I agree with trying trail ride places. There is one not far from me that buys auction horses, frequently from the kill pen, puts miles on them and either sells them immediately or uses them on his trail ride string. He always has the packer types for sale in various types.
Do you know any of the 4H people in your area? sounds like you're looking for the "sadly outgrown" 4H horse who started Suzie in showmanship when she was 10 and has been passed by for the fancier upgrade. He's probably hanging out in the back yard waiting for Suzie to be ready to part with him... until Suzie is ready for college and her parents insist on rehoming him. I second the idea of calling your local therapeutic programs to see if they have a horse who didn't quite work out, or if they've been contacted about a horse that doesn't meet their needs right now but might be a good candidate. You'd be amazed at how many calls they get.
You guys won't believe this, but I found something lovely on Dreamhorse, and my trainer is talking to the people right now! He's not close, I would have to have him shipped ... and might have to buy sight-unseen ... but so far, he's measuring up as "perfect." Video being sent now!
Just know that these are the hardest horses to find....and lots of b.s. out there! We lucked into such a horse for my daughter, and have never had a horse like him since. QH type paint that 'aint - bay with bald face. Did it all and never turned a hair.
Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique
The deposit is paid, the sale on DreamHorse is marked "pending," another potential buyer has been cancelled, the ppe is scheduled. We're now working on finding a hauler. Wow! This feels so right. I am beyond excited!
Find a cutting horse prospect than couldn't quite make it in the show ring. They are incredibly broke, usually not scared of much, if anything, and generally all around solid citizens who have been hauled around and seen a lot. And, due to the nature of cutting, generally on the smaller side. The National Cutting Horse Association has a list of trainers on their website, so I would start by contacting one of them. www.nchacutting.com
Good luck on your search!
Second this. Our pony-sized quarter horse gelding, who supposedly flunked out of cutting horse school, was a little green when we got him 5 years ago, especially for English, but was/is just about as bomb-proof as they come. Has "buttons" that we're still discovering, such as the time a few years ago when my daughter had to do a 180 turn on the haunches in a 4-H hunt seat equitation class. I figured that move was probably basic training for a cutting horse and sure enough, we worked with him for about 15 minutes and he nailed the move in the class!
Oh yeah--we found him at a draft horse sale, so look everywhere!
Yay! Just got word from the vet, and he passed the ppe "with flying colors." We are scheduling the shipping and he should be arriving soon to cash in his winning lottery ticket!
Suspense is over, here is his Dreamhorse ad:
Parker is a Gorgeous Chestnut and White Paint Pony gelding. He stands 14.0 hands tall and is 12 years old. He has BEAUTIFUL color, with outstanding markings. He has kind brown eyes and a nice long mane and tail. He walks, trots and canters. Has been trail ridden all over, down the roads, in heavy traffic, comfortable around dogs, cats, goats, cattle, farm equipment etc. He ties, bathes, clips (even his ears) walks right in the trailer...very nice feet (sound) and clean legs. Perfect size for an adult, yet good for kids too! The ultimate all around pony! .current on his vaccinations, coggins for 2013, worming and trim...all you have to do is get on and enjoy! or hitch him up for him to drive you around...she is very respectful and very kind! HE IS A SUPER MOVER...walks, trots and canters....very sound, clean legs, great feet, SUPER PRETTY.
The granddaughter is going to flip out. I love that she stubbornly maintains King is still her "best friend," and that she almost cries every time she says that ... but hopefully Parker will carry her onto many more happy adventures -- exactly as King would have wanted!