It always amuses me when people brag about their horse's pedigree, especially when the horse is less than impressive. It's even more hilarious when people say, "He goes back to the Bedouin Turk!" or, "He's a great-great-great grandson of Man O' War!"
Ha. Victor is from the Man O' War line, and that's not something I'm particularly proud of. Man O' War was a nasty son of a gun and horses from his line have a tendency to be quirky and high-strung (Vic's living proof!). Granted, knowing a horse's pedigree is nice and it's even nicer when it's a good pedigree. I like to know that my horses have good health and soundness in their family.
On the other hand, it won't turn me off when I'm looking at a horse that has a not-so-famous pedigree or no papers at all. Bloodlines mean next to nothing to me, unless he has an ancestor like Impressive. I care about the animal I'm seeing in front of me. I couldn't care less if he's sired by Doc O' Lena if he has nothing to show for it.
I was at an auction a while back and this snooty girl rides in on a skewbald gelding. The horse is cute, but not gorgeous. She's all cocky and starts spouting off about the horse's incredible pedigree and apparently famous roping stallions that he's descended from (I don't know much about stock breed pedigrees, so I don't remember exactly what she said). But ummm... the only reason I would care about bloodlines is if the horse actually inherited the traits that made its ancestors famous. Or if I was going to do breed circuits. Which I don't and I don't plan to, so I rest my case.
The primary things that I care about are level of training, conformation, and temperament. I know some people who don't care as much about temperament, but to me it's just as important as good conformation. If our personalities clash, it sucks the fun right out of it and it's not even worth it.
One more thing I look for is a "perfect face". It's not as important and I try not to be too picky, but I'm a sucker for horses with perfect necks and faces. I can't get past jug-heads, knife-necks, or ewe-necks. I like curvy, muscular, well-shaped necks that tie in nicely to the shoulders and head. I especially like faces with sharp, chiseled features and gentle eyes. That's just my personal preference. Some people like the softer, cuter look. And some people don't care either way. ;D
I'm not sure how we got on the subject of faces... hehe.