I want another horse. I'm getting older now - I'll soon be 60 - and I want a horse that I can enjoy going down the trail with, at the walk, trot, canter/lope, for as many hours and miles as we want, and that will hop on the trailer and go with me on excursions, with or without other horses and riders. I have no interest in competition of any sort, although I find the ranch horse/versatility/trail type of competitions more interesting, although I'm not sure I'll ever be competing - I like the idea that horses can deal with whatever's presented and who have a variety of skills. I love learning new things and working with my horses on new things. I don't have any interest any more in jumping, although I enjoy basic dressage and think all horses, in whatever tack they're ridden, can benefit from this work.
So what do I want? Color and gender (no stallions) are unimportant (although I do have a slight bias towards bay horses, particularly bay mares, but that can be overcome). Breed? I've always been partial to big, hot horses, or small ones for that matter, but I think it's time for a change. I'm thinking a QH, Appaloosa, Paint or cross with those. (I realize I'm leaving out lots of good breeds here, but those are my current preferences.) Size? Between 15.0 and 15.2 hands - although I'm tall, I want to be able to easily mount from the ground. Key criteria: a good mind and temperament (intelligent, calm but responsive) come first, as well as complete soundness and the confirmation to stay sound - including really good legs and nice, big, well-shaped feet. I don't mind doing some training to develop a horse that's been well-started at an appropriate age (that is, not too young) by someone who trains horses without using coercive methods and who knows what they're doing. If the horse has already done some miles on the trails, that would be a positive. I don't want a "project" - no horses who've had mental or physical problems "trained in". I also don't want a horse that's been competed heavily in any discipline, or asked to do work that's too mentally or physically challenging at too young an age, or that's spent most of its time in a show barn, stalled environment with limited turnout. Ideally, I'd be buying a horse directly from its breeder or someone who's had/known the horse since it was young - I'd prefer to know the horse's history and the temperament/soundness/history of the horse's immediate relatives. If the horse has color, I want to be sure the breeding was for quality and temperament and not just for color. I'm thinking a horse between 4 to 10 years of age.
I'd prefer to know the horse's breeding - I'm a fan of the old-time classic QH lineages including those that my Noble carried (King, Leo and Peppy for example) and I've got a positive bias towards Three Bars (Noble had a good bit of him in the pedigree). Those of you who know QH lines much better than I do, give me some other names to look for. I'm somewhat leary of horses with Impressive in their lineage, even if they're HYPP N/N - my apologies to those who like these horses, and I prefer more of a working than a halter body type. Those who know Appaloosa and Paint lines, give me your opinions of what I should be looking for or avoiding.
Geographic location isn't key - I'll travel a fair ways to find the right horse and bring it home, although obviously a horse that's close by will be easier for me to look at. I'm willing to bend or break some of these preferences for the right horse, except for the mind, temperament, soundness and confirmation ones - those I'm sticking to, and I'm willing to take the time to find the right horse. Since fall is upon us, it may be spring before I really get going on my search, but who knows? Something good may turn up this fall.
I want a good working horse who can be my companion and pleasure mount for the next stage of my riding life. Any horse that comes to me will be a "forever horse" - I will take care of it myself or arrange for its care with people whose standards of care are equal to mine for the rest of its life, notwithstanding accident, injury or soundness. If you know of such a horse, or know a good person or breeder to get in touch with about such a horse, please let me know privately by e-mail. I'll be searching the internet too - if you have favorite sites, let me know that too. As I evaluate various horses, I may ask for the advice and opinions (public or private) from those of you out there who have so much knowledge to share. This could be fun!