Today was another soft warm day, so I decided to ride the little guy again. This time when I entered the run-in paddock, bridle in hand, Commander looked at me, looked at the bridle, and made a slow-motion escape attempt. Ha! He's figured me out. Since he had nowhere to go (the run-in paddock being rather small, and the fields beyond being shut off as too muddy to let the boys out onto), his half-hearted rebellion fizzled out fast, and he resigned himself to his dreadful fate.
I got him to stand on a lower patch of ground next to the mounting rock this time, so the boarding process was somewhat closer to graceful than the last time. We did a bit of ringputter, then I dared to take him out into the wilderness. Yes! Out into the great beyond!
We headed out from the ring, out along the farm lane, out across the culvert, out past the knoll to the rise of ground on its far side. By golly, I believe we travelled as far as 60, maybe even 80 yards away! Commander was dubious about this mad venture into the unknown, what with the narrowing of the lane over the culvert, the water puddled along it, and the evil-looking grubby swathes of snow flanking our path, but when I refused to accept any sucking back he bravely went on. In fact, by the time we turned around he seemed relaxed and even intrigued by the new stuff to look at. I'll give him his due: He didn't try to rush when we headed homeward into safe familiarity, just pattered along on a loose rein at his usual rate.
Commander's a bit of a lazy boy, and would rather not work, if you don't mind; but if you do mind, he says okay then, I'll do it, and does it. I love Ben dearly, but he's a lot more work, needs a saddle, needs a warmup, and needs effort to ride his big elastic gaits. Commander's a no frills, no effort quick spin. If you've only got a few minutes to spare for some riding fun, he's perfect for it.
He's also polite about taking his Meadow Mints from your hand afterwards.