Had a lovely ride on the paint tonight! We got him out of the paddock and groomed and tacked him. The owner asked my daughter if she'd rather ride in a fenced-in area or an open area and we opted for an open area. I figured we should see him at his worst. Walked him over to a big open field and she rode him for a while at walk, trot AND canter without any issues in BOTH directions. He even picked up the right lead every time. I hopped on next and he was fine with me too. Now obviously he's a different horse than Harley and we need to get to know each other a little more. Harley's so sensitive that I just think of turning and he turns, but with this guy, I had to clearly ask. He doesn't have all the buttons Harley has. But for a rock-solid trail horse and all-around family horse, I can't imagine a better horse. And who knows, we may lean him up and turn him into a jumper yet!
What else can I say about him? He's sensible, but not a total dead head. He's interested in what's going on (I'm pretty sure that when I hopped on, he was turning his head to get a better look at me) and wants to go! But he's responsive and has an excellent whoa. My daughter had no trouble getting him to stop the canter, even though he clearly wanted to go. And a lovely canter he had as well! Easy to ride, comfortable... probably hasn't done a ton of arena work, but had no issues when we made him go around in circles and tried very hard to do what my daughter was asking of him. For example, when she asked him to trot initially, he was a bit sluggish so she would push him with his legs and he would want to break into a slow canter. She would pull back and get him trotting again. After a few times, he sort of understood what she wanted and she managed to keep him trotting at a steady rhythm without breaking into a canter.
She raved on and on about him in the car on the way home and told me she thought he was THE ONE. I like his face - it looks like he's always smiling. He's kind on the ground as well. He's big (not just fat, but really built stocky), but even my daughter looked fine on him (he's 15.2 but requires an extra-wide saddle). And he would be the kind of person a bigger adult (like my husband) could ride as well. And the kind of horse you could put a total beginner on without any worries.
I asked the owner whether she'd tried to get him to lose weight and she admitted that she's over-feeding him (or she wants me to think so, who knows). He will need to be worked, but I relish the idea of taking him out for a daily trail ride and putting him through his paces. At one point, he was near the road and a very loud motorcycle flew by. He glanced at it, but there was absolutely no spook.
So I think I'm getting a PPE done! Will sleep on it, but honestly, I don't know how we could pass on this guy. If he's this easy to ride after being a pasture puff for a year, imagine what he could be like ridden regularly! I wish I could show you pictures. :(