I went out and rode Diego today after work. I almost didn't go, since I'm just not feeling right, like I'm trying to get sick (Note: I ended up getting REALLY sick and was pretty miserable the rest of the week). Plus it was windy and kind of cold today. But I really want to take Dig on the 10-mile 4H Trail Ride this Saturday (10/17) and I honestly need to get out and get on him if that's to be my goal. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse tomorrow (Tues.), so I sucked it up and went out this evening after work.
Actually, our ride tonight was much better than Sunday the 4th. Diego had to stop and watch the neighbor kids jumping on the trampoline in their backyard for a while, but after a bit it wasn't nearly so interesting. We did a lot of walking and trotting around the round pen and he did great. Only a couple of little scoots and MUCH better on the trotting this time. He felt more steady and secure, less worried about what I might be doing up top.
After a bit, I opened up the gate and rode him out and around the yard. When he would get tense, I would ride back toward the round pen and do a loop or two around the outside, or go into to the pen, around, and then back out. He eventually stayed more relaxed outside of the pen. For me, I don't want him to be tense at all when I'm riding, and when he gets tense, that's a sign to me that I need to change something to make him more comfortable. Either get him back into a more familiar environment, or go back to doing something more simple for a bit until he can relax again. When he's tense and worried, he's not learning very much and is very unfocused. Getting his focus back and getting him relaxed becomes my #1 priority.
Bob ended up getting on Surprise and riding around with us for a while as well. I rode Diego back into the round pen (with the gate open) and Bob rode around the outside. We both went the same direction, in opposite directions, at different speeds, etc. Bob would ride next to me and then I'd have Dig turn off and change direction, and come back along the rail going the opposite way. Or slow to a walk and have Surprise trot off and leave us. Diego didn't seem to care at all and was very relaxed and even seemed to be having fun playing the little game.
I'm looking forward to the trail ride this weekend. It will be a big milestone for us.