what to consider when looking at a rescue
There is a new horse at the barn that my daughter (9 yrs) and I are considering buying and we are wondering what we should think about. The horse was left at a forclosed barn/house. The new barn owner inherited him and let him stay stay in a paddock for 3 years. My daughter's trainer brought him to the barn to get ready to sell. He was a little thin and definitely out of shape. His feet were cracked and long and his teeth hadn't been done for a long time. That first week, my daughter rode him for her lesson in the big cross country field (yes I was nervous) and he was a perfect gentleman, not spooky or hyper, just even tempered. She has been riding him for the last 3 weeks. He is still very unflappable just pretty lazy. He is getting his feet in shape and his teeth have been done. The only things I would fix about him is that he needs work on picking up his feet easily (he doesn't misbehave, he just doesn't seem to get it), and he takes a bit of work for my daughter to get him to keep trotting and to canter.
All that said, I am wondering if I am crazy to consider a horse that we really know no history on. What things should I look at to evaluate his future soundness? We are lucky enough to be able to work and watch him for a while before having to make a decision so what kinds of behavior might indicate a problem. He seems like a nice, unflappable, willing horse and it is hard to believe that someone would just leave him unless there was some issue that would have made him unsellable. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I sure hope that trainer got on his back before she put your 9 y/o daughter in that position...glad it had a positive ending. I would do a presale vet check. if it is soundness that is your main concern..they can do a flexion test with radiographs if they are necessary. It sounds like he was at least ridden in his previous life ...& no you are not crazy!!
^ Agree with above. Also, sometimes a horse's personality can drastically change once they are healthier and feel better. He may be calm now but suddenly turn unruly when he is in better shape. This may not happen, but it might be a good idea to wait a bit and have your daughter continue riding him before you purchase and are possibly stuck with a horse that needs training. Maybe you could lease him first to make extra sure and make you less nervous about the situation.
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Yes, she had ridden him before she brought him to the barn. Then she rode him the day he came. He had been a perfect gentleman. During the trainers evaluation of him she found that he neck reins, pivots, will go out on a trail alone, and will jump low fences without refusing. Since he came to the barn 3 weeks ago he has been trailered to a schooling show and entered in a green horse cross rail class. He finished last, but he didn't refuse and it was only the 3 time anyone has jumped with him that we know :-) The thing that impressed me was how calm and relaxed he was at the show.
We are considering leasing him. I have a lesson on him on Monday to see how he does with a bigger but more inexperienced rider :wink: and also to see how I like him.
hard to tell a time line here but wow they have pushed him through a lot of paces for being basically ignored for a long time. what has his diet been? that "laziness" could be diet related (specifically lack of protein) & did the vet age him when they floated his teeth? from what you have posted here he sounds like a great kid horse....I wouldn't want something super sensitive to pressure to allow for typical kid mistakes...glad you are going to ride him.
keep us posted
Actually - this is not surprising really. The horse market has been in the dumps and even nice registered and trained horses aren't selling all that fast. So if they were looking to move the horse quickly that might not have been possible. I can't tell you the number of free horses I've come across over the last couple years that weren't moving even available as free.
Get a vet check on this horse and then I might see if the trainer will let you guys use him on a trial basis. Like someone else pointed out - sometimes once horses get more weight and fitness on them they go from lazy and laid back to more high strung. Not always, but it does happen. We made this mistake with my husband's first horse. He was out of a bad situation and had bad feet and while not starved he was not at his ideal weight. Once we got his feet looking good and his weight where it needed to be he ended up being too much horse for my beginner rider husband.
Yeah, I agree that he is being pushed quite fast. I am not too wild about that. As far as diet, he is being given hay and 2 scoops of grain, once in the morning and once at night. I don't know what kind. When he came 4 weeks ago he seemed thin. Now he is looking a lot better. I now realize he wasn't so thin as lacking muscle. The vet says he is about 11. The first two weeks he was kind of mouthy (i.e. trying lick and nibbling on thngs) and he did some pawing when asked to stand still. This week after his teeth were done he didn't try to mouth at all and he stood great. He wasn't so thrilled about someone standing on the mounting blook over top of him, but he didn't misbehave, he just looked grumpy. He definitely will need some work but if his temperment so far is what we have been looking for.
I like your idea of leasing for awhile and then deciding on purchasing later once you are used to how he acts once he begins to gain more weight and get fitter, etc.
leasing for three or four months with option to buy at a set price might be th eway to go. Let him get back in shape and get a vet check. Many people pass on the vet check on cheap to free horses. But often that free horse can cost lots of money when medical problems arise
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