I found this great QH cross for free lease in my area. Of course, they all sound amazing in the ads, haha, so I actually went out to see him today. Now I'm of a mixed mind. I know I'm the only one that can really decide on an important decision like this, but I want to hear some of your opinions/advice.
He's 7 years old and was originally owned by a dressage trainer (who apparently didn't do much with him). At this time, his owner is using him as a jumping horse, but when I rode him today, he hadn't been ridden in 3 weeks and was a little different.
Here's a video of him CC schooling:
My overall impression: I'm taking into consideration the fact that his owner hasn't had time to ride him at all these past three weeks. In contacting her, she said he was on the slow side but trained to respond off leg. Today as I watched her ride him, I noticed he did have a bit of energy. As she mentioned, he was a little ADHD - couldn't focus too well, but hey, he's 7. I also noticed he kept a high head most of the time, as she was holding on to the reins pretty firmly. He was alert, which had me wondering if he was spooky, but he only partial spooked once with each of us (wasn't that bad, there was a scary monster in the trees and he slid to one side).
She cantered him, but watching him in a straight line, he'd really start taking off and she'd have to circle him. Jumping, he was bold and powerful, but fast.
When I rode him, he was ready to go. Not so much that I was worried, so I just let him have a loose rein and he did a pretty good lively walk. He has brakes (thank God) but is not terribly inclined to stop--you have to really know what you want and ask well. Trotting was fine, he was slightly on the bouncy side but great if you posted. Posting was very fast to try and keep up with him. He did want to break into a slow canter at one point, but was overall pretty behaved. As I mentioned earlier he spooked once with me and that was pretty minor compared with what I'm used to.
Wasn't very impressed with his ground skills. Nothing I couldn't handle but the owner let him walk slightly ahead of her and he wanted to be forward with me as well. Cross ties he was behaved, moved around a bit but okay.
One other thing I noticed is that he's slightly mouthy. When I met him he started lipping my hands and did that every time we went towards his nose. Not a biggie...
He also flattens his ears when I'd ask him to rein back or slow down. I don't mean angry horse flatten - it was just slightly back.
What I need: I've been riding since I was 6 and am now in college. With him, I felt in control the whole time, but kept it at a walk/trot. I've ridden everything from the virtually not moving schoolhorse to my spook prone mare who was scared at everything from hoof picks to cats and just liked to be silly. My first fall was in November (people have complemented me with my balance and that's how I got away with it so long) off an OTTB mare. She was great the first time I cantered her and was always on the slow side, but exploded the second time for the fun of it (didn't spook, just got faster and faster till it was a flat out run away endangering the others in the ring). I tried an emergency stop (pulled my rein to the inside) and she got angry and flung me off at a full gallop (16+ hand horse). Fortunately I was so relieved to be on the ground I wasn't scared, but my subconscious nags me everytime I canter. The horse I leased this summer took away my fear, but with this guy that I want to lease now, I'm worried that that will surface again.
I feel he might be just right for my abilities. I have lots of experience and want a horse to keep up with me.
However, the sticky point is that I want to teach lessons. Being a college student I can't afford a whole lot and this is how I'd make up my boarding bills. Volunteering at a therapeutic riding center last week, I met a mother/daughter who wanted to start lessons again, but they are beginner as would be all of my clients. For this reason I know this horse wouldn't be right. But the owner of the boarding barn I've been touch with said right off the bat w/out me asking that I can work in exchange and they'll pay me if they can use my horse in lessons. Therefore this horse might be okay; if the owner and dressage instructor want to use him, they'd have higher level students and I'd be making money back. Hopefully he'd get some good experience in as well.
What I want is a horse to love on. I want to do dressage again, hack out, and maybe some verryyyy small jumps. I felt in charge of this horse the whole time, but didn't canter as I mentioned, which is the only drawback. I know this could be worked on with a trainer, but I haven't met the dressage one yet and as always it's a question of the $$ involved.
Sorry for the uber long post! I know you guys don't know me or my needs or the horse, but if you could give me some insight and things to think about that would be great. Thanks!