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How Much Should I Offer on This Horse?

4752 Views 31 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  SilverMaple
Hi everyone. I'll try to keep this as short but detailed as possible.

A month ago I met a quarter horse at the barn I was leasing a horse at and fell in love with him instantly. He was/is a rescue horse who was about 250lbs under weight at the time and being used for lessons. I asked the owner if I could buy him that very day and she said she wasn't ready to sell him, but she let me do a full time lease on him.

For the past month I have been putting weight on him (paying for all of his supplements), paying full boarding fees, visiting with him daily, taking lunging and riding lessons with him. I'm just so in love with this horse. He is a good sound horse, but he does need some work, and really needs his topline built. He's also covered in scars from whatever crappy life he lived previously.

I was at the barn the day he got his teeth done, and the vet came out as well. The vet says he is in his late 20's, has a tumor in his mouth, a cluster of tumors on his penis, as well as a couple of tumors on his bum. The owner believes he is actually in his early 20's, but as a buyer, wouldn't I go by what the vet is telling me?

In any case, the owner wants to sell him right away now and she is asking $2,500.

I am really only prepared to pay between $1000-$1500 for him.

I'm very new at all of this so I was hoping to get some advice before I make a counter offer to her. I'd like to have some knowledge in my hands to say "he is worth xxx amount." I am wondering if my counter offer price of $1000-$1500 is reasonable given his condition and age?

I'm sorry if any of this is confusing, it's a weird situation but the owner (who is also the owner of my barn) Is a good gal and she does care about this horses well being, but I also don't want her pulling a fast one on me, assuming that my novice horse purchasing experience can be taken advantage of.

Thanks for any help!
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I've never personally bought a horse, but I'd be concerned about all the tumors he has. Are they aggressive, fatty tumors, or what? Are you prepared for that fact that his cancer might become more aggressive and you'll have to put him down sooner rather than later? May never happen, just what I was thinking about. I'd definitely get the vet's opinion on those first.
Yeah, my heart sank when I heard that he had tumors, but the vet tells me its normal for Gray horses and they're almost usually benign. The only way to know for sure would be to have them tested, but apparently most don't bother. So yes, it would be a risk I would be taking in purchasing him.
There's actually an entire thread on melanomas (the tumors greys get), on here that's been updated the last couple days. Maybe you should check out that, I'll see if I can find it. I can't offer advice on price, but I'd want that test done before I bought the horse, just because I'd want to know if it's an aggressive cancer or not.
That link would be great! I'll do a search as well.

I tried to find some info online about melanoma after that vet visit but didn't turn up anything conclusive. You're probably right, a second vet check from a separate vet would be wise.
Thank you. Didn't have to get far before running into this "many veterinarians and horse owners are fairly dismissive of melanomas, considering them to be benign lesions that merit neither biopsy nor treatment--unless or until the tumor becomes threatening.'"

I think I just purchase him with the understanding that he has tumors. they may become cancerous or life threatening. It just is what it is. Maybe I'm crazy but I'm wiling to deal with whatever comes our way. He's a magnificent horse who's stollen my heart!

I will still have a vet check before making any move to purchase him however!
I'm sorry but a horse in it's upper 20's with all those tumors and all the work you describe he needs isn't even worth 1k in my book.. let alone 2500
No need to be sorry. That is my feeling as well, thank you for the feedback!
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The only way she is going to sell that horse is to you. No one will buy then unless they are already invested in him, especially for $2500. You can buy a young, healthy, started horse for that price.

Give her your offer, $1000 is generous, and I imagine after some time when he wont sell she will call you up. If you continue to lease him though, that probably won't work.
solid advice.

I guess I have to be prepared to walk away from him, though it'll be very sad to do so.
Standing on the outside looking in, I would not give any money for a late 20's horse with questions about cancer, and a bad history, I would offer to adopt him and be prepared to spend money on keeping him going, with the knowledge that you may not have him for that long.

Of course when you have already been riding him and love him, then it is a whole different ball game....$2500 is very high in my view...can't see anyone paying that.

I guess it is down to you and your financial situation, if you are prepared and able to spend the money, then, well Thank God that there are people like you in the world.
I'm willing to pay a bit of money but certainly not $2500. Not even close.

