My new gelding (just about a month owned) has had a good reputation for being good on the trail by himself. Several days ago my trainer and I took him and her new gelding, both 17 yo, off the property for the first time. It was just a walk down the hill, on the shoulder of the road in a rural area. It was fine, he was calm and interested, not spooky; the other gelding was a little jittery. We walked about 25 minutes out and then turned back.
Today another stablemate and I went for the same walk off property, this time a mare with my gelding. To my surprise at about 7 minutes out he tried to turn around to go home. I tried just sitting til he got bored, but I could not get him to move forward. He backs up when he's nervous. After messing around on the road we decided it was safer to dismount and continue walking up the hill leading in hand. That seemed fine. We turned around to come home, and I remounted.
I meant to walk past the driveway but this horse just kept getting more upset with me. Began backing into the fence, felt like he stopped using his brain.
I hopped off again and in hand, took him up and down the road passing the driveway about 6 times before I let him go home.
Do horses have favourite buddies they will trail with, or is it just a little too soon for him to get comfortable either with me or off property? We do a fair amount of groundwork and clicker training. Its helped with him not pulling back when he's nervous (sunscreen, flyspray). Otherwise, he is great.