My story is similar regarding the back injuries but not nearly as romantic as to how I acquired Duke
18+ years ago I was trail riding with some of my life-long trail riding friends, whom I had also grown up and gone to school with.
I noticed they were riding gaited horses and asked if they were Tennessee Walkers and where did they find them, since we were strictly in trotting country.
They replied all the long time trail riders were getting tired of bouncing around and were slowly switching to the smoother Tennessee Walkers. They had been going down to the Lexington, KY gaited horse auction and bringing them up to our area to trail ride and re-sell if anyone wanted one.
One fella that said I ought to try one and I'd never trot again. I piped back at him and said "find me one and he'd better be a good horse". Meaning an "up" horse with lots of motor and go yet still well-mannered.
A few months later he called me to meet him and some others at the nearby state gamelands that he'd found me a horse.
When the Seller (not my friend) walked Duke off the trailer we made eye contact. I didn't care if Duke was the rankest horse East of the Mississippi, I knew I was buying him and I had no clue how much money he was just yet
We rode three hours and Duke was perfect. Got back to the trailer where the Seller said he was wanting $1,500 for Duke. Back 18 years ago and in the area I then lived it, that was double the money for a good gaited horse with papers.
I said ok, we shook hands, and I wrote my deposit check to hold Duke. In the couple minutes it took me to write the deposit check, the Seller changed his mind about selling Duke. He threw up his hands in the "I am backing out of this deal" gesture when I went to hand him the check.
My friend & growing up school buddy (who was a pretty big farm guy), jumped in and told the Seller that while they were partners in business and trail riding, the hand shake sealed the deal and there was no backing out.
The Seller said he didn't think I'd take Duke because of the money he'd asked. My friend said "then you should've priced Duke higher yet. She and I grew up and went to school together; you will not back out of this deal."
I was so afraid he'd change his mind, I didn't wait until the following weekend. I got the money out of the credit union when I went to work Monday, then drove the nearly two hours from getting off work to the guy's house to pick Duke up.
The Seller's wife whispered in my ear she was glad I had bought Duke because she knew he was an above average horse and her husband rode him to hard for only being a three year old.
That was 18 years ago. Duke turned 21 last October, and is the horse in my avatar, but he was 16 when the avatar picture was taken. He is still the same handsome-up-alert-bombproof-lots-of-go-horse that is in that picture.
Duke was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (Type II diabetic) in May, 2007. He is still very ridable but I am also on the old side, so our pace has slowed some
Because of Duke being the wonderful horse that he is, I eventually bought two more Tennessee Walkers who are equally as beguiling