I turned down Drifter, while complimenting his owner on his many excellent qualities. The reasons I turned him down are mainly due to my situation and the timing, not so much the horse. Something my older daughter said last night really hit home. She said "you already have a project horse - Dawn". If I had taken on Drifter, I would have had two project horses, both requiring regular, and preferably almost daily, work, heading into late fall and winter with problematic weather and no indoor. And the barn isn't my own - I have to pay board - and there are many days I won't be able to do much of anything with a horse, and then there's the deep winter, where there are likely close to 3 months where little riding can be done except with a good trail horse through the snow. And I didn't feel a strong, immediate connection with him - but that's not always been there for me with a new horse, sometimes it takes time, and sometimes that immediate connection can be misleading. It's possible that Drifter will still be available in the spring - she's planning to take him off the market at the end of October - and if he is, and I haven't found another horse, and my younger daughter will be home for the summer to take care of Dawn, I might take another look. One good thing about my experience with Drifter - I was able to determine his confirmation, foot structure and likely soundness before I went, and I was able to take some of my ways of working with horses and apply them to a strange horse and have them actually achieve something in fairly short order - I'm encouraged by both of those things.
So, for now, I'm still looking for my good trail horse with all the other qualities I want. I've got a number of candidates to look at - these three are all in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and would make a convenient trip as a group, if any of them pan out after a phone call and more photos.
Here is horse #10 and her ad:
Here is horse #11 and his ad:
And here is horse #12 and his ad:
Horse #2 is still in the running - she's not too far away from me and I have to be up in that direction some time next week to pick up feed. I want more information on her trail experience (I wouldn't be surprised if she's more halter/pleasure) and need to really see what her conformation and feet look like before I take the time to visit.
All comments on these horses are welcome and appreciated.