We went and looked at him today. So far the best prospect...the right one? I don't know, but definitely a good prospect. A couple of issues...he was once a dude string horse, and has a little bit of attitude about people on his face a lot. With gentle hands, he seemed to get into frame okay. His previous owner attempted to game him too. Around here, gamers are different than true barrel racers. MANY (not all) gamers around here spur the snot out of horses, and rip on their faces but don't TRAIN. He was spurred and ripped. He's VERY sensitive to spurs. When his owner tried to spur him, he crow hopped, swished his tail and protested, before he gave in. I was about to walk out, but then we decided to let my daughter ride him (without spurs). That went much better. Only a couple of tail swishes in the first minute, then he didn't do it again. She had him walk/jogging, doing circles, pivots, hind/fore quarter turns, sidepassing, etc.
I think he might be slightly downhill, but it didn't seem like he was too heavy on the front end or anything. He did seem to respond to the gentleness of a kid rather than a harsher adult. She is open to a 30 day trial at our facility. I'm going to try to ride him again next weekend, and have my daughter take her saddle so she can ask a little more of him and see just how sensitive he is. He is not a $3000 horse. Here are some pictures. It is hard to get pictures in an aisle way because I can't get far enough away. It looks like his feet are relatively level on the floor, but the stall walls look slanted. I hope you can get a better idea of him.
Straight hocks? Slightly down hill? That's what I see.
My daughter (9 years, 5') She's in a 15.5 inch saddle and the stirrups are slightly long, so she didn't get above a jog today.
My trainer's initial thoughts were "let's do the trial" but she just called and said lets ride him again, and see if we can push a few more buttons and see what his reaction is. We're coming off of a boarder at the barn having a bad wreck with her pony, and trainer is slightly paranoid about matching people to horses right now. The right horse is critical, and one that has too many or too sensitive buttons is not a good match.
My thoughts: much better candidate than the rest. Needs some TLC, gentler handling, very sensitive. (all would be things my daughter would do well). Might be a little pissy, maybe too much so. Decent size, observes all that's going on around him, but doesn't "react" to it. He knew where the people were, what the other horse was doing, but didn't react to whips cracking, things falling, etc. Definitely high on our list of candidates.