Gray horse... should I? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Gray horse... should I?

Hello all. I posted a few months ago (back story below, if you are interested), but here's my question:
My first horse didn't quite work out. I've been searching for the perfect next horse. An opportunity has come my way, but I'm hesitating. The horse is a gray gelding, about 12 years old. He's not a beauty lol! He was rescued from a somewhat negligent situation. He is really thin, has tall withers and a protruding backbone and hips (certainly not emaciated, but definitely thin). I've heard so many horror stories about melanoma in gray horses, and that is worrying me too.

Anyway, I wouldn't be considering him - but once they got him and started riding him, they realized he is very well trained and has a great temperament. I went to see him and almost didn't even want to ride him. Then I did, and he was one of the easiest horses I've ever ridden (not lethargic... just seemed willing, and simple, and understood gentle neck rein and leg cues). I find myself wanting to ride him again against my better judgement, and they've offered a month or two 'free lease' (like I said, I know the owners... good people). I think some weight on him will do a world of good in the way he looks... I would definitely give him extra rations while on my watch. I'm just afraid I'll fall for him, and then melanomas will be my nightmare. I would brush it off, but I adopted a boxer dog once (knowing they were prone to cancer). I vowed to stay on top of it and had the vet meticulously check every year. and she still died of cancer at a young age. Heartbreaking. So I learned I can't necessarily beat the odds.

Comments? What would you do?

---------------------------------

my story:
- I'm 52
- started riding casually with a friend 4 years ago
- We decided to buy me a horse to keep at her property so we could ride together
- We found a horse that we thought would be perfect, but though I've learned a lot from her, we aren't a perfect match.
- I've been riding the generous neighbor's wonderful mare and we've been getting along very well, so my confidence is back up that it wasn't "all me".
- I'm looking for my next horse. Really trying to make the right decision this time!
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post #2 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 01:45 PM
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I have a 27 year old gray mare that has never had a sign of melanoma! We got lucky....but with that being said, I'd hate for you to miss out on a great horse because of the "what if's."
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post #3 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 01:49 PM
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I wouldn't worry about melanoma specifically. Gray horses will probably get melanoma at some point (and at 12 may already have some) but they're generally not problematic and certainly not something a horse is likely to die from, even if he is gray.

I would however be concerned about evaluating the suitability a horse who is currently underweight. Many people buy an underweight horse that is gentle and docile only to find that once it has put the weight back on and is feeling good, it becomes a completely different animal. Since you know the sellers, perhaps they'd be willing to do a longer term lease (at least 3 months) so that you can have a chance to get to know the horse once it's up to weight. Depending on how thin he is, it may not even be fair to him to ride him at this point.
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post #4 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 01:50 PM
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Two things stand out to me:

The horse is not at ideal weight and therefore might change when they become fitter and have more weight to them.

You're basing your decision on what happened to your Boxer (heartbreaking experience), which is completely different to what typical cases of melanoma are to a grey horse. Usually they are successfully cut off masses by veterinarians. If anything it's more inconvenient, unless it is too far gone.

I hope you vet check before you decide if you want this horse or not, and I hope you wait till he gets more weight on him to see what he will really be like
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post #5 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, good comments about the weight and his demeanor changing when he is fitter. I wonder about that too, and it's a legitimate concern. I bet they'd be fine with a few months (frankly all winter probably....). And yes, if I do decide to borrow him for a bit (I'm honestly not sure. Just toying with the idea), I'd definitely swing for a vet check to see if he's sound and what the best approach to building him back up would be.

As far as being fit enough to ride, I certainly don't want to hurt him. Like I said, he's not emaciated... and I'm a very light rider and I usually ride in a light abetta saddle. The tack and I together weigh less than 140 lbs. The riding at least initially would be just short hacks out in the pasture (We have access to 70 acres behind my friend's home).

All points well taken. I don't wish to jump into anything. Nor do I want to pass up a good opportunity. BTW it's not about the initial cost of the horse. I honestly just haven't had any luck finding what I'm looking for, and the neighbor's horse isn't for sale! (I've asked.....).
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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OK a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's a picture. Not dire, but definitely thin.

(Not looking for conformation critiques :) I know the picture is not good for that. And I know he won't win any beauty contests).
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 02:21 PM
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He actually looks more under muscled than underweight to me. He'll pick up weight as he gains fitness. Ditto the "what if" comments. If he's nice and gentle, he doesn't look underweight enough to be lethargic, so a complete personality change when he gains some is probably not real likely. If your vet says he's healthy and sound, I'd give him a try.
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly View Post
OK a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's a picture. Not dire, but definitely thin.

(Not looking for conformation critiques :) I know the picture is not good for that. And I know he won't win any beauty contests).
I personally like him. Make sure you get him vet checked.
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post #9 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 02:31 PM
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He may not win a beauty contest but he'd sure win a handsome contest!

Melanoma is dogs is very aggressive & malignant, not so in horses with the exception of a non-grey who gets it, then it's usually bad.
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post #10 of 30 Old 10-09-2015, 02:44 PM
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He could stand to gain a little weight, but really he has no muscle. It'll get better!
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