Originally Posted by Sharpie
if you, yourself, were horse-shopping tomorrow, what would you be looking for on your must or must not have lists?
You already covered the most important one to me, which is sound.
The next one on my list - and for me its almost equally important - is sane. Now what "sane" is can and will vary from one person to the next, as everyone has their own comfort level. I see tons of ads that seem to think crazy = good endurance prospect. Personally, I don't want to spend hours on potentially dangerous trails with an animal who is bolting or bucking or simply arguing about everything every step of the way.
Similar to sane, I want a horse that uses its brain. Some things you can improve/fix with training, but I think some horses are naturally more reactive than others. What kind of reactive that is can make a big difference. I don't want a deadhead that is blind to the world around it, but I don't want something that is going to spook at anything (or nothing). I think thus use of brain better translates into things like paying attention to where its feet are on trail.
I want a horse that is appropriately social. I don't want something herd-bound but I don't want something that is unable to live in a herd environment. I think its important for a horse to be a horse when its not working, and when it is working I want it focused on me as the leader, not where its buddies went, etc.