Tried the mare again today to break the "honeymoon" spell of that first ride, and it did. Our ride was good, but there are clear disconnects between me and this mare, and she doesn't learn as quickly as my gelding (eg. Learning by pressure-release... when this midget needs to put her bridle on and she won't lower her head...which I taught my gelding in 5 minutes and he's retained it ever since). I feel as if I can clearly pro-con them both. I spoke to my trainer and he surprised me, actually! He is the one who put Victory (the warmblood mare) under saddle several years back. While he, quote, "doesn't typically like arabs," he does not think that Victory has that much more potential than Jax does, and actually likes Jax quite a bit-- for his attitude especially. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like a burden was lifted off my shoulders. To hear my trainer say that Jax hasn't peaked in his dressage potential means a lot, because I am more than happy to put in the effort to go farther.
I think that I am going to give this search a break for a month, focus on Jax, then reassess. At the very least, I have a gut feeling that this mare is not the horse I'm looking for. My intention from the start was to have a casual, on-going search for my 3rd-4th level prospect and if I found it, pounce on it-- if not, keep moseying along. Scratching this mare off of my list means I can go back to moseying.