I favor the bay. A horse that has been trail riddern successfully will have a lot more sense. Also, becasue it has been with one, loving owner, you can have access to its' full history. The bay is worth looking at.
Don't bother with the buckskin. You must live right near me. I went and looked at that horse a couple weeks ago. The owner actually works at the same company as my husband and she is not an honest person. The horses legs were a complete mess and he will not stay sound.
Since you must live near me based on the horses you're looking at, I recommend going to Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue in Loxahatchee. It's near West Palm so it's a bit of a drive, but we found Bourbon there and then had him shipped for $150. They are amazing there and will match you to the right horse. They are a non profit so they really care about making the right match, not making a sale. When we went to go meet Bourbon, they had a TON of horses that sound like they would be a great fit for you. The horses are all vetted and they are completely honest with you with any/all issues the horses may have. Posted via Mobile Device
Good for you thinking hard about this decision! As to the experience, we have a young girl who rides with us and has been riding about 3-4 years now - 3 of those years with us alone. My friend gave her a young pony, and although the pony is amazing for a youngster, the girl had a couple of mild accidents that scared the bejeebers out of her. We put too much trust in the pony, the girl was only 13 and the pony was 3 (she'd been riding for a year with us at this point). We had to work hard to help her overcome her fear and work with her and the pony.
She's now 15 and the pony is 5 and they're a good team. Ashley knows as much as you, and has been in a couple falls now (one involved being run over after falling off at the gallop, another was just coming off for a dirty spook). Her confidence is strong enough, neither fall bothered her. She rides the pony bareback constantly and is a really good little rider with virtually no fear.
That being said, there is no CHANCE I would EVER let her on a 4 year old 16hh Thoroughbred - I don't care how docile it was advertised as. I'm 99% sure as confident as she is, SHE wouldn't get on it either unless someone was leading her around to get a feel for it. She almost got hurt on a docile as they come 3 year old 14hh pony because of us foolishly thinking the pony could do no wrong. Horses will be horses, and at 4 years old it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell what they may spook at next - you simply can't bombproof a horse except with age and experience.
I have a 3 year old filly right now I could sell in an INSTANT as a kid's horse to an unsuspecting family. She's more laid back, docile and easy going then my 11 year old Arab, and even our dependable 12 year old mare who IS a kid's horse. I took her to her first show this past weekend, and she got buddy sour enough she pulled a bucking fit on me in the warm up ring - almost dumped me to I was so unprepared for it! And this is why I would NEVER let a kid on her - she's an angel but she's THREE and it is impossible to predict what is still scary to her. I rode her at night, down a "haunted" trail, with bubbling cauldrons, lit up jack o' lanterns, cackling witches and kids running every where - she didn't bat an eyelash. If a deer jumps out of the bush? She will 360 and BOLT.
Sorry for the novel, it just REALLY is best to be looking at an older (8+) more dependable trail type horse - those horses have been there, done that, aren't likely to violently spook at random things and can EASILY be re-schooled for a specific discipline. I am trail riding the bejeebers out of my 3 year old right now because it's easy as pie to turn a trail horse into a show horse, it's a LOT harder to turn a show horse into a trail horse!
1. Possibility but the 6/10 temperment is something to check into - do they mean he's high ENERGY or high STRUNG? Very different things.
2. Be VERY careful with these ads - what this ad tells me is all they've EVER done is tool around the backyard on this horse and he hasn't killed anybody yet. They haven't done enough with him to actually verify him as safe, he just hasn't done anything "yet". This is a perfect example of where my 3 year old would likely never hurt anyone, until they actually tried to take her down a trail alone!
3. I like this one best but be warned - he WILL be a high energy horse. Competeing in endurance and trail tells me he's going to be an excellent trail mount and likely not high strung, but he also isn't the type of horse who's likely to be content walking around for 2 hours. My Arab is fairly well behaved but very high energy and will start misbehaving unless we do a lot of trot work! I like him best though, he seems the most experienced and likely the most level headed while still having spunk!
My experience with horses are with the older horses who have been there and done that. I agree with Saskia,I wont get on a horse who is green broke and is spooky and if you want to take it trail riding well there is a real possiblity of her being spooked even by the wind or a leaf blowing. Taking out of familiar areas is never fun for me. I have several horses and they all like to be together and if you take one out riding it is a fight to get them going down the road unless you have a partner to ride with which I don't very often . I am beginning to prefer my minatures just to love on and not worry about being hurt again.Regardless I hope you find you a really lovy horse and one that will work for you.