Sunday, 9/27, from Bob:
Today we spent some time de-spooking him. I brought out Dovie's horse cart and walked all over the place pulling it behind me. He ignored it at a distance and was a little wary up close. He eventually came over and tried to eat it. I brought out my mountain bike and rode it around the yard. That went exactly the same as the cart.
Me: I’ve tried to do a LOT of de-spooking with Diego at home. I have noticed a big difference, but like I told Bob from the beginning, the #1 thing Dig needs continues to be exposure to new and different situations. My son Taren often rides his bike up near the corral, but he can’t to in a full circle around the corral and behind Diego, which is where I belive the main problem lies. Plus seeing an adult on a bike is a little different than a 7 year old, although I somehow doubt Bob was jumping off a plywood ramp, running over a 2” PVC pipe and/or doing “skids”. =)
Dovie thought moving the garden hose behind him might have caused yesterday's bath incident, so we played with the hose around him a little with the water off. I want to do more.
I spent 14 minutes on him today. He's getting less skittish. He does occasionally hop and tuck his butt underneath himself, but it never progresses into anything dangerous. A few minutes into the ride, he stopped and absolutely refused to move forward. He would back and flex left or right, but he wouldn't take a step forward. He seemed totally relaxed and just ignored me. Dovie got me a crop, and one very light tap on his butt got him moving again. We practiced trot-to-walk transitions. He's doing it most of the time, but it's really messy [Diego does trot to HALT transitions, it’s a pain. When he’s doing better, he’ll trot, halt for 0.5 seconds, then start walking, but still not very smooth]. I made a point of making noise, moving around, and especially fooling with my terrifying pockets while I was on him. He's doing fine.