If you were shopping for your next hunter and had the choice of the following two horses, which do you think you would pick?
Very laid back on the ground and under saddle. Photos show good form over a fence, has SJ, show hunter and dressage placings. Sounds very easy and fun on the hunt field, perfectly capable of taking me out hunting. Bought on slowly and carefully. Good price as is in a 'remote location' (by New Zealand standards!)
Sounds reasonably easy going, though a bit hotter. Photos show exceptional jump (over real gates and some good sized jumps). Didn't start jumping til he was 5. Has hunted less than 6 times, was on his toes but settled (no bucking or jig jogging). Has had some dressage schooling, lots of beach riding and swimming. Priced fairly, though a decent amount more than horse 1. In same location, not flexible on price.
Both are geldings, similar ages, horse 2 is a little smaller. I'm going to take a drive and ride them both, which I'm sure will tell me which one I want. But I thought it was an interesting question - would you rather buy: a steady eddie type who you know will look after you, or something a little hotter, not proven on the hunt field but with an exceptional jump?
Yes, I do want to do some SJing over the spring/summer. Horse 1 has done it, Horse 2 certainly has the potential. Plus I look at the photos of Horse 2 and think 'it would be rude not to compete that!'
I've txt some friends - turns out Horse 2 belongs to a friend of theirs, who breaks in their young horses. They have seen and ridden the horse and have some video of it that I'll see tomorrow.
Also, friend B has bought a mare from the same guy, through the same friends. Mare looks like she will be a priceless horse - B has had bad luck trying to start hunting (unsuitable horses) but was flying round the hunt course, leading other riders, jumping hedges and wire with a massive grin on her face. Mare very quiet and laid back, while still being a good little jumper. (I'm so, so happy for B, it's their first hunt together tomorrow, yay!) Friends say that Horse 2 is like the mare, just with more spunk.
My last mare I took from a 4.5yr w-t-c broke to competing and through her first season hunting. She was fairly sharp and occasionally a tad rude to ride at the beginning - but turned out well. So I'm not too worried about Horse 2 not being a made hunter - I just want something a little more straight forward than the mare. Horse 1 sounds very easy and if I don't buy him I know a couple of people who would probably be interested.
Height isn't a concern for me at all - unless they're over 16.2, which I just find a bit big (though all my riding lately has been bigger hunters).
But, all that said, even though I'm leaning towards Horse 2, Horse 1 certainly looks very nice, very easy and fun. Riding both will be the only way!