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I have to admit with a shamed-face :oops:, that my perfect horse was one that I let my trainer find for me. I have spent a whole lifetime buying my own horses and I TOTALLY SUCK at it. Don't get me wrong I have been privileged to buy and own some really awesome horses. I have had some great rides, made money in reforming and flipping horses with issues, because I had a habit of buying horses with low price tags, that I knew could be better.

This is the first horse that a trainer who knows me and my capabilities, and more importantly my limitations, found for me. He wasn't advertised, as the best ones often aren't, but found through her network. So that's my advice, if you have someone you trust, and has the knowledge let them help you shop.
 
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Good for you. Sometimes letting a horse go to the "right" home can be the hardest decision to make. I fell in love with the Arab I bought just to get her out of a bad situation, and I had planned on putting a few months into her then selling her. I got way too attached, and then wasn't able to actually sell her when I did list her, way to many people claiming that they knew enough, then after talking with them, or meeting with them for 5 minutes, clearly knew hardly anything. Not good for a young Arabian with bad people experiences. Finally found an Arabian breeder who also ran a rescue, who helped me find the perfect home for her. It was really hard watching her load onto the trailer, and as much as I love the updates I get on how she's doing, it does also make my heart ache a bit that I didn't keep her. It was the best decision all around though, she's with someone who shows Arabians, and loves the breed, and has a blast doing stuff with her that I wouldn't do.

So networking is really the way to go. Talk with your farrier, your vet, a trainer friend if you have a friend that's a trainer in the area, as they often know horses for sale that aren't being advertised, and often times they are the first to hear about a horse, and if the person wants to advertise, sometimes you can get first dibs to look at the horse before he even goes up on a site. I have actually been pretty lucky in the horses that I've found, but I also train, and while I have a healthy respect for horses, not much makes me not want to get on one, so I'm fine looking at a horse by myself. But especially the first two horses I bought, I felt so much more comfortable having someone I knew and trusted who either knew the horse, or who put the horse through his/her paces first just to make sure that it was something I would be able to handle. Saved me trouble on a couple horses first time out who were NOT what the owners advertised, and I had someone who kept me from wasting my time, and possibly getting hurt by screening the person and horse first. You should definitely be willing to wait for that "right" horse. Don't settle on something just because he will "work", and you have been looking for x number of months already. Just keep your ear to the ground, and talk with people and eventually the "perfect" horse for you will come around.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
GoldenHorse and Dressagebelle, you really have my brain turning now. I have not worked with a trainer since I was a teenager (and that was a LONG time ago!) Certainly my riding could use a tune up, so perhaps my focus should be on that, and the right horse will follow.

I have always bought horses by myself from classified ads, and the results have been a mixed bag, mostly not so good, so GoldenHorse, I can relate! I had already been thinking about doing something different next time I purchase a horse, and had been looking into horse farms that "specialize in gentle horses" or "matching the right horse to the right rider." Then I read a warning on Craigslist about one of the farms selling someone a messed up horse.

So what to do? Obviously not what I've done in the past. I am going to begin networking, and check out trainers in my area. Thank you both for excellent advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Tuff just left with his new owner, and while there is a huge hole in my heart, I want to thank all of you who helped me make the decision that regardless of how emotionally attached I was to him, he and I needed to part ways. My farrier did not buy him, but a man who ranches, works cattle, and rides all the time. He lives about 60 miles away, and said I was welcome to come ride him sometime once he is well broken. I also asked him if he ever decide to sell Tuff to give me first opportunity.

On a lighter note, after 20 minutes of four men trying to get Tuff to load in the trailer, I said I'd try. I got his bucket with some of his feed, and he followed me on to the trailer like he'd been loading all his life. The men had a good laugh, and swore each other to secrecy.

There will be life after Tuff - I know if I take my time I will find the right horse. For the time being, I have more time for Belle, his sweet mom, and lower hay and feed bills will be a plus.
 

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One of the girls aty barn told me to just keep my eyes open. When I found Scotty I hadn't even listed hunter. I fell in love immediately. I still have days that I miss my little man but I come home from the barn with a smile on my face EVERY time. I was at a point that I was not enjoying going to the barn. You will find that right one and when you least expect it. I bought Scotty from my neighbour at our vacation place. I wasn't even looking. I just looked in his eyes. Good luck
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