Ok, so my goal is eventing, and I've had some road blocks along the way. Long story short, I currently have two geldings that I am able to ride. One must be sold or leased. I've had them both since September 2011.
Gelding 1 (Ivan) is a 13 year old OTTB. We're not sure of his actual age, so he could be anywhere between 12-16. While he was a rescue, I have history on him since he was 5 or so. He's got GREAT basics, an incredible desire to please and is a lovely mover. He's been sitting in a pasture, starving and covered in rain rot, for the past three years.
Buuuttt...he's not a fan of outside. I've not had him long, but anytime we go on a laid back trail ride, he's cantering sideways at worst and just tense at best.
First PPX he flexed off on hocks. I had them re-examined, and he was declared 100% sound.
Gelding 2 (Bravo) is a 9 year old BWP x TB. He's a shit mover, but has a ton of heart. I gotta say, I LOVE LOVE his personality. His basics suck, so we've gone back and patched some holes. Barn owner thinks he's not worth it, new trainer really loves him. He's done hunter paces and has some jumping experience.
Bravo has some unexplained lameness and had his SI injected. He has a really awful left lead canter and cannot maintain the canter either lead. It's been suggested that it's muscling, but only time will tell.
Have I given one horse more time when I should have invested it in the other? Does Ivan just not have the brain cells, or have I not give it enough time? Maybe Bravo needs more healing, or maybe I'm going to flush more money because of an emotional connection...
Can you get a second opinion on Bravo or do more diagnostics? I'm guessing it would be cheaper now to figure out what is wrong with him than to keep him another six months "to get fit" and it turns out it is something bad. I don't like the fact he can't hold a canter lead. Hard to say without seeing him go, I guess. Were you jumping him when he couldn't hold a canter lead? How far back does he have experience?? What has been your program to build him up?
The first guy sounds like he will not be a good discipline fit. What does your trainer think about the first horse? Does he/she think Ivan will get over his outdoor issues?
Perhaps you need to sell both? How competitive are you/do you want to be?
When you say Bravo cannot maintain his canter leads..do you mean he can't maintain for 15 secs..30 secs, 2 minutes..How often is he ridden and for how long..Is he showing any improvement no matter how small!!! As far as Ivan is concerned..perhaps he needs more wet saddle pads out in the open. Do you ride him alone outthere or with company? He may get better outthere but you may have to give it more time? Do you want to invest the time is the question you have to ask yourself. There are no guarantees as you know You mentioned that you just want to "jump". You could just do "jumpers" and forego the xctry for now..but of course to be good at jumpers you have to have really good flatwork and the horse has to have talent and heart. It's a tough question and I have been right where you are since every horse I've ever had has issues of one sort or another but given time and patience and work, every horse is good for something!!! I'm not trying to be a PollyAnna here but just sharing my personal experience. I have had one trainer hate the same horse another trainer absolutely loved. In the end the decision of course was mine as it is yours. Perhaps if yo are open to exploring differnet disciplines you may find you and your horse(s) a perfect fit. I have had horses in such crappy unfit condition go on to do jumpers, eventing, low level dressage,foxhunting and yes be a damn good trail horse too but each one got fit at a different rate of speed. The fun part was watching the progression and helping them unlock their potential. Good luck with everything and remember to have fun. Sometimes I get so focused on a certain aspect of training that I forget why I love horses in the first place!
Make sure you have a very good and honorable trainer, one you can trust, and go with your trainer's advice.
There are so many nuances that can't be conveyed through text. Things a more knowledgeable horse person will see in person that we ammy riders won't even know about or see. The person who is there looking at you and the horse is the one to trust.
IMO, don't get in the way of your own horse-happiness by doing too much second-guessing of your trainer, if the trainer's view of your goals matches yours. Particularly of a horse that you think does not have as much quality, but your trainer likes the way you and the horse work together. You will be so much happier - and score better - with a horse that is working with you, than you will with a more talented horse who is not on your side. That is especially true of amateurs with more modest goals, imo.
You aren't necessarily at a disadvantage in ammy divisions with a horse that is not as fancy, if you and the horse are truly a team enjoying your partnership. Plenty of ammys over-mounted on fancy horses will struggle and make mistakes. Opening the door for you & Steady Eddie to take the ribbons and drive them crazy.