Also, thank you all for your kind comments, here and in person, and support. I am so grateful to hear from you -- it helps to know other people have been there and understand.
So The Sprinkler Bandit (and maybe Ellie, and we're planning to meet Vera's Person and Pia's Person and someone who doesn't have a blog) and I are heading west and north on Friday. :) There are three candidates for the position of My New Horse so far that make the cut between "interesting ad" and "I must try this one!" In order of when we'll see them, here they are (and I'm trusting that nobody is going to snap them up before I see them this weekend!!):
Miko, a 14.2, 13 year old Haflinger gelding that has started eventing and appears to really like it. He's unspeakably adorable, as Haffies tend to be. Pros: Good size, good age, good breed, likely to be sound, has some experience in eventing and plenty of experience in the hunter/jumper ring. Cons: Might not dressage as well as some, might not be able to afford him, could be a little too drafty-type of a Haffie. TW says "Interesting! Worth a look." I'm really excited to ride him and see how he goes. His DreamHorse ad is here.
Gator, a 15.3ish, maybe?, 12ish maybe? Thoroughbred gelding that has been eventing with TSB's teacher and her clients for a good while and is now at a hunter/jumper barn to be sold. Handsome fellow for sure and has gone Training. Pros: Known quantity -- owned and ridden and trained by friends and even tried by another friend when she was looking for something to buy, proven ability/track record, almost certainly affordable, supposed to be utterly calm and unflappable, nice forward. Cons: Friend who tried him thought he was kind of spooky/looky in the xc field, hasn't sold in a year or more of being for sale, might be too tall for me, might need careful maintenance to keep weight on, current trainer said something about him being sore in the back, might be too quick for me, TSB's trainer says he moves a little like a sewing machine. I'm definitely interested in riding him and seeing if we click. I would love to come out saying OMG I LOVE HIM! but I am not counting on it either. TW has heard less promising things, but I'm keeping an open mind.
Mambo, a 15.3, 16 year old Standardbred/Paint gelding that's been a dressage horse for the last few years but evented successfully up to Training (recognized) and maybe Prelim (unrecognized) several years ago. I am actually most excited about this one. I am trying very very hard to not get my hopes up. I'm actually a little worried to even post about it, in case I jinx something! (No, self, jinxes do not exist, if it's meant to be it will be, don't get any preformed notions.) Anyway, his video and pictures are very very promising. MT and TW agree that he's cute and I should try him. Pros: Proven experience, is absolutely capable of doing what I want to do eventing-wise, can rock the hell out of the dressage, likely to be sound, kept in consistent work and maintenance, well trained, not likely to be the sort to bolt around, almost certainly affordable. Cons: A little older and might need maintenance (almost certainly needs hocks injected), might be a little tall, might be rusty as far as jumping goes, especially xc, but when I suggested that horses don't really forget going Prelim MT looked at me over the top of his glasses and said firmly "NO. They don't. I mean, would you?" Overall, this looks like it could work, if I like riding him and he vets acceptable. His DreamHorse ad is here.
And what's more, TSB is going to let me ride her mean-ass bastard horse this week too!! Heehehehe. I can't wait -- I must experience the most amazing horse she has ever ridden. :) Plus, she's so right in her reasoning for letting me ride him: he's a different ride from anything I've ridden in umpty years, and it'll be good for me to hop on a TB and know what to expect before we go shopping. And since he's ENORMOUS, and I'm used to much smaller horses, it'll be a good experience for me to be way up there. Nothing I'll see this weekend will seem big compared to Cuna.
I swear. I have awesome friends. :)