But, I am looking to buy my first horse. I am beginner to intermediate in terms of riding ability and have been riding friends' horses for years, taking lessons and riding at rental stables. I work with animals for a living, just not horses. I have narrowed it down to three geldings, all within $700-1500, which is nothing on what the horses' maintenance costs will be, I know. Money has been budgeted and put aside. I am looking for a pleasure horse and trail horse, though some (several/many) years from now I would like to get into endurance.
Gelding 1: A 6yo Dun QH, very personable, looking to bond with a person and well trained. He's a little cow-hocked, but sound barefoot and an easy keeper. He gets a little prancy when he's anxious and is looking for direction. Very responsive and good transitions. Comfortable trot.
Gelding 2: A 8yo black QH, well trained (western), nearly fell asleep on a trail ride going out, but very eager to get back to the barn. He was fine with being restrained, but would walk as quickly as I'd let him. Good whoa and in good condition. He got a little goosey when I mixed it up and asked him to do some dressage type stuff, but remained responsive and didn't forget his brakes.
Gelding 3: A 15yo appendix type gelding, kept his head despite a long trot in wide open spaces and didn't try to take off or speed up. He didn't catch up from pasture easily and is fairly thin in a herd-fed/round bale situation. He's low on the pecking order and has some bite wounds and scrapes. He is very attentive to his rider and knows how to go faster or slower without breaking into another gait. Taller than the other two. No papers.
Part of my problem is that I like all three of them. How do I choose which one?