What is "Well Trained"?
I have run into a few unfortunate situations where an owner comes to me, trying to decide if they should keep a horse they have recently bought. These owners loved their horse when they tried it, but after bringing it home, their new companion seemed to turn into a completely different animal. Hard to handle, anxious, disobedient. What changed? The very reason these owners bought the horse was, in their words, because it was "well trained".
The key question you need to be asking yourself is, what was the horse well trained to do? A competitive endurance horse might not be settled enough for a novice recreational rider. A show pony might carry it's child around the ring nicely (with or without prep) but will it be easy to handle in a therapeutic program for a number of volunteers and participants of varying skill levels? All too often what one person considers well trained is very different from what another person wants or needs. And that doesn't even take into account the management aspect. Did the horse live in a field or stall, get lunged or professional training rides, was it worked daily or hardly at all? Is it used to a lot of horses coming and going or did it live with one or two buddies for a long time. Changing a horse's feeding, turn out, or exercise schedule can have a profound effect on your horse's overall demeanor. Is it going to adjust to your expectations or are you willing to adjust to your horse? These questions can make a crucial difference when considering what horse really fits your lifestyle. With training and careful management any number of horses could become the partner of your dreams. But you can set yourself up for success: make sure you know what your potential horse was well trained to do.