In a culture that seems to be all about money and control, horses remind me that it is not. A farrier in a hurry because he was late getting to my house and had clients waiting after me couldn’t wait the 45 minutes necessary for oral sedation to take effect on Zum. He grabbed Zum’s legs with impatience and Zum kicked back. The farrier said he needed to inject Zum with drugs that work faster and then tie up Zum’s back legs with help from another guy. He insisted on charging me too much without waiting to do the job. He left angrily, calling Zum a jerk. He left, leaving Zum sedated and going into a hot sweat. I am fully aware that Zum is a challenge. My humble farrier in Phoenix waited the full 45 minutes and was able to gently and calmly shoe Zum for the first time easily last March. I broke my arm two months ago. I need to heal my arm so I can trim Zum’s feet again. Zum teaches me again the importance of being dedicated to the well-being of the horse.
I am so happy to be able to finally put on Huszar’s saddle with my right elbow and left hand! Where there is a will, there is a way! I was also able to jump in the saddle without help. I rode Huszar for two and a half hours in an area I have been riding in since I was nine years old. Since last summer when I rode there, all the lots that have had For Sale signs up for many years have been sold. Horse trails now were construction sites or huge piles of dirt. I guess my neighborhood has become prime real estate. Horses are a thing of the past. Thankfully, not my past. I have to figure out how to ride around human destruction of the horse trails.
I read that horses have marginal vision by their hips and a blind spot behind their tail. It is important to turn and face your horse to a moving object. Maybe Zum would not have bucked me off if I had faced the girl trotting away on her horse. What I did was to turn him away from the scary moving object. I can only wonder.
B. F. Skinner was a leading authority in behavioral research. He found that punishment is less effective in behavioral control than rewarding reinforcement. He experimented with many species of animals and found that positive reinforcement is the fastest way animals learn. There are many horse trainers that believe in punishing a horse. I have met more than a few of these trainers. They like to yell at, ridicule and boss around the horse owners also. These trainers want to be obeyed. I have met my share of men with this attitude. They want women to obey men. Skinner is my hero.