Kai Jan 14Can’t help but love this big hunk…somewhat distant exterior, but a heart of gold underneath for the right person, and, if you work for it, tons of easily offended dignity. He is the type that really doesn’t like to be laughed at or have his many ideas dismissed or ignored. If he gets emotionally hurt or rattled, he reacts with grumpiness but he doesn’t really care that much about your love or praise. He likes the “Socratic method,”  he will look at a request or task from every angle and test every one out before he gives you what you ask for. You have to earn stuff with him, he won’t just give it to you because you want it and it makes you happy.  Horses like this can be difficult to motivate but once they partner up they take a lot of pride in their team work.

He absolutely can learn to do things properly, but for instance where Dottie is open, interested, and eager to work for approval, Kai’s initial reaction to any request is usually “no” or “why should I?” He doesn’t particularly care if some random person thinks he’s being “good” or not. With time and once you establish respect, with a good, loving relationship, that will change. He’s not mean, dangerous, or ill-tempered – he’s just not a pushover or particularly social. Maybe a little bit suspicious by nature, and sensitive to being slighted.

My guess is he will be slow to come around, and need to “date” his person for a while to establish that relationship.  Not so much that he’s slow to trust, but more that he’s slow to warm and let you completely connect. The rider will needs to be calm, very patient, consistent, and understand his “way” without rushing him. He will loses confidence and become very braced and resistant if you don’t let him work thought things in his mind. You need to respect that he has to work through his own natural resistance to requests. If you are consistent and fair, keep saying try this and then praise his success, he will come around and do it well. It may just be a bit of a road to get there. He’s got to explore all his options, and see if you have the staying power to last through it. The process is to be consistent, fair, and kind, and always respect his dignity.