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Help! I didn't buy my DREAM HORSE!!!

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  • Help! I didn't buy my DREAM HORSE!!!

    My favorite piece of advice was "it's better to regret the one you didn't buy than to regret the one you did buy." And I ended up with one who was worth the wait. Thanks everyone for your posts!
    Last edited by gohoos; May. 19, 2010, 10:38 AM.

  • #2
    I did the same thing. I tried out a jumper to turn into an event horse and had him a week and his dressage improved dramatically, he could jump 4ft from a standstill, and he never even looked twice at ANYTHING cross country his first time out. I was officially in love after a week, but two vets put the brakes on it due to a hind suspensory that was about to go and various other issues. A month later after he had been sold with an additional 10k on his price tag, the horse blew a major high abscess out of that leg and is still sound (as far as I know). So, you live and you learn I suppose, but I wound up with a fantastic (if slightly more difficult, mare) so it was all good in the end. Buying horses is a gamble in the best of circumstances, and ones that are sound today may not be so tomorrow. Good luck in the ongoing search for Mr/Mrs Right!
    It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.


    • #3

      So sorry. I feel your pain. I had a similar experience and am back looking again. Somewhere, there is the horse for you/me. Trainer keeps my spirits up by pointing out that at the end of the show season many people are ready to sell the horse they were showing rather than carry it through the winter..so prices may drop further and new horses will become available. Time will tell! I think I jinxed the last one by discussing it out loud - everyone at the barn was asking. The next one I'm not admitting to anything until it's passed the vet and in the barn.
      pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

      Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


      • #4
        Sometimes you buy horses with unclean x-rays and it works out. Other times they go lame and you have to maintain them as much as you can/ want. I've been on both sides. I think that if you're looking for your "dream horse," you need to be careful. If you buy her and she breaks down, she won't be your dream horse any more. There are always more horses out there, especially in this economy.

        On the other hand, if you're looking for a horse with a specific job in mind, such as to move up... maybe you don't care so much about the longevity and are willing to take a risk. Probably, at some point you will have to do maintenance to keep her going, but how soon and for how long is the question.


        • #5
          How old is this horse??? I bought a 4year old off the track, chips in both ankles and didn't pass the flex...didn't even xray( I am sure I paid far less than what you would pay) Morle of the story....He is 19 years old, I did level 4 jumpers, A/O hunters, regulars and he never took a lame step..He is still jumping 3 ft courses in Ca....Maybe you can lease this horse, if she is over 10 and has been going around sound, I would say she has proven it is not a huge issue, and just keep up with maintence....I think vet these days are very shy of issues, when good old horsemanship knows better...Those million dollar Grand Prix horses out there, do you think they would pass the vet????????
          Gates Equestrian
          National Champion Dan Patch sire of USEF/USHJA winning ponies!


          • #6
            Been there, done that, feel your pain! Looked at a very nice mare, rode her, loved her, vetted her. She flexed sound, jogged sound, looked like she would pass with flying colors. Last thing the vet checked was her eyes. TOTALLY blind in one eye, possibly developing a cataract in the other. I just didn't want to take the chance on having a completely blind horse on my hands.


            • #7
              I've sort of been there. A mare was brought to our farm and as I would be looking for a horse in the future, it sort of became MY trial...one I didn't ask for.

              First time I rode her it was interesting. I was so uncomfortable the first 10 minutes or so and then trotting her was a task. She was quite hot...sensitive hot, not spooky hot. But my trainer and I sort of found a place that she wanted to be...they had been riding her like a hot horse and we rode her like a hunter and she was improving every ride. I absolutely shouldn't have gotten along with this horse. I've never been good on hot horses, but for some reason she liked me (and didn't like another girl in our barn who is a very quiet soft rider...strange).

              Anyway, the timing was all wrong, so I passed.

              I started sort of looking for a horse about 3 months ago, about 9 months after the mare left. I wasn't looking seriously, but if something interesting came up, I looked. Well, let's just say that I couldn't stop thinking about the mare, but the opportunity was gone.

              The thing is, though, you never really know if the one that got away really WAS that one. Since you never got them home, you never found the holes, the bad habits, the lameness, the stuff that make a dreamhorse seem not-so-dreamy real quick (or over a number of years).
              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


              • #8
                If we could take the emotion out of horse shopping it would be so much easier, wouldn't it? Stories go both ways- that horse that had horrible xrays but was sound his whole life and the one who is off and no one can find a problem..
                Where's the crystal ball when you need it?

                Somewhere I read that "it is better to regret the one you didn't buy than the one you did"

                not much consolation, I know

                Question on the lower hock arthritis- is that the joint that can fuse? and be a non-issue later?


                • #9
                  Any horse that campaigns and tries really hard every time and has some miles on it will eventually start to show some degenerative changes. Its like buying an older house or a used car - you will have to look at the price tag and what you anticipate you will have to spend on upkeep. If you insist on buying your dream horse, then hopefully you have a dream checkbook as well. Buying a younger horse that vets totally clean does not mean that after X years of jumping and showing, the horse won't develop degenerative or arthritic changes. I've seen people turn down really nice horses that have some mild issues (need minor hock maintenance or similar) and then buy a young green horse and spend the next 3 years wrestling with the horse trying to get it around a course of jumps that the former horse could jump with a monkey.

                  You really should define your goal - qualifying for whatever, or finishing in the top 3 of your division, or moving up. Then look at the horses that fit this purpose closest, and see what it will cost you to purchase and maintain these horses. Sometimes it's better to buy a better quality horse that needs a little maintenance than one that is just plain hard work. A horse that is already winning in the show ring is allowed a couple minor flaws, as the judge has already validated the horse's capabilities.
                  Man plans. God laughs.


