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ISO Opinions - Would you take the gamble on this horse?

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  • ISO Opinions - Would you take the gamble on this horse?

    Looking for some insight from an outsider. I absolutely adore this horse due to how sweet he is and am trying not to make a decision based on how much I like riding him.

    Horse is very pretty, well bred 7-9 yr old warmblood gelding. Not much experience in the show ring but I don't want to show A/AA anymore so I'm ok with that. Has some holes in his training but sweet animal that learns quickly. I've been cheaply leasing him for a bit now and have never had a bad ride. I want something I can enjoy riding after work, school around 1.10, and occasionally jump up to 1.20 which he does do currently. No budget for something that doesn't have a quirk somewhere.

    I was recently approached by the owner to buy him at a fire sale price (mid four figures as opposed to the mid/low figure list price). I'm interested (because who isn't interested in a nice, cheap horse) but I have a concerns regarding future soundness. I found out he failed a PPE in the past due to lack of space between proximal and distal intertarsal joint in his hock and bad flexions. He does not have a lead change on one side that would correlate with a bad hock. So there is definitely something going on but he is sound now and has been sound the entire time I've ridden him. He currently has a bad farrier, no vet maintenance, and no dental care. I do not trust the owner to be completely honest about him as they're kinda crazy and are the ones denying to pay for care despite it being available (I offered to pay for it, they said it wasn't necessary so stalemate). Minimal trainer involvement so his opinion isn't a factor at this time. I would do my own PPE to get more information before buying but since I already know he'll fail it's really just a question of am I willing to take the risk.

    Buying would mean I can take full control over his care/maintenance and have more stability around future planning then the current month to month lease provides but would also be responsible for a horse that may not stay sound. So would you take the gamble to buy or just keep leasing for as long as he's available?



  • #2
    You don't have to answer these, but this what I'd think about.

    Can you afford to retire him if he doesn't stay sound? Do you like him enough to own him if you can't ride him? Or what would happen if in the future, you need to sell him, would his issues put off other buyers. Would you be ok if he stayed sound for 1 year, 2 years, 5 years -- and retired for 10 years? Would you rather take less risk and lease horses, to have something sound to ride? Is it easy finding lease horses or horses you click with.

    IMO, how much you enjoy riding the horse does affect the decision to purchase, and no horse is guaranteed to stay sound... so, I understand not wanting to be ruled by your emotions, that's not a bad thing at all, but I think one way to frame ownership is "does this horse make me happy enough to spend $xxxx to buy him, and spend another $xxxx per month to keep him". Also, I think it's almost better if they have some known issues; it always seems to be the one that vets "clean" that ends up NQR or badly injuring itself.

    Anyway, what about a year-long lease, if you don't want to buy? Or 6 months? If he stayed sound during this time, in regular work and jumping 1.10-1.20, would you have less qualms about buying him?

    Is there a price low enough where you would be ok taking a chance on him? Say it dropped to low 4-figures, or they were willing to negotiate based on PPE. Are there maintenance issues/PPE findings you would be ok with?

    Since you know this horse has issues, during/after PPE, I would ask your vet what they think of the maintenance the horse will need and roughly how much that will cost, and see if that fits into your budget (and pad the amount a little...or a lot, since it's horses). Ask about fusing/fused hocks, too (though I'm not sure if those are the hock joints that fuse).

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    • #3
      I would PPE and see if his issues are manageable with maintenance, and if you can comfortably move forward understanding the cost of that maintenance. He could end up being a hell of a deal if his hock issue is easily improved with something like injections and you are comfortable with the cost.

      Or, vet could say that his issues will be difficult or impossible to manage and that it is only a matter of time before he can't jump at all. You really dont have enough information without the PPE IMO to truly make a decision right now.

      My horse didn't vet perfectly (changes in the hocks) but my vet felt confident he could do the job I wanted for a long time with some routine maintenance. He was otherwise the right fit for me so I moved forward with the purchase and I haven't looked back.
      A blonde & her hunter:
      www.hunkyhanoverian.com

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      • #4

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        • #5
          Do a full PPE to make sure there aren't other issues involved. Personally I have found hocks to be quite manageable for lower levels, but of course I would work with my vet to determine severity. Hope he works out for you!

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          • #6
            Big yellow light is this horse, from what you share, has been sitting, never been in a regular program at a moderate level of work, lacks a lead change one direction for physical reasons, is 7-9 (or older if foaling date is unknown, teeth can be off by several years once the mouth matures) with the joints of a middle aged, higher mileage horse. Add the fact you have a limited budget and that starts to raise a red flag.

