I learned a hard lesson with Pete. And while I love Pete dearly and am likely to keep him as a pasture puff/arena riding dolt, I really really want to strike out on my own and enjoy the adventure that is horseback riding.
You never know. After you've learned to ride better and gained confidence, Pete might work just fine for you. I got my first horse at 40+ and took a couple of hard bounces that left me with zero confidence. After a lot of hard work, lessons and time in saddle, I'm doing things with my horses that I never thought I would. I'll never be a particularly good rider, but I can do pretty much whatever I want with my horses, including handling the "unexpected."
Good luck with Harriet. But do keep you wits about you. I'm with LoriB on this one -- suspicious.
__________________________ "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
the best day in ten years,
you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."
...re: "this breed's no good for English riding or foxhunting"--perhaps not so great for English SHOWING, maybe. Here I thought riding had to do with a working relationship between horse and human. Foxtrotters excell at trail riding. They were the chosen mounts for the Forest Service because they were sound and serviceable critters with an easy gait and good endurance. My riding buddy, who has had two MFTs, says that the foxtrot itself makes jumping problematic when gaiting, but that they certainly can and do jump well from the canter. A lot of gaited horses "can't" canter because of lack of proper training or because they are very strongly gaited--a request for more speed just gets a faster gait. Obviously, proper training to take a canter cue and practice would yield a horse that could jump and hunt with first flight safely. If one is hunting with hilltoppers I dont see that a foxtrotter would be a liability AT ALL, since they typically can go all day in the foxtrot. The gait is a definite advantage in that respect since it doesnt, unlike most of the lateral easy gaits, lead to back problems and other unsoundness. With racking breeds you have to be careful to ride them in their other gears as well to prevent swayback and impinging vertebrae etc. Not a problem with the broken diagonal gait. The old adage is true, the foxtrot is "easy on the horse and easy on the man."
I don't think anyone posting to this thread is particularly worried about the gaited / discipline problem. I just think it would be wise for VAHorseGurl to get some professional or more experienced guidance for her shopping trip, regardless of what horse she is interested in buying.
If your trainer is too busy, ask her to refer you to someone who can go with you. Pay someone, it's that important.
It's possible that this mare is lovely and appropriate for you, and it's also possible that she has training or soundness problems that are not readily apparent but which will limit your ability to have a fun and productive riding partnership. The people who can detect such difficulties are experienced horse shoppers and trainers.
I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09
Around here, most of the MFTs and TWH come from dealers. They go down south, pickem up, train them some and sell them on. Wouldnt be a deal breaker, but I would have someone else go with me. I hope Harriet is the gal for you! Shes lovely. About the thick neck, it can certainly go with the breed. Hope shes a go! OP folks are just trying to help you out- so you dont get a re-pete! I forced myself to go look at several other horses, even though I knew she was mine at 1st sight, but I had to look just to satisfy myself.