Horse 1: Gelding, 9 y/o American Warmblood; 16.2 with confirmed score of 66.489 in first level via Centerline with stated scores well into the 70s at both Training and 1st Level at schooling shows. Slightly pigeon toed (you may have seen my posts on that one). Used as a lesson horse 2-3 times a week to help with steadiness, calmness and let's say, the irritation of amateur riders without going into a snit. Standard phrases of clips, bathes, ties, loads etc. He is currently barefoot all around. I have the opportunity to observe him in the afternoon lessons on Monday.
Horse 2: Mare, 12 y/o Belgian Warmblood; 16.3. Alleged score of 74 in first level but can't confirm via Centerline; possible the rider showed her in an Opportunity class; no other scores available; she was also shown as a preliminary eventer by a then 12 yr old girl who was a timid rider..no issues with nasty behavior. Mare is admitted to be mareish on the ground but easily controllable as long as we aren't talking little kids trying to handle; can be mareish in the field if let out with geldings; in my case the mares are in their own age level paddocks; younger mares in one; the older mares in the other. Attitude under saddle is allegedly 100% normal with no mareish tendencies at any time. As the owner put it "she is a perfect lady under saddle." Same standard phrases on clipping etc.
The mare is exactly half the price of the gelding but is three years older; they are essentially at the exact same level of training and ability..both showing first level and schooling second.
Now, I fully plan on seeing both horses and giving them equal consideration. My fear, of course, is that I like them both. I can ride them, are comfortable with them and don't feel like they are a bundle of TNT waiting for just the right moment. Of course as fate goes neither one will put a step wrong to help make the decision. I have vid and still shots on the gelding but nothing on the mare as yet beyond sale photos.
I have the opportunity to actually ride the mare in a clinic given by the person who did most of her training who just happens to be a dressage judge. I am trying to set up an earlier test ride and general "I am checking out this horse" check in the morning before committing to the clinic..only makes sense as I need to know if I can actually ride the mare :). The gelding is and was also trained and is in training with another dressage judge :)..both are L level.
The barn I board at is primarily a lesson barn and we have kids and adults in and out constantly..especially now with camp underway. The kids that help out in the barn, working students, are generally in their early to mid teens and are evaluated for level of ability to handle horses but they do occasionally bring horses in from the fields.
So, all things being equal in the like department, what might be the deciding factor to go for vetting? Age, gender, conformation? I plan on full x-rays during any PPE so obviously if some issue comes up there I can make that decision to have the other horse vetted.
My trainer is on maternity leave and while I know what type of horse she would like to see me on, and I am not one to voluntarily overhorse myself as I would prefer to live to an old age...:); time is the factor. I can't wait three days for her to evaluate the vids and in truth she has much more important things to worry about right now.