Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
There are a few things. Like Palomine said, people often don't care if you're suitable for their horse, only that you riding it will be in their advantage. Before I got my first horse the kind of horses people were letting me lease and ride were completely inappropriate, but they didn't care. As a 10 year old I was offered a 17hh young TB ex-racehorse to lease. People offer you any kind of horse they are not willing to ride. Not always the case but don't rely on them to find you suitable - make sure this situation is suitable for you.
Secondly, are there any concerns about insurance? Like as you are receiving money for your services, are there certain legal responsibilities you need to meet? If you are riding one of the horses and they injure themselves are you going to be liable for damages?
Thirdly, there is a difference between riding challenging horses and making stupid decisions. I would not consider any of these responses until you have been out there, met the owner, the horse, discussed conditions, be crystal clear on what is expected and what is offered because you're not just riding someone's horse, you're conducting a business and you are responsible for providing an expected product.
An extra consideration is that if you truly want to pursue training as a profession then you'll want to work at having a respected name. Choose horses that, in the long run, have the potential to reflect positively on you.
As far as the free horse goes... I wouldn't. And not just because of the experience because I don't know you or your experience so I can't comment on that. But if you are starting to build you name and career you want to be training horses that are the best quality you can afford, and that are easy to train up and sell on. A horse that has been left to run wild in a paddock and offered to strangers for free likely isn't a great quality horse. Horses are cheap at the moment, you can pick something up cheap, train it and sell it on.
If you're in it for money then think about the money. Don't look at these as opportunities for experience (you should already have experience), if you're accepting someone's money for your services then you should be offering them a product and a service. So consider what you can offer them, and a horse that is a challenge for you probably means that you can't really offer the person value for their money.