            Fixing and maintaining the things you mention costs money and will continue to cost money to keep up with. You could be buying a vet bill. You could also not realize how uncomfortable or even painful it is for this horse to jump around and that might be the reason he has been so lightly used and his price dropped so dramatically.

            NO way you should proceed without a PPE including x rays of all legs and feet and a look at the SI and hip area by your selected vet with you present. Owner may very well have left a few things out claiming what was found either through ignorance or diliberately. If you weren't there, you don't know. With no vet care, bad farrier and overall bad care, it sounds like there's more to the story here and a reason this horse has gone through a whole 33% of his life so far not doing much.

            You could do a 6 month full lease, it is customary to assume all expenses in a full lease. You could be looking at a couple thousand in diagnostics, possibly another 1k or more for injections or other treatments and continuing costs in maintaining arthritic conditions. Plus the difference between a decent farrier on a regular schedule and what he's got now needs to be added in. Price out hock injections from the vet you will be using and have a good farrier review the foot x rays and develop a schedule and plan, price that out.

            Buying based on emotion and budget often leads to heartbreak when the buyer finds they can't afford the needed vet and farrier care. That is probably why current owner doesnt do these things, they can't afford it and should not have bought it either. If you board out and can only afford one horse? Not ideal.

            Just afraid buyers get swept into situations buying questionable horses they find they cannot afford despite good intentions and the horses end up in the same or worse situations. If OP has a decent horse care budget including vet, her own farm or other guaranteed place to park the horse if he needs a lay up or proves unuseable and something else to ride? Advice might be different,

            As is, this is pretty risky and too dependent on sketchy info about past history and second hand info on vet results.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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            • #7
              I'm a way bigger gambler than most apparently, because a nice young horse currently sound for what I'm doing with this actual horse when I have no goals to do more at present is absolutely a risk i would take. From 1.10 honestly there's a lot of room to step down and still enjoy.

              I would not do an extensive four figure ppe on a mid four figure horse I was already leasing and riding without issue.
              Let me apologize in advance.

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              • #8
                I think I personally am with ladyj79. But that is just me. If the horse was working sound, and I liked it, I would probably buy it. There's no guarantee that a horse with a perfect PPE couldn't just drop dead tomorrow. So any horse you buy is a risk--and I tend to look at how the horse is going for me right now.

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                • #9
                  FWIW, I do not consider a horse with only one lead change due to physical restraints 'sound'. This may not be a problem for you and your goals, but he is clearly restricted by the hock.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you all for the input!

                    Regarding the age and lead change, I do know his exact foal date from his breeder (he's out of a well-known stud) but kept it vague in the post since owner is a little crazy. He can do the lead change but it's not consistent or automatic like the other side so I hesitate to call it there.

                    Ive got more budget than most no budget people but haven't been able to justify the price of a show record when I will likely never show. That has also prevented picking up a nice young horse to put a record on (struggling to justify the cost of a good young one to just school at home) and leasing a decent horse (owners don't want them to sit out a year). It's a weird place to be in.

                    ??????
                    ??????

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                    • #11
                      I'd take a chance, but then I bought a mustang I'd never actually met based on Facebook posts, IM convos with the trainer, and a live feed of a handful of arena classes. I *would* repeat at least a limited PPE with radiographs of any problem areas (sounds like hocks) to get a better idea of what's really going on and have a frank conversation with the veterinarian about what can be done to manage it, costs associated with managing it, long term prognosis, etc. A lot of problems in the low-motion hock joints are comparitively manageable and (sometimes, no guarantees), actually get BETTER with age, as the joints fuse completely, stop moving entirely, and therefore stop hurting.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OnDeck View Post
                        FWIW, I do not consider a horse with only one lead change due to physical restraints 'sound'. This may not be a problem for you and your goals, but he is clearly restricted by the hock.
                        My thoughts as well. Not sound in regular work, not currently working very hard plus may not be " young" . Again, somebody with enough budget to handle getting that vet work done ( not including a PPE) and maintaining it plus having a low cost place to park it if it's not useable might be comfortable taking it on. We don't know if OP can afford taking the gamble or not.

                        Not safe to assume it's just simple age and mileage related hock wear and tear. Might be other things less manageable and more limiting on this horse and are effecting the ability to change leads on one side. IME this type situation is about 50/50, sometimes works great. Sometimes doesn't work out at all including costing more then expected. The more OP knows and finds out about the horse and it's complete history of use and soundness over time, the better her chances of success.

                        OP, do you know where and when the current, neglectful owner got the horse? If it ever could get that lead change? I rarely get a PPE but rarely buy horses I don't know already that have a long history of doing what I am buying them to do on a regular basis and staying sound doing it, even with maintainance on known wear and tear issues. That is the best indicator of future performance.

