I got my mare in pretty decent condition...physically...and for 'sight unseen'...that was a blessing. I had seen photos, and we had had several conversations, and I knew I was getting a definite project horse, but that is what I wanted, so I was fine with that...and mentally my mare was definitely 'damaged goods'. She was very flighty overall (I got her as a 'bucker bolter' under saddle...I didn't have any doubts that she was, when all I had to do was put an arm over her back and she was ready to jump and slither away) Groundwork was where I started...didn't even think about putting a leg over her until I knew she was thoroughly desensitized to everything I needed to use on and and around her in order TO ride her! I took about 2 and a half weeks just doing the groundwork and desensitization, and got on for the first time. She really hasn't looked back.
On the ground, I can trust her with just about anyone...and have used her to help little ones learn how to handle horses, brushing, cleaning feet, etc.
Undersaddle, is a different story; there are few people I would ever trust to ride her by themselves, because she is very sensitive to weight, and leg pressure...perhaps in a few more years she will get better, and become more forgiving of people's mistakes, perhaps not...either way, I love her. I can use her as a lead line horse, and she is fine, I would just never put her in a situation of "lesson" horse. She is one of the best minded trail horses I have owned; never gets effected by what antics other horses are doing, and could careless whether she goes in a group or by herself, no matter how often I get out on the trail with her. She is extremely smart, though, so arena work gets boring for her, but that's okay with me too, since it challenges ME to always be thinking up different lessons and always be mixing things up. We fit each other quite well really.
I have now owned her for two years, and the photo below is something very special for sure...2 years ago...no way would she have come this close off lead to me, just for the sake of being close...that said, I am the only person she is this closely 'bonded' to; but I am also the only person who has actually worked for it as well.