First some background: I've been riding for about 1.5 years now consistently. I first learned the basics back in high school. I had a friend who had a horse and I went out a couple times to her place where she taught me basic w/t/c. I only rode with her maybe 10 times when I was 16 before stopping.
During my last year of university, I finally had enough money to start taking official lessons. I first started out at a barn that I hated. The trainers would just make you stand around while they talked. We got little to no instruction. The horses were all mean, lame or just unhappy. I really didn't enjoy my time there.
In October last year, my friend recommended a new place. This is where I ride now. I LOVE it here! My coach is a former Olympic qualifier and a great teacher. The horses are awesome and it's been awesome there!
Now that I've done one lesson a week for awhile, I'm considering upgrading to one of two options:
1) start taking two lessons a week
2) start leasing to get some extra rides in, but still only take one lesson a week
I can't afford to take two lessons and lease as this brings me to $350+ a month and for now that's not attainable. Both options would end up costing me the same (around $250 a month), but with the lease I'd get 2-3 rides plus a lesson while with the lesson I'd get 2 rides a week.
My first question is: at this stage, would I be better suited to leasing or taking more lessons? I can w/t/c (although canter could use some work for sure), I've done small jumps (under 1 foot) and I can't yet get a horse in frame. I still need to work on getting a nice bend from the horse as my turns tend to look like a city bus making sharp right turns! I'm aware of my weaknesses and I think I could fix them with more time in the saddle.
My other question is regarding the horse I want to lease. He is a big boy and fairly quiet. However, he is quite food pushy as his owners give him treats for simply existing and he has come to demand it. He is stubborn but with lots of persuasion will do as told. He goes w/t/c and can jump, but the owner was upfront with me that he will never be a show horse as he's not "pretty". I rode him and he was quite smooth although it was a little difficult for me as he is much larger in the belly area than most horse I've ridden and my leg kept wanting to slip forward to the narrower part of him. He is sound, although he does have some minor leg issues that keep him from jumping anything over 2ft. He is the first beginner friendly and well located horse I've found so far! Does he sound suitable?