Today's adventure centered around riding with a buddy - joining someone already in the arena, riding together, then having the buddy leave. It was a good lesson.
It is not unusual for a horse, especially a green horse, to be unnerved by riding in the arena with a buddy - the problem could be that the horse doesn't want to focus on the work and leave his buddy (or have his buddy leave him) or it could be that he freaks out by having another horse ride close to him, either coming up from behind or coming at him head on.
Colin and I have a couple shows coming up over the next couple of weekends and Colin needed to practice his dressage test. I offered to be his eyes on the ground, or eye from horseback, if you will, to give him feedback on his test. I watered and dragged the arena while Colin tacked up the Tomato and then he got started with his warm-up while I tacked up Buck. I brought Buck down to the arena and got on. He was pretty much unimpressed that another horse was riding in the arena where, up until now, we've always been alone. As our steering isn't great, we meandered around and tried to stay out of Colin's way. Colin practiced his test and while he took a break we trotted around the arena a few times, changing rein across the diagonal. When we were done we parked ourselves along the rail while Colin practiced his second test. Buck really couldn't have cared less and we just stood there and watched Colin go through the paces. Great - check the box for that not being a problem!
We decided to go down the irrigation ditch again and this time we had to side step all the brush that the irrigation district workers cut down and graciously left there for us to clean up (big eye roll here). Buck and I walked behind the Tomato, on the buckle, just moseying along. Trail riding really is his thing and I do hope to get him out a lot this summer!
We went back to the trailer and untacked the horses and Colin took the Tomato to be turned out and Buck and I stayed at the trailer to finish up grooming and check different saddles for fit. He was a little antsy at first when Tomato left, but then he settled and it was fine.
I do think that the saddle that I've been using (my other dressage saddle) is too narrow for him so I was trying other saddles on to see what might be better. While he was very forward the first couple times I rode him he is now a bit hesitant so I'm going to start with the obvious (keeping in mind, of course that I DO need to have his teeth done!). It looks like my jumping saddle may be a better fit and if not that then I'll just work in my treeless trail saddle, which he seemed to like ok when I rode him in it before.
Oh, and I de-wormed him today which he didn't think was very funny, but he was a good sport.