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Third bad pre-purchase exam. Should I give up or keep going???

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  • Original Poster

    Originally posted by cindywilson View Post
    OK, so why not give Leigh Gray a call at 626-824-7455. She's the president of the Thoroughbred Rehab Center, a 501(c)(3) located in Bradbury near Santa Anita. (Disclaimer: I'm on her board.) She frequently has a selection of nice, sound OTTB's. I've gotten several of mine from her. A big advantage is that she's a vet tech and the TBRC is located at a vet clinic the owner of which is a professor of veterinary medicine. So the horses she gets are pretty thoroughly checked out and, if they need some treatment (PRP or whatever) or rest, they get it before they are offered for adoption. At this point, I think Jil Walton had four of hers down at Galway Downs.

    Shameless blurb: On April 20-21 is the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show in Orange County. She's taking a few down there and I'll be taking Lenny (We All Love Aleyna) as well. Should be fun. I'll report back after the show.
    Yes, I actually called Leigh a few weeks back. She only has two right now, both on layup. She actually works closely with my last trainer and once watched a lesson I took on my old guy (and remembered him too!). She said one of the geldings is very nice but had a large OCD removed and some related tendon/ligament tearing. Also, he is still recovering from tie back surgery. I was going to see him, but can't ride him at this point and wound up getting Toe Tap first. He's still available, but I'm just plain scared at this point.

    Comment


    • OP - the situation sucks but you are definitely making the smart choice. I know it feels like you spent all your money for nothing but think of it this way - you could have spent all your money to find a horse only to discover an issue or have an injury two months into owning it. Walking away before you buy is far better than having to rehome a lame horse or paying for its care for the next 20 years. (Ask me how I know...)

      I am in that place now of wondering how anyone ever finds and keeps a sound, rideable horse no matter what the price range. Never happens for me...

      Best riding I've done in the past 6 years was when I leased a going horse. I competed quite a bit and progressed and spent far less than the unbelieveable amount of money I have wasted on the four different horses I have bought since then. I say try to find a part-lease, even in a different discipline if you have to, while you build up your funds and look at this as a blessing in disguise.

      Comment


      • What is your gut feeling on this? If only we had a crystal ball that could show us the future. The only thing you really know is that the horse needs extensive rehab. Have you done a rough estimate of costs for this?

        The woman that owns him says he's going to stand in a stall if you return him. Any chance she is trying to guilt you into buying him? So much of our emotions effect our decisions with horses and it's hard not to let them get in the way. It's very hard, but he's not your horse yet and it's the owner's responsibility to do right by the horse not yours. I know that sounds heartless. If you do buy him, then yes, the responsibility falls on you. I think you need to look at what the worst case scenario is and decide if you could live with that. If you can accept that possibility and be okay with it then go for it and don't look back. But the longer you put off making a decision, the more stress you are going to be putting yourself through.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post

          However, my vet strongly urged me not to buy him. I really love and trust my vet. He is INCREDIBLE at diagnosing and treating issues and he did not feel good about this situation. He kept apologizing, but basically begged me not to waste my time and money on this issue.
          Although it's sad for the horse, I think you should listen to your vet. Sure, the horse may get better, but none of us have seen him and your vet did the exam.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

          Comment


          • Well...vets, especially at hospitals tend to be overly dramatic. They ALWAYS paint a very bleak picture. I know. I've been there enough. Also had enough horses beat their odds that I don't believe in the "odds" any more. They are really just guidelines.

            Again...you are not buying him but yes he will certainly cost you. Me, I would keep him. Yes...even if I was boarding. Given your experience with PPE ect. This horse was going pretty well for you and doesn't sound by your description super lame but more importantly, he sounds like he has a lovely mind so may be of use in a trail/pleasure home. So that means to me he has the toughness and heart that will give him a better chance at beating your vets odds.

            I would do the injections, get in a good slow program of work and have some good body worker see him regularly. Yes, this will cost you a bit but you will also get a good education.

            Owning horses and improving yourself as a horseman isn't all about riding. It is about all aspects. This horse will teach you something about how to rehab and injury...and care. No he may not fully recover....but I bet he will recover enough to have a good use. It may or may not be the use you want for him, but it will be a use. You would be taking a gamble....but not really an outrageous one. One that you can learn from so for me it would be worth some of the cost. I would take the time to really educate myself about what may be the best course of rehab. I would be aiming to bring him along and see what he will be capable of....but quickly aiming him for more of a pleasure home if needed. I would be treating as more of an education in bringing along an OTTB, and making him safer and useful even if it will not ultimately be for me. But that is something that I like to do....and then would take my time looking for another prospect.

