Here's my thinking:
- Say you sign the lease while Bob still hasn't fully recovered... he doesn't get better, but is "okay" for a walk around the arena for 5 minutes. Since you've signed a contract, the owners could say he's still "useable" even if it isn't in your eyes, and you'd be stuck with a lame horse for 6 months.
- Bob gets worse while he's under your name, so to speak; the owners could claim the injury has never been this bad, and that you caused it, yada yada, and you could end up paying vet bills and get conned out of money.
- Could get better with some time and light riding - for how long? Denny has essentially been off for 3 months; it sucks the big one. Now he's coming back into work and he's a complete jerk.. I essentially have to retrain his mind again, he's wired for sound.
- If you are seriously considering this, get a vet out to have a look - and make sure that the family/lady has absolutely no affiliation with them.
Believe me, people seem very nice and reasonable while "in escrow" in a sense, then as soon as everything's signed and stamped... they turn weird. Yes, there are some genuinely nice people out there that wouldn't hurt a soul if their own life was on the line, but they are a minority - this person does have reason to lie; there's money on the line, and especially with a lame horse, you don't know their true motives.
It's truely astounding what people will do for money (my personal example - an Olympic rider sold me a drugged horse. Please note I was a child at the time as well.)
Bobbie, I wish you the absolute best of luck with any decision you make - but I personally KNOW how hard it is to say no to the first horse that pops into your life when you're in a position to take them... but what I had to do this last time is say "I promise myself I'll try 5 horses before I decide" and I did... it still ended up being Denny, but at least I gave myself the opportunity to not get stuck with something that I was in puppy love with.
Honest, best of luck with your decision - it's a big one and not easy!! I truely hope you do whatever makes you happiest.. and if that's Bob and you're smart about the decision (of course we all know you will be!) then go for it!