I would consider non-local.. but would be a process I'd probably only go through for the perfect horse (assuming more than 2 hours away). I would just want to see a whole bunch of video and then I would actually make a trip there to ride before purchasing. It's just too big of a purchase (even if it was a free horse! :). I'd really hate to trailer a horse only to realize it was a mistake.
I'm visiting family in Florida in Feb and my niece (6) likes horses / to ride so we're all going riding. The ranch my mom selected has rescues and adoptions so I jokingly said I would check out the horses while I'm there. :) of course I probably am not joking at all. :)
I also might try Auction Horse Rescue, I've been talking to the girl who fosters a few of their horses and some of them seem like possibilities. My friend got her horse from there. I'll post here when I zero in on something.. I love all your input, good and bad it's always great to consider it.
There's also a chance I may just end up with a long-term half lease. I'm starting w/ a new trainer Saturday and I want to see what they have going on. The half leases at my last barn were very structured but one that has more freedom for scheduling, etc. where I feel more like the co-owner (second, of course, to the owner) could work.. I just want a horse that I feel responsible for and who doesn't get ridden like the village bicycle.. Who I can go visit and ride mostly when I want (one other person's schedule would probably not be a big deal particularly if we typically came at different hours). I also might occasionally want to trailer it for trail rides off premises w/ some other horse owners. Things like that. And whose lease is not bundled w/ lessons... I prefer to lease the horse from the owner, and pay the trainer for lessons on that horse when I take them. And if I want to take a dressage lesson from another trainer, so be it.
Anyway, it really all came down to freedom & ultimately responsibility which is why I started thinking maybe I should be the owner. :)