My best friend bought him and then spent the spring getting to know him and working on his ground manners. He wasn't obnoxious, just a little shy and spooky. Once she earned Rio's trust and respect, she introduced him to the trail by taking him for hand walks around the neighborhood. She also rode him in her pasture and in the neighbor's round pen. A few weeks ago she gave me a call and said they were ready to ride off the property.
We headed out on my regular neighborhood loop which mostly consists of a single paved lane through ranch properties. At the far end though, we trekked through my new barn's dirt roads and went down to the river and bushwacked it back onto the road. It's a fun section as you get to wind through trees and feel like you're in the back country.
When we got down to the river, best friend gave Rio the rein and let him nibble at the grasses growing along the water's edge. He gave the river a long look and then marched right in. No spooking, no snorting, no big deal.
I have to say that I was a bit envious. He is clearly a sensible guy that is going to take care of his rider with confidence. Best friend definitely picked a good one who is going to be a fantastic trail companion for her. I hope she "needs" me and Speedy again soon.
Maybe Rio can teach Izzy a few things about confidence!