Oh where to begin...?
About a month ago I finally found a horse that suits me. I get in contact with the owner, we interview each other and everything looks good. I don't think she (the seller/owner) remembered me. She seems to really care and put a lot of thought into her horses, and really wanted to put the filly into a good home.
The one weird thing was that she hadn't updated her photos since 6 months prior, but kept updating the listing to add details or up the price. I thought that was a little weird but given the fact that the video (also 6+ month old) looked like it was taken by a realllly low quality cell phone the seller probably just didn't have a camera to do it with.
I ask a lot of questions, I'm told she's had tons of ground work and is read to be started. She was supposedly already accustomed to the saddle and bridle, just not backed. I schedule a PPE with a vet and confirm the date with the seller. It's looking good. But when I ask for the address, the seller disappears. The vet gets her number and tries to get in contact with her. Apparently that week the seller's father died. The seller had completely forgotten about the appointment and gave the helper/worker of the farm's number to the vet to reschedule over the holidays.
I get impatient. A week had past and nothing had been scheduled. Finally the vet is able to get in contact and have it done yesterday (after 3 weeks of waiting). I did a full exam with x-rays on all four legs and stifle. I was excited to just see where this filly would go. No grand prix expectations but 3' fences would have been good enough for me.
The vet calls after the appointment and says she won't make any official statements until she gets to look at the larger x-rays but it would appear that everything is great, flexions passed, perfectly sound, except for three things...
1. The horse was very green and clearly had not been handled much over the past couple of months. She followed on the lead willingly but was fidgety when asked to stand.
2. The horse's feet were a little flat and sensitive. Good shape but needed shoes. The vet expressed surprise that the owner hadn't noticed how sensitive the feet were and put shoes on there.
3. It would be hard to say but based on the tiny versions of the x-rays the vet things there is mild arthritis in the rear right hock. There was not swelling and it was undetectable without x-rays. There was also a cold splint.
I got to #3 and sat there in shock. I've seen long 3-year-olds have this happen, but never once a two-year-old. I'm waiting until I get the full report back, and the full x-rays, and then I'll send the x-rays to another vet for a second opinion. Maybe by some mistake, there was no arthritis? I don't know. The vet shouldn't have said anything if there might not be. Can't make a diagnosis from a tiny preview screen.
The owner/seller is not yet aware of the arthritis. I have priority purchase, but another buyer is interested. There are so many red flags here. I requested a contract pending vet check twice but the seller wouldn't allow it. Which, fine, some sellers want to keep their options open.
So to summarize that, the list of red flags:
1. No updated pictures.
2. Seller was allegedly misleading about filly's handling.
3. Whenever I talked about the PPE the seller kept repeating that she didn't think any issues would be found and seemed a little off put by my thorough exam.
4. Seller disappears when a PPE is scheduled.
5. Despite being unable to respond to emails, over the two weeks I was out of contact with the seller the sale listing was updated 3x... one of them with a price increase.
6. The vet's rather early diagnosis regarding a problem that is exceptionally rare on young horses, especially ones bred this well.
I'm still waiting on the full report but I need someone to logic me through this right now. I just don't get it. It would appear to me, at least, that the seller has not been completely honest and has been misleading about the filly's training. I sent a request in yesterday for the filly's vet records and all I got was a brief description from the owner about how the filly never had any problems except for a sore foot.
So I'm not really sure where to go from here. I really don't know... :no: I am trying to keep an open mind and entertain the idea that the seller is telling the truth, or that maybe the vet made a mistake, because I truly do love the filly. But at such a young age, I don't know what to think.
Normally I'd stomp off in the opposite direction of a horse with arthritis but part of me also feels like the filly is the one who is most affected by whether or not I purchase her. I don't know. Does ANYBODY have any insight here?