Sorry; I made a thread in the Horses For Sale section, but it didn't get very many replies, so I hope it's ok if I move it here...
My inner brat emerged yesterday, and I couldn't stand it any longer. I brought up the topic of buying another horse to my dad yesterday morning morning. I showed him a couple ads I'd been looking at, and he said "I don't think so". I wasn't upset or anything, and I let it go immediately-I knew it would be an extremely long shot at best, and the fact that he didn't get angry about it was just a plus. So off to school I went, and put the thought out of my head.
Well, it turns out dad had indeed been considering my question all day, because when I got home he said that Tiffany (a trainer friend of his, and someone I really respect) had a little palomino mare for sale, and she was asking $900 (which is a little more in my price range than the $2500 horses I've been looking at). I balked when he said: "She [the mare] shies a bit when you're getting on", but we went to take a look.
So over to Tiffany's we went. The mare had only come to her place on Saturday (and has settled in very well), and has the body of a horse on the legs of a pony; she's got a good deep and thick body (granted, she is a bit fat 'cause she hasn't done anything for 2 years). Tiffany saddled her and got on, and yes indeed, the pony was not one to stand still. She didn't shy, it looked more like she had never been taught to stand still to be mounted, or else someone had made a big spectacle out of it and she's always antsy now. Tiffany figures she was a gaming pony, because she's so spiffy and eager to go, and she must have always been mounted while moving or something. She also said that probably all the last owners ever did with her was bomb around, because that's what the pony expects to do when you get on. Once you show her "no, we're not racing around", she accepted it.
I got on afterwards, and after you do manage to get on, she's decent. Though she is definitely a cheeky and opinionated pony, and you can tell that kids have been on her (or someone who doesn't know how to ride). She wants to have her own way and go where she wants to go (specifically, she tries to drift over towards the gate), but once you get firm with her and let her know "No, we're going MY way", she doesn't fight too much and settled down a fair bit. She has a lot of pep and spunk, but she has pretty good brakes on her and is easy to bring down to a slower gait (something I'm not really used to with Tango). Of course, that may be just because she's fat and out of shape, but it's promising. Once we got our fights out and she settled down a bit, I found that she can neck rein a little, and that she will in fact (however grudgingly) listen to leg pressure.
I got off, we put her away, and we went home, saying we'd let Tiffany know later on if we wanted her. I definitely didn't want her. No, she doesn't have any buck or rear or spook or major vices, but she needs a LOT of tuning up on manners and responsiveness. No, it's nothing really out of my league; I mean, I probably could deal with her, but it's definitely not what I want as a personal pleasure horse. If I was going to spend the money on a second horse, it would be a good, totally broke one. Yeah, they cost more, but it's a lot less trouble on my part.
Then dad posed an idea: why don't I take her, ride her through the fall and winter, then when she's good and trim and has some miles on her in the spring, turn around and sell her for $1500 or so and get a return on the money I bought her with? The more I thought about it, the more I found that it's certainly an idea. I mean, one of the main problems I have with Tango is that we never were riding for a purpose and things were going downhill-with a "project pony" I'd go out and ride every day knowing that I was working towards a goal and that I had to get results out of her. And the palomino is a project pony more in my league. I wouldn't place my money on being able to "fix up" an aggressive, spooky idiot of a horse, but this pony is nice and quiet, and seems fairly trustworthy. All this pally really needs is miles and someone to tell her what to do and give her a job. And if I ever did really need help, I have an instructor or I could even go back to Tiffany.
So basically, if I did get her...
-already has a decent base of riding on her
-the biggest thing is that mounting issue
-she needs work on general manners (of course she does-she was a kid's horse)
-needs "fine tuning" so she responds to leg and rein better
-is really inconsistent and uncooperative with backing up while you're on her
-doesn't want to stand still for more than a couple seconds
So what do you think? Should I buy her, tune her up and then sell her in the spring? Or should I pass and keep on saving until I can get a really good horse for a couple thousand dollars that won't need any work? At the very least, working with her would be fun, and expand my knowledge a lot. Who knows-if spring came around and I really liked her, I could even keep her. Do you think I'm totally stupid for even thinking about buying her? I'm not going to make any brash decisions, and I'm definitely going to want to ride her again before I made the final choice (ride her out of the arena, definitely, though Tiffany said she was fine with it). I trust Tiffany and I know she'd tell us if she had anything wrong with her, but keep in mind that the first time Tiffany's rode her was yesterday morning-she won't know every little quirk the mare has yet.
This has been torturing me all night and all day at school. Every person I've talked to has said "just go for it", but I always fret and stress and overthink EVERYTHING, and spending that much money and making such a huge commitment is not a mild decision for me. I'd really appreciate some advice from real horsepeople.