I tried to avoid coloring the previous post with my own opinions. I received some good feedback, much of it in line with my own thoughts on the subject. Thanks to all who commented.
I'm not a stranger to "free" horses, having given away a mare two years ago. But I was absolutely transparent about why she was free. Something to do with the fact that her first instinct when I would plop my butt in the saddle was to rear up and dump yours truly in the dirt.
Regarding, "he is a beautiful, very unique horse with a strong personality and so, so smart." In all fairness, that could very well be a description of Smokey. While I'm not up for a bronc whose first instinct is to bolt, neither am I interested in a lackluster horse that doesn't require that I earn the right to ride. But, as WomanWhoRunsWithHorses pointed out, it could very well mean that the average rider doesn't stand a chance.
"Needs a job". I hear that line too often, and honestly find it to be horse pucky. I need a job, so that I can care for my family and own horses. Horses need to eat, drink, sleep and crap. It's just more likely that they will be able to do the first two if a human has them engaged in an activity.
I'm not too keen on taking a horse with "terms" either, unless it was a care lease situation. If it is for the purpose of ownership, once I take the horse, transfer the registration, and start bearing the cost of upkeep, the seller doesn't, in my opinion, have any say in the matter. I'm good with permitting first right of refusal on a horse, but that's about where it ends. I'm not obligated to keep anyone informed of his progress. Except, maybe, for Mrs. BR. And all my readers. And family and friends. Well, you get the idea.
I have mixed feelings with regard to the lesson with the trainer. This can be helpful in learning what cues the particular horse has been taught, as opposed to spending time experimenting. On the other hand...
There is no certification process to become a horse trainer. Heck, I could hang a shingle out claiming to be to be such, convince some hapless victims that I know what I doing, and voila!
I've met a few "(insert big name trainer here) certified" trainers whom I wouldn't let train a stuffed animal, let alone a horse. I even find some of the Big Name Trainers to be a tad on the hokey side. But that's another post. And while I subscribe to the "Natural Horsemanship" idea, the phrase seems to be getting a bit worn out.
At 14.2 HH, he's also a bit on the short side for my tastes.
In closing, I'm going to let this marinate. The family BR will be in Vancouver, WA this weekend for the first High School Equestrian Team meet of the year, so there's no time for looking at horses for at least a week and half. If he's still on the market, I might take a trek to Olympia for a looksee, since it's only an hour south of here.