There is a new horse at the barn that my daughter (9 yrs) and I are considering buying and we are wondering what we should think about. The horse was left at a forclosed barn/house. The new barn owner inherited him and let him stay stay in a paddock for 3 years. My daughter's trainer brought him to the barn to get ready to sell. He was a little thin and definitely out of shape. His feet were cracked and long and his teeth hadn't been done for a long time. That first week, my daughter rode him for her lesson in the big cross country field (yes I was nervous) and he was a perfect gentleman, not spooky or hyper, just even tempered. She has been riding him for the last 3 weeks. He is still very unflappable just pretty lazy. He is getting his feet in shape and his teeth have been done. The only things I would fix about him is that he needs work on picking up his feet easily (he doesn't misbehave, he just doesn't seem to get it), and he takes a bit of work for my daughter to get him to keep trotting and to canter.
All that said, I am wondering if I am crazy to consider a horse that we really know no history on. What things should I look at to evaluate his future soundness? We are lucky enough to be able to work and watch him for a while before having to make a decision so what kinds of behavior might indicate a problem. He seems like a nice, unflappable, willing horse and it is hard to believe that someone would just leave him unless there was some issue that would have made him unsellable. Any thoughts would be appreciated.