I took Alwaysbehind and Speed Racers advice about OTTB's. My trainer and I are going to be calling to book an appointment to see some horses at the track within the month. My trainer also recommended CANTER. She hates all the horses I've suggested lately (for good reason) and said it was worth the drive to Michigan (only about 4 hrs) to see these guys. MAN are these guys CHEAP! After the prices I've seen here for much less quality horses, this is EYE OPENING!!
Here's my two faves from CANTER (pictures and video!)
Gallant Jon: Gallant Jon
Stellar Star: Stellar Star
Both are less then $1000. In my area, $1000 buys you a BYB bred wormy unhandled yearling!!! They do have some faults, but the videos really impress me (especially the gelding). Am I on the right track? I absolutely and totally FAIL at conformation (despite riding and owning horses for years now!) and I always think things aren't as bad as they really are.
Once again, sorry for the forum takeover! I REALLY appreciate all the help!! My trainer is great, but has a farm to run and is busy so I don't get the chance to consult as much as I'd like. And all my horsey friends are too heavy on the praise! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ALL!
Also, to give you some background on where this search is coming from: I owned a wonderful 20 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding named Machiavelli for the past 10 years. I got him when I was just young and he was WAY too much horse for me at the time. After many years of working with him (and having trainers/experienced riders work with him while I leased schoolies!) I was finally ready to ride him. We bonded strongly and worked together beautifully, winning quite a bit I must admit :P. He passed a few years back unexpectedly from an aneurysm. It was very sudden and devastating. After Mac, I haven't had the heart to own another horse, although I continued riding. I'm finally ready to have a new partner now and I want to do what I did with Mac: start from the ground up.