She is insistent that he is actually between 18-22 but without paperwork that states that, I have to go by what the vet says, and I have to prepare that I may not have him in my life for as long as I'd like. It's definetley not an ideal situation all around, but when a horse has your heart the way he has mine and I have his it can be tough to walk away. I'm willing to go the long haul with him and love him and give him a beautiful life for however long he has left. I just hope she'll let me!
Before you go any further you need to get a different vet to see and evaluate this animal.
Get this vets opinion on age, health and what he thinks about these "benign" melanomas all over the body seen.
When you are the paying client you are paying for a honest evaluation and all information divulged to you this vet can discover so you can proceed or stop anymore involvement, leasing or purchase happening.
Your information does not need to be shared with the owner either...remember she will have a differing answer for anything controversial as she wants a sale..
I would be swayed by what the vet estimates of age and health condition/issues over a "owner" who is not trained, a expert nor gone to vet school for such things...
There is a huge difference in life expectancy of a teen-aged horse and one that is in there late 20's...:-|
There is also a lot of difference in benign and cancerous lesions occurring, depending upon where they are located on the body.
This "owner" is looking to sell to you, "dump" this horse and make a profit on it.... :eek_color:

So, this horse is a rescue...except for any monthly costs she paid before YOU took on this horses lease, you started to pay all of his bills...this "owner" probably had paid nothing to get the horse, and very little in care costs till you came along...
Sadly, in you she has found a "sucker" who shells out money and pays all her bills.
So now she tosses a totally unrealistic price at you for a horse who is covered in tumors seen and unknown what is internal tumor afflicted, ..if the vet is accurate...being the horse is a recovering rescue probably taken some life expectancy away too...
Please, please make sure this horse she did not "adopt" from a rescue since most rescues have no-sell clauses in legal contracts signed, period.
So what are you left with... :-?

So you must decide on a number you are willing to spend and not one penny more, period...
You get that second independent vet evaluation first, ask the hard questions and listen to the answers...
This is hard but let your brain make the decision, then your heart and emotions get to rejoice or cry.
To take on such a animal is well prepared with the facts before you jump in to more than you bargained for.

As for price...based on what you shared and the controversy of vet & owners "opinions"...
I would not offer more than $500, if that. Period.
Horses fitting this description by me are given away all the time, or sold for $200 or less...truth.
I wish it sounded better for you than it does but some of what you mention makes me want to run for the hills as fast as my feet can go and take my sore heart with me..

I'm sorry. I don't wish my words to be so hurtful, but honest and truthful.
Sometimes we need to be told in straight talk what others sugar-coat...
You are looking at a broken heart in all probability sooner rather than later and a horse you may be faced with enormous bills from and some really tough decisions needed.
I just want you to realize, to go into such a situation with eyes open wide and true understanding of what that owner is poo-pooing may indeed not be the whole story or truth.
I definetley teared up reading this but you're 10000% right and I appreciate the blunt honesty. I needed it. Part of me has already been thinking about just walking away all together and getting a younger horse who is ready to ride. This is a huge responsibility to take on a horse in this condition.

Either way you're right that she's looking to dump him and make a profit and I'm the easiest person to go to. I almost laughed when she said $2500.

Thanks for the honesty. I think I just let my heart get away with me in this situation and I think I knew in the back of my head I'd end up heart broken at the end of this.
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Remove your heartstrings for just one minute. She knows your heartstrings exist so she is willing to tug on them... Offer the amount you would pay for a horse just like him but not him. I know sometimes it hurts but just like we say with bad boy/girlfriends, there is other fish in the sea.
Thank you for the honest truth!
Yeah ... I know you are emotionally invested in this horse and that's something no one can put a price on. But there's no way I'd spend $1,000 on an approximately 20 year old horse. No. Way. Realistically speaking, he's got maybe a few good usable years left, and that's assuming his tumors are benign. Feed bills, vet bills, possible corrective shoeing, extra blankets, more teeth floating, etc etc etc will all exponentially increase as he ages. If you're actually looking to buy a horse you can use, I'd pass. But if you're looking for a pet, and you really feel like spending all that money is worth it, then it might be worth it to you.

-- Kai
Those darn emotional investments lol.

Thanks for the insight!
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Curious - so what do people do with their horses when they get old? Is it customary to just give up on them? I assume many end up going to slaughter if they cannot find a pasture to spend the end of their life in...?
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