It really does! To know where he was, to where he is now, is just amazing.
My fiance and I bought horses last April. I had ridden Gem previously in a lesson, and while I liked him, I wanted something more advance, and got my mare (that's a WHOLE other story). My fiance fell in love with Gem and bought him! When we bought him and my mare, we didn't get a pre-purchase exam done because what I read online is that if you buy from a stable, rather than a private party, you wouldn't need one. Well that is BS, because Gem has quite a few problems.
It was always very difficult for us to pick up his front feet. We could rarely pick up his right front, and his left front was just as hard. His back feet were fine though.
We had heard from another boarder at the place (we bought and boarded our horses at the same place) that Gem had had abcesses and surgery, and she had tried for a year to pick up his feet and didn't have much luck.
So, in March of 08, I decided to hop on him and ride him around for a bit. Gem was this laid back, very lazy, needs tons of leg to get him to move type of horse. So I warmed him up at a walk, and then tried to trot him. We'd go for a bit and then he'd stop, so I was always urging him forward. After our failed attempts at a trot, I did some bending and turn on the haunches. After that I asked him to walk on, and out of no where, he reared, bucked, and I fell off!
So I knew something was up with him. I called up the barn (their policy) to get a vet out. When the vet came out, after a lameness test and x-rays, we found that he has athritis in his hocks and his right front knee was really bad. So he was put on Bute if we were to work with him and we also got him a joint supplement, but he never really seemed to improve a lot.
In June of this year, we moved them to a new barn, and while he was lame for the first week, he was doing well. We had the vet and farrier come out to do his feet (according to records at the old stable he wasn't done since February.. and we would sign him up every 6 weeks and he wouldn't get done) He had to be sedated because he got x-rays done of his hooves to see if his coffin bone was rotating or sinking, but it wasn't.. thank goodness!
So he was sedated twice, and had the nerves to his hooves blocked so the farrier could work easier.
The farrier said he has never seen hooves this bad and said they were done in YEARS!
After he got his feet trimmed and shod, he coliced later on (2am in the morning) We suspect it was from all the drugs in his system. He had a slight impaction but after a very long weekend, he pooped and was better
After that, we just let him recover and be a horse. The vet came out about a week later (for another horse) and I asked if he could be ridden, and the vet said to lightly ride him 10-15 min and bump it up if he felt good and wasn't lame and take it from there. He advised us not to jump or do any hills or anything (nothing we plan on doing).
So i've been working on picking up his feet and making it a pleasurable experience, and hand walking him with the saddle.. and now i'm riding him:)
And that's the Gem story :)