            At the same point....I've not seen this horse nor know your vet. There are some vets who if they said to me do not take the gamble I would listen...and a few I wouldn't. But honestly....it all depends on you. My vets know me, know that I deal well with things and am rational. I don't make unrealistic expectations and I'm pretty damn good at rehab work (not that it is something I sought out to be good at). Another rider/owner and I'm pretty sure they would say things differently too. So you need to decide what you really want out of horses.....and it may be that you need to not own one for a while until you save up enough to buy more of a going horse that is doing what you want to do.


            ETA: My point...I don't think you would be nuts to keep him (some of us would). You are also not nuts to send him home. You just need to really think what you want from horses. There isn't a right or wrong answer.
            Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 3, 2013, 01:49 PM.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

            Comment


            • I feel your pain OP. Currently on the fence myself trying to decide if I should sink more $ into a horse that is likely not going to work out for me. It was easier the last time I was in this situation because the animal was a nightmare to ride, and I had no compunction to sell cheap. This one is cute and sweet, but still likely a money pit and not worth the investment.

              Ask yourself if you would be so torn if the critter wasn't so charming and lovely. Are you considering investing $ in a potential ride, or are you just being soft hearted because the bugger is handsome and sweet?
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              Comment


              • OP, I feel so sorry for you. You seem to have done all the right things and gotten nothing but bad results. Hopefully, the karma will balance out someday.
                I think you should return this horse, as sad as that might be. I think you should lay off the purchase hunt to give yourself a mental and financial break. Force yourself not to look at horse sale or adoption websites, etc.
                If there is a horse in your barn you can ride, even if she's not your first choice, try that. Who knows, you might click like magic!
                Indulge yourself in lessons and clinics, if that can be arranged.
                Keep the faith, life is long and better things can be ahead.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by BestHorses View Post
                  OP - the situation sucks but you are definitely making the smart choice. I know it feels like you spent all your money for nothing but think of it this way - you could have spent all your money to find a horse only to discover an issue or have an injury two months into owning it. Walking away before you buy is far better than having to rehome a lame horse or paying for its care for the next 20 years. (Ask me how I know...)

                  I am in that place now of wondering how anyone ever finds and keeps a sound, rideable horse no matter what the price range. Never happens for me...

                  Best riding I've done in the past 6 years was when I leased a going horse. I competed quite a bit and progressed and spent far less than the unbelieveable amount of money I have wasted on the four different horses I have bought since then. I say try to find a part-lease, even in a different discipline if you have to, while you build up your funds and look at this as a blessing in disguise.
                  Super comforting post. Thank you. Needed to hear that. Lol, I wonder the same thing all the time now: where are all these sound horses coming from, because I'm certainly not seeing them?!?

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    Sent him home today (sobbing, of course). With hauling, board, PPE, farrier work, thrush treatment, and lameness exam, spent over $1k on this lovely guy. Here's to hoping the owner takes the vet findings she now has for free and actually provides the treatment he needs and deserves. Sad and tired, but ultimately glad that I didn't wins up with any of these horses. They are right for someone, but not me. I don't expect perfection, but I'd like to at least start with a functional and pain-free horse. I'm not going to actively search for a while, but I'll allow myself to follow old leads or things people send me. Soooo feel free to send me a link or two or, better yet, a personal lead. Thanks for all the wonderful insightful comments!!!

                    Comment


                    • I'm so sorry you have had to go through this. I do really hope this guy's owner finds him a home that can put the time and effort into his rehab. My guy has SI issues and the vets had no idea how to treat it. Massage/Chiro/Bodywork/Pentosan and just work to get him back in shape have done wonders. It was expensive and I understand not keeping a horse with this problem at a vetting. I will never sell my horse because if he isn't in shape and kept in shape properly he can go back to square one. I would worry that he would end up in the wrong hands just stuck out in a field. For him the more work the better the more time off the worse he is. Good luck in the future finding the right horse...hopefully something falls into your lap

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                        Thanks for all the wonderful insightful comments!!!
                        I strongly encourage you to look for a lease and enjoy a year of stress-free riding and competing. Even a part lease would work with the right arrangement.

