Thinking about buying a horse, need advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-08-2009, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Oregon, USA
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Question Thinking about buying a horse, need advice

I've been looking at horses to buy recently and I went and looked at one yesterday that I really liked.

He is a 14 y/o BLM mustang, broke to ride (I even tried him out) and sound. I liked his personality but there's something that concerns me and keeps me from buying him.

He has a cough. The stable manager and owner said he just started some new hay that was really dusty and that it was the cause of the cough that supposedly started two days ago. They said they might try soaking his hay and see if it clears up and if it does then he's probably ok. I really like the horse and if it's not too serious and expensive would still like to get him but I'm not sure how serious it could be. Obviously I would get a vet check before purchase especially with this issue coming up.

I guess what I want to know is, since the horse is coughing, should I ask the owner to pay half the expense of the vet check since it is something the horse is exhibiting before purchase? Is it likely that the cough is caused by the hay?

Also, the horse had been out to pasture for the last three years and just recently (a few days ago) was being rode again. Could the extra exercise help cause a cough in a horse that hadn't been ridden in a few years? He was taken on a trail yesterday then rode again when I looked at him plus it was a bit cold out.

Let me know what you think..
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-08-2009, 12:58 PM
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a caugh can be cased by hay. We have 2 horses at my barn who have to have their hay watered bc its to dusty for them. For paying for the vet check, I'd go half and half.

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post #3 of 10 Old 02-08-2009, 01:26 PM
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I would get a vet check before you buy him. Even if you dont decide to buy thin horse I wouldnt buy a horse without first getting a vet check.

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post #4 of 10 Old 02-08-2009, 04:59 PM
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By all means, ask them to go halves. If they say no and after a lot of soul searching you still think you want the horse, pay for the whole vet check.

But, I would have a vet check either way whether the horse had a cough or not. A regular pre-purchase exam.

The horse may have heaves or a variety of other things that would cause a cough.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-09-2009, 02:32 PM
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The buyer pays for a prepurchase exam.

Standard procedure.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-09-2009, 03:17 PM
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It's up to the buyer to pay for a pre-purchase exam. The vet should be told the horse has a cough, but it will take him about two minutes to determine if the cough is anything serious. So to answer your question, no I don't think you should ask them to pay for half the exam.

If however, the vet feels the cough needs further investigation then that should be at the sellers expense. That said, they can opt not to do anymore testing and if your hearts set on the horse then you would need to decided if you wanted to pay or pass on the horse.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-09-2009, 05:48 PM
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I agree that they buyer pays for the pre-purchase. And also make sure you don't use the same vet that they do (for the pre-purchase). Get someone know doesn't know the horse.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-09-2009, 11:24 PM
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If the horse is coughing, then I'd want a vet check (about $200-500 depending on how thorough you want). If it's nothing, then you'll have piece of mind. If it's an illness, then you'll either have a bargaining chip, or you'll have saved yourself a lot of heart ache and MONEY!

I bought a horse with a cough once. Turned out she had early stages of strangles. Once she recovered ($600 in vet bills later) she was a TOTALLY different horse! She felt better, and she let her whole attitude come through, lol. She was so far from the "kids horse" that I bought, it wasn't even funny... AND she ended up having underdeveloped ovaries, so I couldn't even breed her like I had planned! I ended up selling her for $400, a SERIOUS loss. I learned my lesson, the hard way...
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-10-2009, 11:49 PM
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There is the possibility that he has heaves which is probably something you don't want to deal with. It can be quite serious. When a horse has heaves, he coughs alot around hay and dust and needs to outside 24/7. Some horses that have it really bad have to be fed an alternative to hay such as alfafa cubes. A gelding at my barn had heaves and it was hard to ride him because he'd always be coughing, trying to catch his breath. I'm not really sure if there are meds that help with this. He may not have heaves though... it COULD just be the really dusty hay... but I would be careful. You don't know if he actually did start coughing 2 days ago... it could be going on for months. Definitely get the vet to look him over.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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post #10 of 10 Old 02-11-2009, 11:57 AM
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I know that my horse coughs a few times when I first get on him and start riding, but once he warms up, he stops. I call it "getting out the cobwebs." He never does it outside of that though, so I've never thought anything of it.

The current owner may be right, it might just be the hay, but a pre-purchase vet exam would be really smart. As far as paying, I would assume the person buying the horse would foot the bill just like if you are buying a car from some one and want to have a mechanic look at it first. Here in VA, it isn't too expensive for a check up, so I wouldn't sweat it. If it turns out to be something serious, $200 is a lot less than however much you pay for the initial purchase and the subsequent vet bills afterward.


Mommy to Minnie, Lilly, and Tanner.
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