First of all, I spent WAY too much on my horses!
I bought my first one from a person who lived about 40 minutes away. I called around to some of the stables and one Barn Owner told me about somebody advertising she had several horses for sale.
My second one was more or less a rescue if someone like me didn't buy him. He was at a sale auction and I went the day before the auction. That's back when the auction place sold more to the "kill" people. I should've waited and got him at the auction.
My last horse I bought from an ad in a paper. I wanted a black and white and was going for nothing less the third time around. He lived about 1 1/2 hrs from me. Again, spent WAY too much for him. But, black and whites were hard to find at this time.
After owning them I found this to be true, the first person lied to me about the mare, the second person coudn't tell me any history about the horse since they just got him in, but, they didn't care either way, and the last person owned 60+ horses, and, he told me the truth about the horse but either didn't really know, or, lied about his true age. I was told he was 5, but, he was really only 3!
I made several classic mistakes buying horses. Too little knowledge, experience and in too much of a hurry. But, I worked with what I bought, and love them all and wouldn't trade them for another horse!
Those same mistakes made me a much better horse person. I had to learn quick!