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Horse purchase saga - would you trial lease or walk?

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    Horse purchase saga - would you trial lease or walk?

    Long story short, we've been looking at a 12yo horse for several months as a novice/training prospect (he was off for awhile due to a turnout injury). He fully recovered from that, but the day of our PPE he came in from turnout lame on a front leg.

    Vet said he needs shoes as his feet basically have no sole (he was trimmed a few days before). There was also a rock that we picked out of the foot but he was still sore after. We gave him a week to recover and returned with vet. He was much better, no digital pulses, but still slightly lame. Vet blocked the foot and was ready to sign him off with recommendation that he get shoes if he looked OK but then he came up lame in the hind! That leg had flexed and jogged fine and no soreness with hoof tester.

    The person leasing him called their vet out the next day who confirmed what our vet saw except she also found some tenderness in the front of the hind foot. She also agreed he needs shoes but wasn't able to diagnose further without blocking and possibly xrays.

    Owner is not willing to do any further diagnostics. In fact she wouldn't even pay to shoe him--the leasee volunteered to do that even though her lease is ending this month.

    Our vet and trainer both agree the horse has some really nice qualities but they do have obvious reservations. No one has flat out told us we should walk, but I'm hearing "there are a lot of horses out there." We do really like him and haven't seen many great prospects in the area, although there is one we'll be looking at next week.

    If it's just a matter of needing shoes, we can live with that. But I don't want to get into something that might turn out to be a long term nightmare.

    The leasee says she's never had any lameness issues other than the turnout injury and has never been pulled up at a dressage show. She and her trainer both have said he needs a little time to warm up. On a recent ride she said it took about 20 minutes but once warmed up he moved well and had a lot of power.

    Owner says she'd agree to a 1 month off-property lease with option to buy if we put down the agreed purchase price as a deposit. Otherwise after his lease ends, he'll be going to a sale farm. Leasee is getting him shod in the next few days. We'd only start the lease once a vet confirms he's sound. Not sure how long that will take. It's been 1.5 weeks since the initial lameness.

    The most we'd be out is likely trailering fees and another lameness exam. (We'd be giving up one of the horses we currently have so no change in board fees).

    My main concern is having insurances in place to get our money back if it doesn't work out. The only reason we'd likely not purchase at end of trial is if he comes up lame again so I'd want to make sure there aren't any complications if that happens. A lawyer friend recommended including language to the effect of "The parties are aware that equestrian sport is inherently dangerous and expressly agree to hold the other party harmless in the event of equine or human injury or mortality" to help cover us.

    Should we try the lease option or move on? We do still plan to keep looking but it might require a trip out of state.


    #2
    I’d walk.

    First, how do you know he fully recovered from his turnout injury? Second, an owner who lets a horse who needs shoes walk around lame barefoot isn’t someone I’d trust to buy a horse from. Third, 20 minutes of warm up seems a long time to get him to move well, especially for a 12 year old. And thats 20 minutes of warmup time when he’s shod and “sound”? So he’s got other problems, too. Lastly, “never pulled up at a dressage show” is not a standard I would be settling for.

    Easy pass.

    Comment


      #3
      No foot, no horse. If you want a horse to ride, pass on this one. Find one that is sound right now while doing the work you intend to use it for.

      (If you're into that sort of thing and it's cheap and you're willing to take the risk and do the rehab, and you *really* like him, then maybe. But only if you feel like paying for more diagnostics and/or have room to chuck him out in a field for the summer and see what happens.)
      --
      Wendy
      ... with Patrick and Henry

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by punchy View Post
        I’d walk.

        First, how do you know he fully recovered from his turnout injury? Second, an owner who lets a horse who needs shoes walk around lame barefoot isn’t someone I’d trust to buy a horse from. Third, 20 minutes of warm up seems a long time to get him to move well, especially for a 12 year old. And thats 20 minutes of warmup time when he’s shod and “sound”? So he’s got other problems, too. Lastly, “never pulled up at a dressage show” is not a standard I would be settling for.

        Easy pass.
        Yeah, the owner not shoeing him at a minimum is a concern. I'm not sure how she plans to sell him if he doesn't have the maintenance he needs to stay sound. It's funny bc she keeps emphasizing how she wants him to go to a good home and thinks we'd be a good match for him. But then why not spend a couple hundred bucks to make him more comfortable after two vets made the same recommendation?