                        Comment


                        • I'm so sorry it didn't work out; he is such a lovely guy. I concur with those who suggest looking for a lease and let the perfect horse show up when he or she shows up.

                          One word of caution, I fully agree/support the notion of being really educated in what to look for as a "pre" vetting evaluation, but I would not recommend trying to flex candidates yourself. Improperly done flexions can definitely make a sound horse look lame. In fact I don't put a lot of faith in flexions and prefer to just go ahead and do films, but YMMV.
                          If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                            Did a comprehensive lameness exam at our equine hospital and found "severe/chronic sacroiliac pain." It has lead to muscle atrophy and attendant dropped hip. Vet said this was an "unacceptable risk" in a potential purchase and that the likelihood of recovery when caught in the acute phase is good, but that his injury has been left untreated for so long that he thinks there is now less a 25% chance of future soundness and that we wouldn't even know that until six months from now (I pay board) and injections, which may or may not work. Awesome.
                            Sorry for the bad news. Obviously time to move on.

                            But I don't understand one thing: if you video-taped this guy prior to vet check, how did all those people miss a 3/5 grade lameness?

                            And what about the OWNER -- WHY is this person putting 2.5 miles a day on a horse? What was the point? That is what you'd be doing with a horse in training to race, so it's hardly "light work". And if he's THAT lame, why didn't SHE see it?

                            If you didn't board, I'd say take him for free and give him a TRUE year off with just regular chiropractic work, but if you pay board that isn't practical.

                            Too bad.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                              Super comforting post. Thank you. Needed to hear that. Lol, I wonder the same thing all the time now: where are all these sound horses coming from, because I'm certainly not seeing them?!?
                              It sounds like you have *terrible* luck. I feel your pain, because I've also had terrible luck.

                              I've got a friend who always seems to land horses with weird-assed behavior issues. It's her talent. A couple times, she's bought a horse from me instead of going out and looking elsewhere, and that has worked far, far better for her. Do you have a friend who is one of those people who always seems to find sound-as-a-dollar horses? If you know someone like that, have HER shop for you. Sort of a bait and switch for your terrible luck.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                                I don't expect perfection, but I'd like to at least start with a functional and pain-free horse.
                                This is key. Why start off with a rehab project? A "free" horse that needs rehab is costing board and vet care all that time and may still not be able to do what you want. I would find it really hard to send a horse on its way after investing the time, emotions, and money. I hope something better for you comes along!
                                Last edited by BestHorses; Apr. 7, 2013, 07:47 PM.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                  It sounds like you have *terrible* luck. I feel your pain, because I've also had terrible luck.

                                  I've got a friend who always seems to land horses with weird-assed behavior issues. It's her talent. A couple times, she's bought a horse from me instead of going out and looking elsewhere, and that has worked far, far better for her. Do you have a friend who is one of those people who always seems to find sound-as-a-dollar horses? If you know someone like that, have HER shop for you. Sort of a bait and switch for your terrible luck.
                                  That is a great idea and one I need to adopt in the future! I think there's something in my brain that likes the look of conformation that leads to stifle issues.

                                  Comment


                                  • I am so sorry... I don't know of anything in your area either... I am all the way on the opposite coast.

                                    Give your heart and wallet a break, a lease is a great idea. Recover and then try again.

                                    Comment


                                    • OP, I am so sorry about all of this. Horses are SO DAMN GOOD at being completely heartbreaking and we keep coming back for more. When my heart horse and I both got hurt two years ago (ended his eventing career and put me in the OR) at a horse trial, I thought I was done. Luckily he is still rideable, but I cannot afford to own two horses and he is very special and will not be sold. I tried so hard to bring him back but deep muscle tears in his back and scar tissue just won't allow him to return to that level.

                                      But to give you a little hope, what I thought was an impossible corner turned out to have a secret door I never dreamed of. I found a cheap, wonderful, sound, amazing (although needs his back injected about once a year or so, oh the irony, but once it is, he's golden, you know there's always maintenance), fun OTTB and although he is still green - he's only 8 - he's learning his job around Novice.

                                      So take a break, give yourself some breathing room. I think you are taking the right mindset in just pulling back and waiting. Opportunities DO fall in one's lap when least expected and while the journey can be soul-rending, it's not a dead end. (((hugs)))
                                      Last edited by wildlifer; Apr. 7, 2013, 10:32 AM. Reason: missing letters
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