Monday, September 29, 2008

Shiftless yet spicy?

Spending the over a year now working with Armani, I've become accustomed to the 5-steps-forward-1-step-back pattern our training has developed. Over time I know we've made real progress, and our supportive friends have been encouraging (more on that in a coming post).

Over the year, I've thought a lot about Armani's personality and how to adjust his training to suit. Armani has more personality than any other horse I've worked with long-term (which is not to say that I'm very experienced). It certainly is hard to try to summarize the personality of a creature that I've spent a lot of time with. But for the sake of a reader who doesn't have the pleasure of knowing him, I'll try. He has a few primary characteristics:

1. Dominant
2. Intelligent
3. Social
4. Lazy
5. Hot

Some of these certainly seem like impossible juxtapositions. But it's these dueling forces that make Armani such an exciting horse to work with. I cannot be certain what Armani will bring each day. On our 1-step backward days, a few of these forces can combine into an explosive mix. However, as a year has gone by, he has matured. I can sense his personality growing and changing.

I've signed him up for training 1 day a week all winter with our instructor. They've had 3 sessions together so far, and already she's raised her expectations for him, and reminded me that I need to do the same.

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