I've been working towards buying a horse that I have been working with for about 2 months now. We went on a long trail ride in the beginning, and she came up lame. The vet said that she believes she has arthritis due to a positive flexion test.
The good part of this situation is that this horse belongs to the daughter of the woman I've been leasing from for 3 years, so it is a very informal purchase (or attempt at a purchase)
She is a 10 year old paint mare
She is a teensy bit overweight, which we're working on now
She was broke and spent 90 days with a trainer, and then training continued for the years after that by the woman I lease from (who has owned and trained horses for 40+ years)
This woman birthed this mare, so I know where she's been for her whole life, which seems to be a good thing based on some stuff I've read on here.
She's extremely intelligent and very light on the cues. She has wonderful ground manners, comes when she's called from the pasture (even without grain) She's very smooth and she's a total sweetheart. I'm torn because I'm totally in love with her, but I don't want to get into something I can't afford.
I've been doing massage with her and feeding her apple cider vinegar, and she's been on MSM for the past 3 days. Overall, she's showing improvement every day. The past week or two she has been totally sound, with only slight signs of discomfort at a trot with a rider. However, I can tell she is not limping with a rider, just uncomfortable, so I've been working her lightly at a slow walk instead.
My use for her would be pleasure riding. The most intense stuff I would ever do would probably be 5-6 hours of trail riding. I mostly like to play in the arena and go for a good lope in the open pasture for fun. I have never shown and don't plan to.
Am I crazy? She was originally asking $1,500 for her and I said no way. I bargained with her for $1,000 over a 6 month payment plan, but that was before we knew she had arthritis.
In my mind I have a mental goal of having her completely sound, and be able to ride her without discomfort at all gaits by January 1st. We're taking her to a chiropractor/vet to get a second opinion next week. I've been doing massage, and I plan on continuing the MSM and ACV.
Should I walk away? Can arthritic horses make good trail horses over rough terrain for multiple hours if their arthritis is under control? Should I push to pay less money since she has arthritis? If so, how much should I ask for? This would be my first horse and I feel like I'm fortunate to get to work with her because what if I were to buy another horse that seemed fine and turns out to have arthritis or something worse later? I feel like buying a horse is a little bit of a gamble no matter what...I don't know.
I've attached some pictures
Thanks for all the help.