I had a good long conversation with the owner of horse #3 yesterday. She's a lady of 60 years plus, who has two horses, a mare and a gelding (his name is Drifter). She no longer has the time or energy to take care of two, and the mare has some health issues that would make her more difficult to sell and is slightly smaller than Drifter. The owner is only 5'3" and finds it easier to get on the mare from the ground. She is clearly very interested that Drifter find the right home, and wants an owner who will keep him permanently and not sell him on. I like that his owner cares what happens to him and wants to be very clear about his strengths and weaknesses.
She says he is a good, smart, basically calm horse with a sweet and willing disposition. She bought him from a woman who had owned him from the time he was a yearling. He has a good walk, trot and canter, which she says are very comfortable. He is very responsive, with both whoa and go (he's got Jet Deck on the bottom, and Three Bars all over, so there's the go - remember than my Noble had a lot of go and a lot of Three Bars). He has never worn shoes and has never been footsore, unsound or had a serious illness like colic. He's had regular farrier care and worming and is up to date on vaccinations (I'll have to find out what these are.) He's a playful sort and like to pick up and throw a jolly ball or nose a soccer ball around. She's done some Parelli ground work with him and has also done some Clinton Anderson exercises. He has all the basic things - he ties, clips, loads (he's only been in a slant-load) and is good for the farrier and vet. His herd status is middle of the pack except in a small group where he might be the alpha, although he's not a strong alpha.
She says that he needs a rider who will give him direction - he isn't suitable for a complete beginner or someone who is timid. I don't get the impression that he's difficult, just that he needs a confident leader - she says he tends to worry if not given direction, or if he's pressured or pushed, and he's a sensitive horse. The worst thing he's ever done was to be nervous and somewhat alert - he didn't do anything bad - the first time she took him on to a strange place for a trail ride. He's never bucked, bolted, spun or reared. The best thing about him according to her is his personality. She did mention that he's always been ridden on a loose rein - I'll need to make sure there isn't a problem hiding there (dental, etc.) although I expect it's a style of riding thing and just a training hole. I'm actually glad he's a horse that hasn't had his mouth messed with or been forced into a headset. I'll be asking more about his trail experience.
It'll be interesting to meet him in person - they're about 5 hours from me, so I'll drive up Thursday and see him Friday morning - he sounds like a horse who appreciates leadership but also isn't likely to take matters into his own hands. His disposition sounds pleasant and even funny/entertaining, and he's clearly willing and wanting to please. I like the leg and foot structure and his history of soundness. Things will snap into focus when I meet him, but unless something's not right, I think, based on what I've heard, that I may like him. If he suits me, I'll see if she'll give me a 30-day trail, but regardless of that, I'll be having a full vet check and x-rays of feet, pasterns, knees and hocks.