I found Nina on Craigslist. Not an ideal place to find a horse, but there are lots of cheap horses there. She was listed as a Thoroughbred mare, not for an inexperienced rider. I called on the ad and the owner told me that she had listed this ad months ago, never got a call and never relisted it. That was strange because I found her at the top of the ads. Serendipitous computer glitch.
When I went to see her I was hugely unimpressed. Her owner was exercising her in a round pen. She was skinny, had her ears pinned back, kicked out occasionally and appeared lame on one hind leg. On closer exam, she had a deep infected cut on one hock. She was also barefoot and moved footsore. She stayed turned away from the person, but stood quietly when I approached and took a close look. She was a shabby, unhappy looking horse, but she also looked like she dished out as much abuse as she took. Her owner confirmed that she was unable to ride her much as she had a tendency to rear and to bolt. She had purchased the mare bred and raised the foal, which was now 3 years old and a sweetheart to work with. She was over her head with this mare, knew it and was ready for her to just be gone.
I followed when she took the mare back to the pen where she lived with a small group of mares, including her daughter. She had bite and kick marks on her and when she went into the pen she shied away from the other horses, who all pinned ears at her, confirming that she was low on the pecking order. She walked over to a corner of the pen, raised her head and stood looking like the aristocrat she was bred to be. Humbled but unbowed.
I thanked the owner for her time and drove away. I didn't need a horse that needed as much rehab as this one did.