He wasn't given away repeatedly. He was only given away once, after his owner/breeder died. He did have a good attitude and temperament, and passed that on to his foals (and well as superior conformation), but being turned out alone for 10 years in a pasture with minimal handling, and almost no breeding or other horse interaction, will tend to make a stud a bit nuts. When I pulled him up to assess he was pretty wild-eyed and squealy at the mares in the next pasture--he thought he was going to rear up and charge to get them, but I made it pretty clear that that behavior, as well as kicking out in frustration, was not gonna fly. I worked him on the ground a bit and then did indeed climb aboard. He did not attempt to buck or bolt, but I could tell he was extremely green, and the fact that he had not been ridden in 13 years really showed. The mares were literally 10 feet away across a flimsy wooden fence, and calling to him, and his mind was far more on them than me, so we called a few little turns and a lap around the arena good. He would have required more time and money (for one, he was in desperate need of a tooth float, as he'd never had that done and in fact still had his wolf teeth) than anyone was willing to put out. Had I had room for another horse, I would have gotten him, gelded him, and finished his riding training.
After that initial session, though I never saddled or rode him again, he was far more agreeable on the ground, actually approaching me in the field for a treat or to be petted.
He was not a rough mover, nor was he a spectacular mover. He was what I would call a "working mover." If you watch him coming up the fence, you can see him winging his frong legs out. That's what I was referring to.
Edit: Aaaaand bubbles beats me by a lot, again. I take too long writing posts!