So. I met that red dun yearling gelding I mentioned above. I spent about an hour with him, just messing around and playing with him. What a sweet little guy. He spent the good majority of the time ambling around, grazing, showing off and coming around for scratches. He stood, halterless, while I ran my hands all over his head, ears, body and legs, and picked up each foot obediently when I asked. I got the opportunity to see him at a free jog and my goodness... he floats! For a yearling, I was expecting a lot more 'awkward' packed into him, but he's surprisingly good looking. He still needs to grow into his legs a bit, but otherwise, he's very well put together.
Pros: He comes when called and stands quietly to be haltered. He picks up feet and stands quietly while you mess with them. He doesn't lean on you like some horses. He doesn't nip. His gaits are good and his feet look solid. He also treated me to a spook tonight - a blade of grass moved in the wind, he suddenly stopped trotting, raised his head, snorted and very carefully (as only a clumsy yearling can) snuck up on it and sniffed it. Some spook.
Cons: He's in the pushy colt stage. He's not horribly pushy, but he does have some issues respecting boundaries and personal space. The majority of that is probably due to the fact he's been left primarily alone in the paddock with his senior buddy. He's also still learning to stand while tied - he pulls back a bit. That needs some work. Both are very minor issues and should improve with patience and consistent contact.
I really enjoyed this colt and although he's going to get about 1-2hh taller than I was looking for, I think he might be worth a second look. The seller is more concerned with finding him a good home above all else and she saw that I enjoyed him. Before we parted ways, she asked if I'd like a few days to think about him and if so, she would hold him for me until Monday without a deposit (I'd mentioned my problem with the last horse). I left $100 with her anyway and we're going to meet up again on Monday so I can see him again after taking the weekend to think. If I choose not to buy him, she said she's return the deposit. She's going out of town this weekend and won't be showing him to other buyers anyway, so she's not afraid of losing a potential sale while I think about him. That was reassuring.
Is it normal to feel a mix of excitement, uncertainty and self doubt when purchasing a horse for the first time? I'm excited because I've wanted a horse for so long and I miss being around them. I'm uncertain because it's a huge purchase and a big chunk of my time to devote to an animal. I'm a little doubtful of myself, too. I know I can handle this horse, but I'm scared that I could screw him up. He's my first horse and although I have a lot of horse-savvy friends and a trainer to help me... I'm still a little scared. Is this a normal part of the horse buying process?