Several years ago I found myself horseless. I was still in a back brace, so needed something extremely quiet and solid. I had thought I might try out a QH for the first time and found what I thought would suit.
The mare was for sale in a fairly well known QH breeding establishment, in Lakeside, California. She was said to be extremely quiet, well trained etc. I was told that a nearby riding school had leased her for a while, for their youngest children.
I made the long trip to see the mare. She was truly beautiful. Excellent pedigree and lovely conformation. When I arrived, she was already saddled, bridled and standing quietly. I mounted and rode around their property a bit. They also had a small herd of cattle, so I rode her in with their cattle for a while. The day was very windy but that didn't bother her at all. She did exactly as I asked, for the hours I was there. I still have the pictures we took that day.
I decided to purchase her and arranged for a vet check during the next few days. All came back A1. A well known Friesian breeder friend, offered to trailer her for me. Upon arriving at our place, I did notice that the mare came out of the trailer, like a whirlewind. Snorting, difficult for the fellow to hold her etc. She seemed to settle down in the stall and ate her dinner quietly. The next day I took her out to walk a bit in hand. Before even leaving the barn, the mare began to rear, circle around and kick out. And boy she could kick with those rear feet. She was too much for me to handle, so I had a trainer handle her. Same thing. We got her into a large paddock, so she could run off some steam. The paddock was enclosed with incredibly solid fencing, made of huge poles. The mare would gallop from one end to the other and actually not stop, but would hit herself in the chest, when reaching the other end.
A trainer friend did eventually saddle the mare and rode her. Even he said she was dangerous and would flip out unexpectedly, over nothing. In the stall, she was quiet and could be handled and groomed without flinching. However, taken out of the stall, she would become crazy. Nothing I had ever seen before - or since.
I eventually sold her to a lady trainer who knew her behavior and was willing to try to work with her.
I have always thought this mare must have been drugged, when I rode her. I thought it then and still do. I've bought and ridden many horses and many breeds, but never have had an experience such as this. I fully understand some horse will behave differently in a new place, but nothing as dangerous as this mare turned out to be.
Over the years, I have often wondered if there was something I missed or should have questioned. She was already saddled and bridled, when I arrived. Was that unusual? Maybe. She was ten years old, yet had never been bred. This was unusual, since they were a QH breeding operation. Why had they never bred this mare, yet they had bred her and still owned her sire and dam and she also had a superb pedigree. Maybe I should have questioned that.
There were other things. At the time I rode her in their arena and also sorted cattle with her, the entire family and their help, came out, put chairs around the arena and watched me ride. At the time, I thought they were maybe checking to see how well I rode and whether I was the correct person for their special mare. Who knows. It was a bit odd.
So yes, I really do think this mare had problems and was probably drugged. And yes, I did contact the breeders to tell them of the problems. They didn't really believe me and were not particularly interested in how she was (now) behaving.
I did learn some lessons when purchasing horses, from this experience.