        The 20 min warm up was actually yesterday so he's likely still sore. But that time frame did raise my eyebrow, especially as it's not like we're in the dead of winter. When our trainer rode him a few weeks before the PPE he noted that the horse was a little stiff on one side initially, but it worked itself out so he wasn't too bothered. The vet looked at the videos and liked what she saw overall although she did point out that he was a little short in the right hind, which is where he's now lame.

        I guess I just wonder if he ends up sound after some time in the shoes, would there be a reason not to still consider him?

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by wsmoak View Post
          No foot, no horse. If you want a horse to ride, pass on this one. Find one that is sound right now while doing the work you intend to use it for.

          (If you're into that sort of thing and it's cheap and you're willing to take the risk and do the rehab, and you *really* like him, then maybe. But only if you feel like paying for more diagnostics and/or have room to chuck him out in a field for the summer and see what happens.)
          We would only take him on lease IF he is confirmed sound. So I feel like if that were the case it wouldn't be such a risk, right? Only question is how long it will take (if it is just a lack of shoes).

          I'm curious how a sale farm works--never worked with one. Would they still show a horse to a potential buyer if he's not fully sound?

          Comment


            #6
            I'd pass.
            I know you really like him but you will likely be putting a lot of money into him to get him sound enough to ride and keep riding.

            Leases are easy to get onto and hard to get out of.

            Not to scare you, but he sounds arthritic to me. That doesnt necessarily mean you cant ride him and he'll be unsound forever, but it means meds and extra treatments and it may change how often you can ride and how much.

            Be patient and search some more, or make it clear to the owner that you arent going to lease the horse until it passes a lameness exam.

            Good luck.
            Certified Guacophobe

            Comment


              #7
              I think you'd be taking a big chance if you bought him "as is." I'd also be wary about taking him on a lease, given the owner's apparent hands-off response about the horse needing shoes. You might find yourself chasing an elusive diagnostic rabbit, with mounting costs.

              If you like him, I'd do the following. Go ahead and look at that other horse that you mentioned in an earlier post. Maybe you'll love horse #2 and that will be that.

              If you don't buy horse #2, I'd say to horse #1's owner: I'm interested, but I won't buy him until he's going sound. Then let the owner decide about putting shoes on the horse and doing whatever diagnostics need to be done. If the owner says no, then I'd walk.
              "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

              Comment


                #8
                I'd walk. A 12 year old horse shouldn't need "a while to warmup", and I would never buy a horse showing any lameness at the PPE, and especially if it wasn't resolved a week later.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jcc813 View Post
                  .................The leasee says she's never had any lameness issues other than the turnout injury and has never been pulled up at a dressage show. She and her trainer both have said he needs a little time to warm up.

                  On a recent ride she said it took about 20 minutes but once warmed up he moved well and had a lot of power..........................
                  The last sentence of what you posted makes me question that the horse has never had any lameness issues. He obviously has something off if it takes 20 minutes to warm him up so he can move well.

                  Unless the price is cheap and you are willing to take a gamble, I'd walk away.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It may be savvy of the owner to leave him barefoot so that can be used to explain all the lameness issues. "Just put shoes on him and he'll be fine." That can mask other more subtle issues.

                    I take it the horse is lame barefoot in soft arena footing. That is a red flag to me. All horses should go fine barefoot in an arena, on pasture, and on asphalt. Whether you put shoes or boots on them to go trail riding on rocks and gravel is a personal decision. You might want to shoe a competition horse that doesn't trail ride much, just to ensure consistency on different footings and on the showgrounds outside the arena.

                    But a horse that is actually lame barefoot in an arena has deeper problems that shoes might mask but not cure. It could just be a stone bruise. However I would pass. No foot, no horse, as they say.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I would walk. 20 min to warm out of something - he’s probably got issues. They would be lucky to free lease him.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Tell the owner she can call you when he's sound- otherwise keep looking. So many things can go wrong with a horse that passes a PPE with flying colors that I would never want to start with one that is already unsound.
                        A blonde & her hunter:
                        www.hunkyhanoverian.com

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Just to clarify, buying him out right is definitely off the table. The only thing we'd consider is a trial lease to own. And we'd only do the lease if he passes a lameness exam. But as someone alluded to earlier about getting out of leases being difficult, that's kind of my concern. How would we best protect ourselves?

                          He's getting shoes plus pads in the front now regardless--only because the leasee is a generous person who cares for the horse even though he's not hers.

                          I guess I'm just wondering if we should still keep him in mind over the next few weeks waiting to see if he gets any better and do another lameness exam, or should we just let this one go as hard as it is with everything else we like about him?

