I did a ‘colt show’ with Zum in the round pen for an audience. People are always amazed and impressed by all the tricks I have taught Zum. Zum loves to perform! I always ask him nicely to do tricks. He walks on a wooden platform, he stands still as I sack him out with a plastic bag, he touches seven orange cones distributed throughout the pen with his nose, he gives me a big kiss with his lips, he rolls a blue ball around the pen with his nose, he picks up a baseball cap with his teeth, he follows me, stops and backs up with me liberty around the pen. I also get on the mounting block and maneuver him near the block as I jump on him bareback. I have a lot more tricks to teach him in the future!
I rode Zum bareback in the round pen yesterday. I lunged Zum at a trot in the round pen also. Forcing Zum to trot made him angry and he pinned his ears back. I don’t want to ruin the friendship I have been carefully developing all summer with Zum. I want Zum to think of me as a fun person to be around and not someone that bosses him around.
I was riding Zum home from a ride yesterday and I rode by the barn. Huszar spooked and dashed out of the barn. This frightened Zum who galloped up the hill. I lost the reins for a second as this happened so quickly, but thankfully, I was able to stay in the saddle. At the top of the hill, I grabbed the left rein and turned Zum’s head left for a one-rein stop at a gallop. It worked! I let Zum stand quietly while the dust settled, literally. Then I walked him down the hill and turned him in left and right circles in the driveway. Around horses, things happen swiftly and I learned I need to be alert and prepared for anything.
Min howls when he wants something! And he won’t stop howling until he gets what he wants. Usually he wants to be on my lap or he wants to be with Larissa. He is persistent and insistent. I actually admire these qualities. There is nothing worse than weak-kneed, weak-willed, vacillating, wishy washy behavior.
I was riding Zum on a road by a mansion yesterday and a man watched from his balcony as his three big dogs raced from his mansion to attack Zum. This man said nothing and did nothing as his three large dogs surrounded Zum and barked at Zum who froze in fear. I didn’t want the dogs to bite me so I stayed on Zum and I tried to calm him down. Zum solved his own dilemma. He lifted his tail and did a big poop! The dogs rushed for the poop and Zum walked away with his tail held high. I had to laugh! The man in the balcony suddenly started yelling for his dogs to come home. He didn’t want his dogs eating the poop! It serves him right for not being thoughtful from the start.
As Jody used to tell me, never say ‘I can’t. This is negative self-talk. Instead of judging or bashing myself or Zum for past mistakes, I have spent this summer thinking comforting, reassuring and kind thoughts to convince myself that I am no longer unsafe when I ride Zum. As a result, I am feeling safer and at ease with Zum.
Zum saw his first wild deer as I was riding him on a ridge. He froze with panic. I jumped off, pet his neck and tried to calm him down. I led him carefully down the hill to a wash and lunged him in circles. I walked him home as he looked back in terror, snorting and prancing. I got him to the round pen and rode him around until he relaxed. I realized Zum’s fright is very real. It is my job to give him positive assurance.
As the summer comes to an end, I ask myself ‘What are my successes this summer?’ I think of every test that I passed, every obstacle that I overcame and every new skill that I learned with Zum. My two biggest successes were my relentless tenacity in riding Zum even when I was afraid and my belief in myself.