There are probably several questions in here, so feel free to take notes as I ramble around them.
The short version is, how do I know if the horse I'm considering will make a good reigning horse?
And for the record, I'm defining "good" as simply being capable and willing. I'm not looking for any titles. I may not even compete. I'm a very green and inexperienced rider just now beginning western riding lessons. And I'm also "old" (42). But I already get the sense that trail riding or going in circles while the trainer scolds me for one thing or another may not be enough to hold my interest.
So, in considering all of the disciplines/pursuits/sports that are available to me, reigning captures my interest the most.
The horse I'm considering is one I'm leasing for the purposes of lessons and to determine if I should take the leap and purchase. He's 6-yr-old AQHA/APHA gelding.
He's respectful, listens well, but is a touch on the lazy side - often requires some real encouragement to trot or canter.
He currently belongs to the stables/trainer that provides my lessons. The trainer's take on him is that he is a bit out of shape and needs more regular work to get fit. I empathize with that, greatly.
No one rides him with any regularity other than me, and that's been in an indoor arena 2 to 3 times a week for an hour at a time.
I've watched him frequently out in the pasture and he seems quite energetic out there. I've even seen him try to "cut" some of the other horses in an apparent attempt to get them to play with him.
Pretty much every time I turn him out, he waits for me to exit the pasture and close the gait and then he canters off to find his best friend.
So, knowing all that, how can I start working with this guy to find out if he has the heart/mind/soul of a reigner? Or perhaps, given his tendency to cut his own herd, maybe I should consider that he's better suited to that?
Or maybe I'm over thinking this and simply by virtue of his bloodline, he was born to western riding and I simply need to train him to the pursuit I choose.
Any advice would be most helpful.