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.