                          The fact that he flexed fine, palpated well in the back, and obviously has thin soles that need shoes makes me want to think it should be resolved with shoes. The long warmup time gives me pause--but maybe that's sore feet related since our trainer didn't have major concerns when he warmed up the horse? Yes, they're riding in a sand arena most of the time. The leasee says he's always been reluctant to walk on the gravel paths.

                          Our trainer is going to be at the barn in a couple weeks for an event so I was kind of thinking of asking him take a look for us while he's there anyway. I trust his eye more than just the leasee's as she didn't pick up anything wrong when we sent videos from his last exam. She just thought he needed to be ridden more forward and engaged more.

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by HJdaydream View Post
                            Tell the owner she can call you when he's sound- otherwise keep looking. So many things can go wrong with a horse that passes a PPE with flying colors that I would never want to start with one that is already unsound.
                            Honestly I don't think we can rely on her for much. Through the end of this month, I can get updates from the leasee but I'm going to want someone whose eyes I trust more to tell me if he actually looks sound (even if it's just from a video).

                            After this month, he's going to a sale farm so I don't think the owner is going to be keeping tabs on him other than if he sells or not. I'd probably have to get in touch with the farm but I don't know how much that complicates our original agreement with the owner (i.e. would a purchase then have to go through the sale farm instead of a direct transaction with her? I assume they'll be taking a commission on the sale price so it wouldn't really be in our interest).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I’d walk. 12 is young to need a lot of warm up and old for a “prospect” in the sport you want to pursue. I might feel different on the “prospect” part if he were already a successful eventer and you were looking to downstage him to dressage or lower levels than he’s currently competing, but it sounds like you’re going the other way? If he’s having issues now, how’s he going to hold up with the galloping/jumping bits?

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I'd walk. 20 minutes to warm up a 12yo that isn't sound right now? No thanks. Once you put shoes on him and he shows up lame after a XC school then what? Pads? Pour ins?

                                What's she going to do when the sales farm wants shoes on him?

                                I have a incredibly nice 9yo 17 hand grey gelding who's dead quiet and fancy in my barn right now. We free lease him as my fiance's trail riding horse because he has crappy feet and doesn't hold up for a heavy schedule with jumping.
                                http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I would walk based on the full purchase price upfront. I wouldn’t trust a seller, who can’t even be bothered by shoes, to honor that agreement if it didn’t work out. I also find it curious no one is willing to do diagnostics.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I feel a bit bad for the horse, he probably needs a career change to maybe just dressage or flat work.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Another vote for walk. So many red flags here! There are in fact many many other horses out there capable of Novice/Training. You do not need to settle for a lame “prospect.”

                                      The owner sounds like a real piece of work. If she won’t even put shoes on her lame horse to get him sold, what else is she skimping on or not disclosing? Maybe the reason it takes him 20 min to warm up at the ripe old age of 12?

                                      Pass and don’t look back. I hope the horse finds a better home but you don’t need to be the one to take the risk.
                                      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Libby2563 View Post
                                        The owner sounds like a real piece of work. If she won’t even put shoes on her lame horse to get him sold, what else is she skimping on or not disclosing? Maybe the reason it takes him 20 min to warm up at the ripe old age of 12?
                                        Well the one positive is that for the last 1.5 years he’s been in a free lease with someone who’s taken pretty good care of him. She told me the owner’s only been out twice in all that time to see the horse.

                                        I know the leasee really wants him to go to a good home and she was hoping that would be us. She keeps insisting that he isn’t lame—just sore. But honestly she’s not an expert. She told me typically he does take 15-25 mins to “get swinging”—tail lifted and moving straight and forward and that it’s not uncommon for a TB. I’m a little more skeptical.
                                        She says the grand prix riders at her barn also agree that he just needs to be warmed up to get going. That just sounds odd to me for a 12yo that isn’t being worked very hard. Can a horse just be “lazy” like that?

                                        It is true that he doesn’t have much show experience other than several dressage (and all on premises no traveling). He’s only done 2 HTs at novice. When the owner had him she kind of just putzed around on her own for a bit but didn’t do much with him.

                                        So the leasee confirmed he got 4 shoes today with pads in the front and he was walking fine after. She said the farrier she’s been using has been telling her over the past year he needs shoes. Apparently the owner always wanted to keep him barefoot. When she asked for permission this week to shoe him apparently the owner’s response was that she didn’t care either way. That makes my blood boil a little.

                                        Comment

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