knowing this makes it twice as much fun for me!
‘A fool is full of ‘I can’t’ and ‘I won’t’ and a wise man has a positive heart.’ This saying was my inspiration yesterday to trailer Zum to the desert by himself for the first time. I rode Zum for an hour. Zum stopped many times in curious fear of various rocks and logs near the trail. I kissed and he moved forward. I am very proud of Zum. I am also very proud of myself for creating more inner strength.
I am sure that success is not what you achieve as much as what you become. Once you become successful as a human being, you find that everything that happens outwardly can be turned to your good. I have no job now but lots of time to ride and train my horses. I am turning the luxury of time into good times on horseback in the desert!
I have trained Zum that when I make the kissing sound, it means ‘move something.’ If he moves, I stop kissing and I reward him. Zum is going through a phase where he wants to stop on the trail. Sometimes he is afraid of a strange object but sometimes he just stops. I kiss to Zum until he moves his front legs forward. If he doesn’t move, I wait. Sometimes waiting is all he needs. Kicking Zum and getting angry and trying to force Zum to move forward only makes him back up. Being rough is not productive. Being calm and repetitious is a simple way of controlling Zum without causing him pain or discomfort. I never violate Zum’s trust in me. We are building trust with every kiss.