I didn't really have the ride I wanted on Pie today. My plan was for a fairly low-key confidence building ride, not that long. Instead I had a somewhat nervous horse who never really relaxed and showed signs of herd-bound behavior once we turned for home. He never did anything truly bad or dangerous, but he was on edge and not all that happy to be out. There was a lot of head-high staring and looking, and looking back in the direction of the barn. When I turned for home, he wanted to walk faster than I liked, and we had to do serpentines and occasional halts to keep things from escalating. When we came in sight of the barn, he did one little hop and I told him to quit. We did some standing around work on the field behind the barn, and some loops and serpentines. Once I untacked, we did a little bit of standing around work in the parking area.
On a good note, we did go by one very loud barking dog - he was very nervous about this but managed to do it. He also went by the place where the Scary Chickens In The Grass had been the other day, but they weren't there, which was a good thing. He saw several sets of bicycles. And he never did anything truly bad; but it wasn't a very fun ride - I couldn't relax for a moment and enjoy the lovely weather.
I don't have many good options to work through this except to keep plugging away at it. I also want to start working on his physical and mental softness - the head-high stuff doesn't help his relaxation - but I can't do that until the sidepull comes. I don't have many good options for people to ride on the trail with - a nice walking ride would build his confidence back, I think - there are only three other horses that are ridden at our barn (four riders - two people ride Charisma) and they're all experienced trail horses and the rides tend to be fast, which is the last thing Pie and I need right now.
I expect some of this is due to the incident where I tried to take him away from the other horses, and also to the fact that he's settling in and getting attached to the other horses - he was calmer and better on the trail when I first got him but I expect that was because he wasn't fully attached to his herdmates then.
I'm not feeling too good right now - perhaps I'll feel better about it later - he is a young horse after all - but I had perhaps unrealistically expected things to go better than they are right now, and they had been.