First, anyone who has horses can look in Quicken and figure out what
it costs to keep a horse per year. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect
to find SOUND, SANE horses READY to WORK for under a couple thousand.
(There are bargains, but far and few between).
Balance a couple of thou against a day or two in hospital, with or
without whatever deductible, etc., combined with lost income, etc. and the
equation starts to balance.
(Matthew Mackay-Smith used to show up at rides with some gorgeous
animals that could really climb trees. Matthew said, "Sometimes I can't
afford both sane and sound and I will not sacrifice soundness." Even
Matthew's horses are pretty sane these days!)
What to do? If you're really fortunate you have a marvelous
resistance free professional nearby who, for less than the cost of a day in
the hospital, will work a 30 day training cure for your bargain. Ideally
this trainer will be close enough for you and your wonder horse to continue
your mutual education.
A real training professional will help you work toward the day when
you no longer need his/her services.
Regarding trail ride descriptions: One of the reasons I have not ridden
many endurance rides is because of the "scary" sections of trail reported to
me. "Scary" to me is a high, narrow trail with nothing to catch me for a
hundred feet and a ground wasp convention going on in the neighborhood. I
would not enjoy living at the edge in this scenario one bit.
NOW, if I were told that the REST of the 50 miles of trail is soft
pine needles and incredible views and that the narrow section of trail is
only about 25 yards long and that the trail is really fifteen feet wide and
that the ground wasps never appear until August and the ride is in April,
THEN I have some good data upon which to base a decision.
Unfortunately, riders love to report the thrills (no we ALL do!)
and the reporting can get a bit out of perspective, so, ride managers,
please do summarize any trail "dangers" and encourage prospective entrants
to call for more info, especially if you do have situations that might cause
the fainthearted to faint!