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Thinking of buying an older horse- opinions??

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  • Thinking of buying an older horse- opinions??

    My gelding has been on the market for about three months now, and we just found the perfect buyer for him- he should be gone by the end of next week! So now it's time for me to start looking seriously for a new horse.

    There's a gelding boarded at my barn, his name is Gus. I've hacked him a few times and lessoned on him today, and he's absolutely perfect. Everything I'm looking for. The thing is, he's 18 and starting to go downhill. He did Grand Prix jumpers and the Big Eq for a long time, and that took its toll on his joints. He's got maybe two years left of competing and working heavily before his upkeep becomes too much and I have to retire him.

    His price is perfect, I love him to death, and he's exactly what I'm looking for. But I'm hesitant to buy him because of his age. His upkeep isn't too bad now, but it'll become more and more as time goes on. He is sound with the right shoeing and hock injections monthly. I'd consider a lease, but my trainer and I are about to part ways and the only way his owners would lease him to me is if I kept him at my current barn.

    Opinions? Advice?

    Fun fact: his basic training was done by GM!

  • #2
    Could you afford to keep him when he retires and afford another horse when that happens?


    • #3
      Are the hock injections really monthly? The "right shoeing" actually worries me more...I hate hoof related issues, and I am assuming you don't just mean "shoeing done by a decent farrier".

      Would he be working harder or less hard with you than he is currently? Has be been xrayed in the last couple years and are those available to your vet?

      I think it is great to learn from an older horse, but only if you are fully prepared to deal with him in retirement. Keep in mind he may still needs some maintenance, special farrier work and such in retirement, particularly if he is that arthritic.

      Maybe talk to your new trainer about him?
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        I personally would pass. It's a buyers market... you will find something you like at an age you're comfortable with.


        • #5
          Like the previous poster said... it's a buyer's market. Since you are looking for a horse that you can "compete and work heavily" I would strongly recommend sticking with a lease. If they owner's won't work out a lease then maybe it's not a great fit!

          If you are buying a personal horse that you will essentially need to replace within two years I would not invest a ton of $$ into that horse, sounds like more of a lease only situation to me.


          • #6
            I'd pass if it was actually monthly injections in the joint. If they mean a shot of Legend once a month, that's a totally different story. As long as the front feet are ok and it's just hocks that are an issue, and I could either afford 2 or be willing to euthanize him if he can no longer perform, I might go for it. The hocks will eventually fuse and then they're a non-issue!


            • #7
              I think unless he is dirt cheap, I would lease instead of buy an 18yr old. He might last 2 years or he might be finished in 2 months. I would look around. I agree with other posters that you can probably find something in your budget that has more long-term potential if you look hard enough. It just takes time.


              • #8
                hock injections monthly
                if this is true, he's done & I'd be retiring him already - you absolutely need extensive Xrays to know what's going on with him - for both his benefit & your own.


                • #9
                  What about leasing him and staying at your current barn? No? At 18, you're looking at a couple years of regular work and then many years of care. And you won't be able to insure him. If you're able to handle what that entails, great. But just go into it knowing this could be a great learning opportunity, albeit an expensive one. As others have said, it is a buyer's market out there. As much as you like him, don't settle for anything less than the right horse, and the right situation.
                  Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                  • #10
                    OP, I see your update. Glad you did your homework. Always smart.
                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jherold View Post
                      I'd pass if it was actually monthly injections in the joint. If they mean a shot of Legend once a month, that's a totally different story. As long as the front feet are ok and it's just hocks that are an issue, and I could either afford 2 or be willing to euthanize him if he can no longer perform, I might go for it. The hocks will eventually fuse and then they're a non-issue!
                      I wouldn't buy an 18 yr old with the thought of euthanizing in 2 yrs when he can't perform. If the OP isn't able or willing to pay for his retirement or think she can find a good pleasure home, she should pass. He sounds like a horse that deserves to eat grass and relax in his twilight years.


                      • #12
                        If he is 21 years old and truly is "perfect" for you at the moment as he is, I would propose a lease and see what the owners say. I hope the "monthly joint injections" is really adequan/legend or something of that sort. Good luck!