                        If OP is going to continue riding at her current level and frequency and doesn't need the lead change, maybe the horse will work. Maybe it won't. Maybe it gets worse. True of any horse you buy but when you start by buying one with issues out of of neglectful care and no extended history of regular use, the odds of success go down. So, how lucky do you feel?

                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
                          I'm a way bigger gambler than most apparently, because a nice young horse currently sound for what I'm doing with this actual horse when I have no goals to do more at present is absolutely a risk i would take. From 1.10 honestly there's a lot of room to step down and still enjoy.

                          I would not do an extensive four figure ppe on a mid four figure horse I was already leasing and riding without issue.
                          i guess when I mean full PPE I would want a basic lameness exam and rads of the problematic jocks and anything else that looked suspect. To me that is a full PPE and shouldn't be expensive. She is going to need them anyway because the first thing I would probably do when I bought the horse is inject the hocks which sounds well past due on it.

                          She can also stop if anything comes up besides the hocks before taking any rads at all. Since she doesn't trust the owner I would do at least that basic lameness exam. A couple hundred well spent if there is another issue!

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                          • #14
                            I'd do a PPE and see what you're working with. You know it won't be clean, but if you have a better idea of prognosis, I think they will help immensely. If I really enjoyed the horse, I'd proceed with a PPE because maybe he just needs hock injections and will be fine with that maintenance. See what the vet says. Then you'll be able to know for sure, or as close to sure as you can be with horses anyway ??????

                            If I truly enjoy a horse and am doing this for fun, I'll be a little flexible on some things

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                            • #15
                              The horse with the perfect PPE will never take a sound step. If the horse is going doing the job you want it to do and can afford to handle the what if of not staying sound (just a matter of what if degrees) I do it. You ride for fun and he is fun.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jazzme2305 View Post

                                Ive got more budget than most no budget people but haven't been able to justify the price of a show record when I will likely never show. That has also prevented picking up a nice young horse to put a record on (struggling to justify the cost of a good young one to just school at home) and leasing a decent horse (owners don't want them to sit out a year). It's a weird place to be in.
                                Third option -- what if you asked these people if you could long-term lease this horse, perhaps for a small lease fee? That way they get some money out from the horse and don't have to pay for him for a year or however long the term is, and you get to ride horse with more stability than month-to-month lease and pay for his maintenance and better farrier/vet care and see what he's like after the year is over.

                                If you still like him then, and he's been sound and you can afford his upkeep, maybe purchasing him at that point would seem less risky to you (or you're so emotionally attached that you're willing to keep horse forever -- there's no shame in that either, but it may rearrange your priorities of owning this particular horse vs riding; I think pretty much all horse purchases are based on emotion, because logically/financially it makes no sense to buy them otherwise). Though again, no guarantees he will stay sound after you own him. And if he goes lame during lease, then at least you are only "stuck" with him for a year or however you have negotiated lease terms.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by fourfillies View Post
                                  The horse with the perfect PPE will never take a sound step. If the horse is going doing the job you want it to do and can afford to handle the what if of not staying sound (just a matter of what if degrees) I do it. You ride for fun and he is fun.
                                  Right. But this still youngish, low mileage horse physically can't change leads to one side so may not meet the definition of doing the job and staying sound. Not fun to support a horse you can't do what you want with even if you can afford something else to ride. Many can't afford that so there's more risk in starting out with one.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                  • #18
                                    I'm with ladyj, as usual. And maybe that's because I'm also more of a gambler than most, but short story is horse that you really enjoy riding who does what you want him to do. Cheap price and you have the money, which means that if you need to do hock injections or some regular maintenance you can afford it.

                                    I think you can ask for a long term lease if you want, but I think you need to purchase a "deal" horse the moment it's offered to you. Can't count the number of times I've seen someone lease a "deal" horse to really feel out the issue and when they have it going better due to different or increased maintenance.....surprise! Suddenly the owner wants more money for it.

                                    __________________________________
                                    Flying F Sport Horses
                                    Horses in the NW

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                                    • #19
                                      I wouldn't make any decisions about this horse before my own vet and farrier had done their own evaluations. You know you are likely to have a problem. What you need to know is your trusted vet's opinion on how the horse may respond to different maintenance options and how that may affect his continued soundness, and then decide whether or not you're okay with the worst case scenario. From what you describe of your goals, provided that you are financially able to support this horse should he need to retire or step down earlier than expected, a questionable hock wouldn't scare me too much under these circumstances.
                                      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                                      • #20
                                        The OP has put the proverbial horse before the cart. The question she should ask herself is do I like this horse well enough to invest $x in a PPE? If the answer is yes, have your vet do a PPE and then decide if you want to buy him.

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