Whoa...two donkeys and a big pretty draft horse! I love draft horses. Around here it's mostly Belgians. .
They really are big sweetie pies, aren't they? Rainy is very friendly and gentle. He may lick you silly, or push you around a little, but there's no malice in him. Like a big puppy.
... At the same time, I've seen people who came into the dojo with prior physical limitations and who were very successful, because they were already somewhat skilled in doing what they wanted to do with the bodies they had. They've already learned to be patient and to deal with setbacks.
I think this is the group I fall into. Just getting to the point where I could consider doing Aikido (or much of anything physical) has been a long journey (a tale best left for another time). Way more practice in dealing with setbacks than I care to think about.
Phil - I don't know about jousting (Rainy would probably be good at it, though)... He'd look great all dressed up for a faire or something, though. (I confess, I bought a jingly bellydancer's belt-chain-thing to use as a breastcollar on him. I think it would suit him.) And yes, the donks make great alarm clocks (and visitor-alarms).
As a general follow-up, I was able (surprise!) to go back to class tonight! It went very well. I posted a little note about that on my"My Path" AikiWeb blog
I will definitely keep doing the strengthening and training exercises. They certainly seem to be helping. :-)