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I’m taking on a project horse for the winter to train up for the upcoming competition season. My original first choice is an ex racehorse, off the track for 7 years, who used to be a rather good eventer. However, he suffered an injury and now needs several months rehab. His owner was going to give him to me for free as she doesn’t have time for him. He was looked at by an equine physio, but not a vet. In my country, equine physios are not required to have a degree like vets, so I told her I wanted him vet checked first to make sure he’ll completely heal and be competitive again. The owner balked against this and got super defensive and said it wasn’t needed. That raised my witchy senses and many red flags, as well as the fact she cancelled on me meeting him today due to “bad weather” and he’s fussy and won’t stand still in this weather. Despite the fact we’ve just started the winter storms here and if I take him on I’ll certainly be seeing him through a lot more of this weather.
My second choice is a never raced, 5 year old standardbred who’s green broke and basically a clean slate for me to turn into a killer showjumper. He has an incredible scope.
The owner of the rehab horse is raising a lot of red flags for me, and I know taking the SB would probably be the better choice as I won’t have the rehab to do and then rush to train before competition season, but I really don’t want to let the rehab horse down. I get emotionally attached to horses I’ve never met 😅
Help! What should I do?
 

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It IS necessary to have him checked by a vet if your intentions are to compete with him. For that matter, the standardbred as well.

The thing about injuries is, you really can't rush them. What if you have set backs with him? What if he is just not ready by competition time, then what? Are you going to skip the season to give him more time? How will you feel about that? If you think, after a vet check, that number one horse is too good to pass up then go for it but I wouldn't do it without a PPE first. Granted, he is free but not after he comes home with you and you are paying his expenses. Find out what those expenses are going to be.
 

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I don't see where taking in a injured horse needing time-off to recover, if they can ever recover {you did not mention the kind of injury or grade of it} and a time deadline of "killer showhorse" you are going to train fit together.
You need a able-bodied horse to start to work with and train effectively....
Whether sound or not, 6 months to turn a know-nothing into a show-ring champion is quite a aspiration...
Can be done, but is going to be a steady work program that injuries, afflictions and down-time can not be part of to make and meet your goal.
I would not be looking at "freebies" with injuries with what you need done in a short time but well put together horses with a work ethic you can use who are 100% sound ready to work.
Pick carefully as the anticipated work-load gives little time off for R&R many do need when training.
It isn't just a physical build but mental stability you search for...

Yes, you need "a vet" for evaluation who has diagnostic equipment to use if needed if a question of suitability arises.
Emotions need put away, this is a brain decision first and being pressured to take-on what someone wants to toss away does concern me...and would involve a vet for that evaluation absolutely whether owner likes it or not.

Good luck.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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I am partial to Standardbreds and know that they make wonderful competition animals. My horse & I are just getting into Endurance riding and he is a 21 year old Standardbred (he's in the best shape he's ever been in since he was race training).

Regardless which horse you choose I would have a thorough PPE done by a vet of your choosing. Especially with such high aspirations I'm not sure a horse with a current injury would be the best option. With a rigorous work schedule I suspect this horse has a high probability of re-injury.

To me it doesn't matter if the TB is free or not - the cost of the horse will be the smallest of your overall expenses.
 

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It sounds like your gut is already decided. The first horse has baggage - has already had a minor breakdown. Seems a bit fragile if the weather bothers it that much. Plus the owner sounds a bit... strange. Standardbreds are great horses and generally have great legs. This sounds like the horse you want. A fresh start and clean slate. Balking at a vet check generally means something is there they know about that they dont want you to find...


I’m taking on a project horse for the winter to train up for the upcoming competition season. My original first choice is an ex racehorse, off the track for 7 years, who used to be a rather good eventer. However, he suffered an injury and now needs several months rehab. His owner was going to give him to me for free as she doesn’t have time for him. He was looked at by an equine physio, but not a vet. In my country, equine physios are not required to have a degree like vets, so I told her I wanted him vet checked first to make sure he’ll completely heal and be competitive again. The owner balked against this and got super defensive and said it wasn’t needed. That raised my witchy senses and many red flags, as well as the fact she cancelled on me meeting him today due to “bad weather” and he’s fussy and won’t stand still in this weather. Despite the fact we’ve just started the winter storms here and if I take him on I’ll certainly be seeing him through a lot more of this weather.
My second choice is a never raced, 5 year old standardbred who’s green broke and basically a clean slate for me to turn into a killer showjumper. He has an incredible scope.
The owner of the rehab horse is raising a lot of red flags for me, and I know taking the SB would probably be the better choice as I won’t have the rehab to do and then rush to train before competition season, but I really don’t want to let the rehab horse down. I get emotionally attached to horses I’ve never met 😅
Help! What should I do?
 

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I'd go for the Standardbred. Go with your gut. Red flags are not something to ignore when making such an investment, both financially and emotionally.

The rehab horse sounds unstable to me. Unknown injuries and an owner unwilling to get him vet checked first? Nope.... Plus, if he's bothered by the weather.... What will he be like in the show ring?

I don't know what your experience with greenbroke horses is, but the Standard seems the better option. A clean slate.
 

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I'd take the Standardbred over the other one...I'd still have a vet come out to look at that one though. Just to be safe.

The fact that the owner got really offended when you asked about that, & the weather thing...you'd be around the horse in any type of weather, that's just odd...screams huge red flags. I'd pass on that.
 

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I'd go with the standard bred as well. Too many unknown factors with the ottb. Did the owner mention what the injury was? A big red flag that they won't have a vet assessment and tells me that the injury is more than meets the eye. Usually a free injured horse is not free. You'll make up for It in time and vet bills, especially when you don't have a clear diagnosis on the injury.
 
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