This exactly the information I have been seeking - thank you!
I bought my first horse in Dec'2010, knowing that he was well-trained, very experienced, and that *he* would take care of *me* on the hunts so long as I didn't do anything stupid. And taken care of me he has! In fact he has given me so much confidence that I had been strongly considering buying a younger horse that still needed a bit of training so that we could progress together. And then I could find a less expensive horse, right? ;) But then I read this post.
You have definitely confirmed my thought that what every rider really needs is an excellent coach. In my experience, finding a good coach has been a real challenge. I have yet to see a coach teach effectively in a lesson with 6 students. And I wondering how well one can trust buying a horse from their coach considering breeding is their primary source of income, and teaching is where they build their client base but brings in a much smaller percent of their overall proceeds.
So maybe the first step one should take before buying a horse is finding a great coach. But how to do so is a topic for another post. :)