                  • #10
                    If you can afford to maintain it, why don't you go back and buy the horse? Hock injections are pretty common in the Hunter/Jumpers.


                    • #11
                      I bought my mare as a green 4 year old. She vetted clean. Of course, there was no way then of knowing then that she'd tear her check ligament at 9 and be laid up for nearly a year. She also developed arthritis and required hock injections as 12 y/o. She is doing great now.

                      In summary, buying a horse is a gamble. I doubt there are many seasoned horses that would vet 100% clean. It just depends on how big an issue you're willing to deal with.


                      • #12
                        isn't there a saying that it's a good thing horses can't read x-rays? Adequan and Legend, as well as hock injections, aren't the end of the world . . . maybe you can negotiate a lower priced based on the PPE findings?


                        • #13
                          I agree with the others who are saying find out more about what the maintenance is on your dream horse, most horses do not have perfect xrays, find out if she's been lame.
                          I bought a young horse who did not pass my vet but did pass for another vet, so I bougt him he was my dream horse and we've had him almost 2 yrs and no issues so far... knock on wood... good luck, maybe you can lease her too... don't give up on a dream horse, there are lots of horses but not lots of matches to their riders...


                          • #14
                            If you are regretting passing on this horse, then find out exactly what maintenance she needs, if you are comfortable with this and what her future soundness, based on this problem, looks like.
                            There are no guarantees. Many horses need maintenance, the trick is to find one that you are comfortable with the amount of maintenance and that *should* be able to carry on if you follow the maintenance plan.
                            Good luck.
                            Nina's Story
                            Epona Comm on FB


                            • #15
                              If two vets looked at the films and recommended that you pass on the horse, based on your intended use, I'd follow their advice. Especially if you trust the vet's judgment -- how comfortable are you with your vet? Does he/she understand your intended use for the horse?

                              While PPEs are only 'snapshots' in time and cannot predict long term soundness, if you trust your vet then you have to know that they are telling you is based on their experience of looking at thousands of horses.

                              I do understand the regret. I passed on a horse that had a poorly healed fracture of the coffin bone. The horse was sound, a beautiful mover and a great jumper. If I hadn't done films, I never would have known of the problem. My PPE vet was one of the best that I had worked with and absolutely trusted his judgment. He basically said that for my intended use (eventing, foxhunting) this horse was not the safest choice because a bad step or jump xc could cause the bone to refracture. He didn't tell me not to buy the horse but he did say that he thought that for a new mother who was eventing for fun, this horse would be nowhere near the top of his list.

                              The horse went on to have a long successful career as a jumper. Of course I wondered if I'd made the best choice and it did take me more than a year to eventually find a horse that met my objectives and vetted sound. But it was worth the wait.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                              • #16
                                Propose a lease with an option to buy. Hocks dont scare me as much as soft tissue or front end lameness. They are very maintainable. Use her as you plan to. If she stays sound, have the horse re-xrayed at the end of the lease and have your vet assess the changes. If they are minimal and maintainable, buy her out. If not, you had a great year and move on.
                                http://www.facebook.com/olddominionsaddlery Like us on Facebook!!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by ShinyThings View Post
                                  Sometimes you buy horses with unclean x-rays and it works out. Other times they go lame and you have to maintain them as much as you can/ want. I've been on both sides. I think that if you're looking for your "dream horse," you need to be careful. If you buy her and she breaks down, she won't be your dream horse any more. There are always more horses out there, especially in this economy.
                                  Yup we bought a horse who had mild arthritis and we knowingly did this thinking it would be okay, well two years and $40000 of vet bills later his is only pasture sound at the walk and canter because his arthritis is accelerated in development, and basically the vet told us, if you jump him again, he literally could buckle at the knees.

                                  I can not state this enough TAKE YOUR TIME FINDING A HORSE, do not rush into it. We rushed and bought him because we thought that all we would find were horses with troubles, in the price range we had. So my only advice that I can give is DO NOT RUSH, even if you think they are perfect, my horse was the perfect horse we thought, he had the most amazing movement, and could clear five foot no problem, unfortunately now none of that matters any more.


                                  • #18
                                    Well I DID buy my dream horse. I ignored the little voice inside my head that said she traveled not quite right on her right hind because many vets told me she was fine. So I bought her, and rode her for a couple years, and every time I started to push her she would start resisting, or jumping funny, or kicking out. STILL the vets could not find anything wrong with her, but I knew.

                                    Anyway, finally at age 7 when I could not take it anymore I pretty much had to force the vets to x-ray her stifles, and sure enough there was a chip in there the size of a dime. She had surgery 4 months ago that did not go very well, and she may never be sound again except for light riding.

                                    She's still my dream horse and I still love her, but I would be lying if I didn't say that some days I really wish I had just x-rayed every joint on her body like I wanted to from the get go. I don't know what would be worse, not owning her at all, or going through the last 3 years...

                                    Don't beat yourself up over what could have been.
                                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                                    • #19
                                      When we bought my show horse, he had a moderate risk for navicular in the RF. My Mom went back and forth on it and we decided to buy him. Well here we are 6 years later and he does have some mild navicular changes. He's on Isox and our very well respected vet said that he should be fine for what we want to do. I think the risk was worth it as I love him very much and he's perfect for me (all right maybe not perfect, I'd like a horse with a little less attitude about being brushed )

                                      As much as people hate to do this, I'd say go with your gut. Sure it can go wrong and it very well may but you have to weigh that with what you found.
                                      No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                                      For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                                      www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


                                      • #20
                                        As Trees said, it's better to regret the one you DIDN'T buy than the one you did! I had a friend who experienced this not too many years ago. Followed his heart and bought one with arthritis in both front ankles. Horse broke down within a few months.