Looking for Input on First Horse Purchase - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question Looking for Input on First Horse Purchase

Hello fellow horse enthusiasts. I have loved horses since I can remember and had always begged and pleaded with my mom to get one. However, growing up I was unable to own my own horse--for good reason--and had to settle for taking lessons, horse summer camp and volunteering at stables to get ride time.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and I am getting back into horseback riding. I have been taking lessons from a local horse farm and am looking to purchase a trail horse to ride on the weekends and board at the stable. I have done a considerable amount of resource on costs of ownership and where to board and believe I am ready. The only set back now is that there is a horse I really like, which is listed for sale by a local horse trader here near Houston, TX. I have read a number of horror stories about unscrupulous horse traders and would love some insight. I went to the barn today to look at and ride the horse and he appeared to be in great shape and ride well for me, but I am far from being an expert. As a matter of fact, I would label myself as completely green when it comes to evaluating horses and early intermediate when it comes to riding them.

Could anyone on here have a look at the horse listing--included below--and provide any feedback or hint that may be helpful. I have always heard that you need to take a horsey friend with you to evaluate how you ride the horse and when it fits your skills and needs, but I don't really have one here in Houston yet. Any recommendation on that end would also be appreciated.

The horse's is a 10 yr old Percheron cross gelding named Hercules. He stood for still for fly spraying, saddling and mounting. He was very willing to pick up each hoof for examination. Feeling all over his body, he didn't seem to be sore or anxious being touched anywhere.He walked, trotted and cantered smoothly and did all I asked.

The story I was given was that he originally came to Texas by way of South Dakota 4 years ago and his former owners were traveling a lot, so they didn't have time for him and sold him to Doug. Then he sold the horse to a lady who had several other horses and she returned him as her horses were picking on him--he does have some nips and scars on his back that appear to be from bites from other horses.

The horse trader is Doug Gittins--the website with his listing is: Horses for Sale

If anyone knows anything about this trader, any insights would be appreciated. Feel free to PM me.

Incidentally, I am also looking for a vet in the NW Houston area (around Spring, Tomball, Magnolia, Conroe) to do the pre-purchase exam.
Jane Pucossi is offline  
post #2 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 12:38 AM
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Perhaps you could pay the person you take lessons from to go take a look at him with you.

Do get a prepurchase exam.

I know nothing of the person selling the horse but they give you a 30 day guarantee and a written contract so I would be comfortable buying from them.

The only hiccup that stood out to me was that although they welcome ppe's, they will not take deposits and sell on a first come first serve basis. I would have them clarify that a little because say in a situation you paid for an exam and the vet came during the day while you were working but you planned on picking up the horse after work if he passed that exam and then someone came with cash in those few hours between. I would be extremely irate if that happened. Unlikely to happen but better safe than sorry.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 02:35 AM
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As a draft cross, I'd have him tested for PSSM1 during those first 30 days, if he passes the PPE and you really like him.

Percherons have some of the highest instances of PSSM1 and, while PSSM1 is manageable, it entails a LOT of work and might be overwhelming for a first time horse-buyer.

The undermuscling of this particular horse's hindquarters makes me really question his status. Many of the horses listed on that website are thinner than I'm used to, but this guy looks different. He looks very undermuscled, vs simply underweight.

Here's a link -
Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM)

Animal Genetics is the fastest lab for the test, you'll have results back in under 2 weeks. You can pull hairs for the test and send them in all by yourself - no need for a vet to do it.


Edit: plus, not to be a downer, but truly "perfect" horses don't get passed around like it sounds like this guy has been - in my opinion. That sounds bad, but genuinely perfect horses tend to find a home and stay there for some time - not get passed around and end up with a trader at age 10.
I'm sure there are some horses that are perfectly perfect that have been passed around numerous times in a few years, but it's not typical, imo.

My gelding has a similar story - "saved" from neglect at age 4 by a guy who trained him, then was ridden around for a year, then became a pasture pet until he was 9, when he was sent to an auction and ended up in the kill pen. A flipper bought him out of the kill pen, sold him 60 days later with a false story, and he stayed in his next home for about a year and half before becoming mine.

I figured he just had had a bad run, he needed to get lucky and find his person.
On one hand, I was right - our personalities meshed from the day we met and he is MY horse, through and through.
BUT.
It's turned out that he also has a genetic disorder that renders him essentially unrideable, he's relatively unpredictable, and he's extremely high-maintenance. He needs to work every single day, or he's in extreme pain the next day.

That's just my take. These days, I raise my eyebrows at middle-aged, grade, horses with limited histories and anything less than stellar training. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong...but my gelding has turned me into a skeptic.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

~
Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 07-03-2016 at 02:50 AM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 02:59 AM
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I too like the return policy but ask what sort of money you would get back if you should return him.

He looks to be a good sensible type, however he has an upside down neck, with the lower muscle being bigger than the crest and lacks muscle over his butt. To me this looks like a misalignment.

Take along someone who knows how well you ride. Take the horse off the premises to see how well he goes. If they insist someone goes with you make sure he will go in the lead.

As said, get a vet to examine him. Good luck.

Dealers make their name not on the good horses they sell but on the bad! People are always fast to put someone down but not so keen to tell you where their horse came from of it is a good one!
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 09:13 AM
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I agree with Wallaby, you do not want to get into PSSM with your first horse.

A couple of things stand out to me other than the neck issue Foxhunter pointed out. The lack of hind end muscling along with a slightly tucked up appearance to the abdomen could be early signs of a neuromuscular issue such as PSSM, or also in draft horses it could relate to Shivers which is a progressive neurological disorder. It could be more simple such as a vitamin E deficiency, but it's difficult to say.

On the front view it concerns me that both front hooves appear unlevel. The inside hoof wall appears much shorter than the outside, which could be simply poor medial/lateral balance from the farrier or might mean a movement issue that could contribute to early onset arthritis and lameness.

The horses on the website in general appear to be ones that have been used very hard or not treated well. I see a very thin and beat up horse (Turbo), another with lots of scars and a significant hunter's bump/sacroiliac subluxation (Hobo), another with lots of scars and a hunter's bump (Aspen), and another with a very undermuscled hind end, and very poor hooves (significant flaring and medial/lateral imbalance) (Jesse). Reno has tons of scars too.

These horses have been very poorly managed, and yet all of them sound delightful from the descriptions. This is not a seller I would trust. He is picking up these horses for very cheap, not taking care of them and then trying to sell them off as wonderful, perfect horses. I am sure they all have serious issues - horses this young should not look this poor even with so-so management.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 10:52 AM
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For a vet, I recommend Kasper and Rigby, or equine associates. I grew up in the area, and always had horses there....

I have never heard of that horse trader, sorry.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 11:26 AM
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Did you get to try him on a trail? If that's the main type of riding you're going to do, I highly recommend testing out the horse you may purchase in that situation. I also second seeing if the person you're taking lessons from could tag along and help you take a look. Most horse people love horse shopping, even if it's just helping out! The worst they could say is no....

Definitely get a PPE.

I know it can be overwhelming - I just bought my first horse as well and no one came to see her with me, although my barn owners gave me a ton of guidance and advice, I was the only one who laid eyes on her. The PPE definitely made me more confident, well worth the $200 to be sure I wasn't missing anything important!

He looks super cute - maybe not perfect conformation-ally, but if you're not looking to do anything too serious it shouldn't matter too much. Hope it works out!
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-03-2016, 02:34 PM
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I would definitely have someone knowledgeable come with and give you advice, even if you have to pay them to do it.
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