So, here's the long story. When I was 14 I started riding a pony cross who was bought as a camp horse prospect for the stable I worked at. He was pretty young and turned out to be very strong and spooky, so he was hardly ever used. (He also became notorious for throwing campers when he was used ) I became basically his sole rider for the next 4-5 years. I leased him over the summers but even when I wasn't leasing I was the only one to ride him since no one else wanted to. We had that special bond - he was really a one person kind of horse. He's highly intelligent, quirky, and very strong-willed. I let him do things I would never let another horse do because we have a strong mutual understanding. I feel like the two of us grew up together.
Then the ranch closed right after my first year of college. They had to get rid of most of their horses. I didn't feel like I could buy a horse at the time. I was devastated, but I just sort of accepted the situation.
"My" horse was sold with several others to another ranch. It was a similar, camp and lesson kind of place. I talked to the owner and she said they wanted to use him for camp but I could half-lease him when I was home for the summer.
So, when I got home for the summer I called her and she said she had sold him. It wasn't a huge surprise to me, to be honest - I knew there was little chance he'd suddenly turn into a well-behaved camp pony.
I just called the person who owns him now. I was told she has him for sale. I suppose I should wait until I hear back from her until I start making plans, but until then here are my thoughts:
I really want to buy him, both because I miss him a lot and because I know how unlikely it is that someone else will want him. He's one of those 'needs an experienced rider' grade horses who is not trained to do anything fancy. He's a horrific trail horse (spooky). He's too unpredictable to be safe for a child. He's getting too old to be a teen's 4H project, and he's too small for most adults to want him. And have I mentioned that he still forgets his manners sometimes and tries to bite? (Not bite hard in an aggressive way, he's never done that - he tries to chew on everything as a way of releasing his nervous energy. But it looks pretty bad if you don't know him.) So, I'm afraid he'll just keep getting sold from ranch to ranch and I'll lose track of him, or he'll end up somewhere bad....
The thing is, I go to school in another region of the country. I've been coming home for the summer, for a month for Christmas, and for a week in the spring. My time at home may become briefer as I find more jobs/activities back at school. I have at least 2-3 years of school left, and I hate to just leave a horse sitting around in a pasture here for that time. No one in my family knows anything about horses. And then there's the fact that I don't know how easily I could afford to pay for board and other expenses. Pasture board around here can be pretty cheap, and I'm certainly ready to work hard, but as a college student working for minimum wage, an extra 250 - 300 a month in expenses is not trivial. My parents are already helping me pay for school, so I can't also ask them to pay to board a horse for me. Frankly, they probably wouldn't approve of my buying a horse right now, since I'm supposed to be "focusing on my studies".
What do others think? I want to do the best thing for this horse, and I also want to make a decision I won't really regret a few years from now. Any opinions are welcome.