So my mother is horse shopping. The last horse she owned, she bought without anyone else looking at it, and it was.....bad. The kind of dangerous, malicious, untrainable bad that goes along and will then do it's best to dump you off some how, if it thinks you don't know what you're doing. If you do know what you're doing, it's nice as pie, but lazy, and often a bucker. The last fall she had, it ran backwards, reared and and then bucked. Mom went over the half wall of the arena, did a somersault, and landed on her upper hip/lower back on the asphalt aisle. Luckily the trainer was there (who said it was blatantly obvious that the horse was being malicious, wasn't confused, in pain, or anything). Mom ended up only with a giant hematoma - she was lucky, very lucky. We (the family and the trainer) told her she was no longer allowed to ride that horse. Finally she sent it to auction and it's on it's way to OH. Dad wants her to get another horse, because she's ridden for 50 years, and horses keep her happy. They ran a successful breeding and training farm for 25 years, and retired from it a few years ago. She's a good rider, but she's had some neurotics in the last years, and her confidence is about nil. My brother and his wife are now running the boarding/training farm and work with a very good reining trainer in the area. The trainer has been giving my mom lessons on some of her horses, and mom has decided to try reining now (we did dressage before). So off mom trots to dreamhorse and the rest, and starts riding horses around the state. She found one she likes a lot, and I told her she can't buy anything without me or my sister-in-law seeing it. No exceptions. So off we went yesterday on a 2.5 hour car ride (one way) to look at a horse. The horse ends up being a somewhat plain looking dun, with good conformation, great training, but most importantly, and EXCELLENT mind. He's a people horse - he likes being by people, but isn't pushy. He's smart but not devious. He's trained but not pushbutton - you have to ask him the right way, and he will willingly oblige. Ask him wrong, and he'll try to give you what you are asking, or if he's too confused, he just stops and lets you gather your wits. He doesn't get frustrated or pushy, just has an OK! Lets do it! attitude. Mom said she wasn't sure at first because he isn't "pretty" or a looker. The more she's seen him and ridden him, the more she likes him. This last time, she tried a spin on him for her first time, and he can spin like a top. She did a few rounds, and then startled herself, it looked like she was reflexing for a rear or bolt, and just pulled up the reins and then dropped them. He stopped. She started laughing because she spooked herself, and he didn't care a bit, just stood there and let her lean on his neck and laugh herself out. I decided he was a safe dude, and wanted to try him. Of course, I kinda had knee surgery 4 weeks ago, and I'm kinda in a brace to restrict movement. So, I took the brace off, wore mom's boots, and then we stopped to figure how would I get on? My left knee is the "bad" one - it's the mounting leg. Then, the owner says, "Oh, I train all my horses to mount and dismount from both sides." You know what, she does - and does well. He stood like a rock as I got on the wrong side, waited til we adjusted the stirrups, and off we went. He's a dream to ride - responsive and sensitive without being touchy, and all good gaits....and what a spin!! He's smooth as can be. I just did walk, jog and lope with him both directions, no slides because he's barefoot right now. The owner did show off his lead changes - he can go from true to counter and back both ways in a straight line, no issues. I didn't want to try since I don't think I have enough leg strength to cue him correctly. It's been a long while since I was on a horse, I think August. It was just SO. MUCH. FUN. being on a horse that is trained and fun, and most importantly, safe. Even though his stop is a good fast, hard stop, he tucks his butt so much you can't come off. I don't think you could fall off him if you jumped - he'd try to stay under you to make sure you stay on. Needless to say, I told her she better buy him. She'll have fun learning to rein with him, and she wants to do some small showing eventually, and I think he'll be competitive. Most of all, he's sane and a good minded horse, which is worth all the gold right now for her, since her confidence is in the drain. He'll make her learn to ride right, and when she can, he'll be a dandy. Good horses are so nice Even if they aren't "pretty" - which is the only thing mom was faulting him for. Screw that. Pretty is as pretty does, and he's a winner in the mind department. He's just got a bit of a plain paintjob on him. My phone wasn't taking good pics of him, but here's "Hollywoods Tornado" with my mom on him (she was getting the nerve up to ride - she's pretty nervous about riding new horses, and you can see he just doesn't mind a bit).