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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if the attachments uploaded but anyway here is the story. There is a black & white paint gelding at my barn. He is 19-21 years old according to the BO and the actual owner. JJ is his name.

I have grown to love JJ, who never gets attention because his owner has two younger horses that she rides and handles. As a result I lavish attention on him when I am at the barn. His owner has offered to give him to me. This is my hesitation. I would then be paying board for four horses. And he has some health concerns.

He has a growth on his penis that bleeds and looks awful and painful. The owner says it is not cancer and is just something that grows back every few years. If I took him having that removed and tested would be an immediate expense. He is also stiff in the back end, but his owner said he is still ridable for light riding. He is very well trained with what I have handled him with. The owner said our 8 year old would be able to ride him with no issues, and the horse we got for her is in foal now plus she is a bit of a handful on the ground, which is a whole other story about what happens when you buy a horse that is exceptionally docile then start actually feeding them correctly what happens when they feel better.

Anyway, my heart goes to JJ because I see how truly nice of a guy he is. I look at him and just know that in his prime he was likely amazing. I feel an obligation because when a horse has gone the distance and been full of heart for years they deserve a happy retirement with fun easy trails and grooming and love. We are also starting to look at property, so the boarding situation is temporary. Likely until the summer when our lease is up.

Thoughts?
 

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An older horse is going to cost more, now and long term. But he may well be worth it especially for a young child to learn on.

Those growths may be cancer (benign) that come and go. Vets can remove them if problematic (which is what this sounds like). IMO this issue should not be ignored. It is not very costly to remove them, btw.


What about a partial lease of the horse, with option to buy? You could request the owner has the vet out to inspect and treat the horse's penis as part of the deal. I don't know what the board costs in your area, but maybe offer half the cost, half the vet bills etc. Then when you move to your own place, you could decide if you want to take him with you.

Older horses can also have a calming effect on other horses, so when you move to your own property he could be a great companion horse.
 

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Yea, but your main obligation is toward the happy end of the horses that have gone the distance for you. However, this is something that may work out for you since you see an end to the boarding situation.

Have you seen any vet bills stating what she says. I would ask about having a vet visit at her expense. You will have to figure out for yourself if this will fly or not, but if I was considering taking this horse I would at least ask, and definitely get a current vet opinion even if I have to pay for it myself. Free horses are not free.
 

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In the one picture posted, which is sideways so a bit hard to see, it appears like JJ has a large swayback. He may or may not be ridable, even by a young child.

Have you tried having your daughter ride him yet? If not that would be step #1.

If he is ridable, you may need to heavily pad his back. I have found the Lami Cell pads from Jeffers to be the best value and really cushion an older horses back well, minimizing any bounce.

Here is the link:

https://www.jefferspet.com/products/blk-lami-cell-full-shock-memory-pad
 

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Off topic, but I have head that anything gel does not work so well. Maybe I'm wrong, but doesn't the gel just get slopped around? It's a neat idea, but maybe something firmer words better.
 

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A free lease, with an option to buy, like @AnitaAnne said, is what I did when I got Teddy. I told his owner I would free lease him for three months (payment for board up front) and at the end of that time if I thought I could do something with him, I'd take him. If not, I'd give him back. It worked out well for me. I do like the idea of having the current owner have the vet out first. A month into my free lease of Teddy, the owner was like, "He needs his vaccinations and teeth floated, and oh yeah maybe you can have the vet figure out why he won't take a bit." She hadn't been doing anything with him, so he was actually pretty overdue for all of that stuff, and the farrier.

But if you're thinking about him for your child, then for sure even before that I'd try a couple of test rides.

ETA, two more thoughts.
1. Your mare is pregnant. Can you afford FIVE horses once she foals?
2. Depending on the way the pastures are set up where you board, can you ask to have this guy put in with your other horses to see how they all get along? In terms of herd dynamics, my Teddy was the best thing that could have happened to me. But if could easily have gone the other way, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In the one picture posted, which is sideways so a bit hard to see, it appears like JJ has a large swayback. He may or may not be ridable, even by a young child.

Have you tried having your daughter ride him yet? If not that would be step #1.

If he is ridable, you may need to heavily pad his back. I have found the Lami Cell pads from Jeffers to be the best value and really cushion an older horses back well, minimizing any bounce.

Here is the link:

https://www.jefferspet.com/products/blk-lami-cell-full-shock-memory-pad
She rode him bareback with the halter. He does have a sway back. He also got quite down in weight awhile back because he was not being fed enough.

Someone posted about free not being free. I know this all too well. It just nags me that he is not being treated in the way I feel is properly for his age! My boyfriend keeps saying no and that if she still has him when we are ready to move that then we can think it over again.

I have heard bad things about gel and memory foam pads, but yeah he would definitely need lots of padding and adjustments for his back. These are all things to think about. However, I cannot get his sweet face off my mind and it feels as though, once again, my heart is winning over what I know are all logical things to consider regarding cost and time.
 

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She rode him bareback with the halter. He does have a sway back. He also got quite down in weight awhile back because he was not being fed enough.

Someone posted about free not being free. I know this all too well. It just nags me that he is not being treated in the way I feel is properly for his age! My boyfriend keeps saying no and that if she still has him when we are ready to move that then we can think it over again.

I have heard bad things about gel and memory foam pads, but yeah he would definitely need lots of padding and adjustments for his back. These are all things to think about. However, I cannot get his sweet face off my mind and it feels as though, once again, my heart is winning over what I know are all logical things to consider regarding cost and time.
I have used those pads for YEARS and even on my 28 yr old paint that was ridden right up to his last year (two years ago).

The pad is placed OVER a second pad. No harm to back at all, it cushions it and fills in the sway.

I ride in treeless saddles, and padding the back is #1 with me.
 

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I would say that, like insurance, you would take him on as long as she is willing to at least go halves on treatment for that growth ongoing. You are giving him a retirement and taking on an expense. What she saves in his board some of that should go towards medical bills. I would absolutely have this written up. An alternative is that she has that lump removed and THEN you will take him so at least thats out of the way (for a few years if she's correct). I think its still a win for her - she knows hes going to a good home and will save cost but she can't just dump all this on you.

You could also maybe permanently loan him (the loan being for free but written up) and the expense she must take care of is this lump. That way he stays in her name if you do end up having issues, as sad as that sounds :< You sound amazing!
 

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I rode a sway backed mare for years and I am a heavier rider. I padded her up and off we went - up and down hills, walked cantered we did it all. My mare oddly enough was also black and white and had a cancerous growth. her growth was on the end of her vagina and ended up as large as my fist. I never regretted buying her or paying for the vet bills for her. Small price to pay for a great horse. Try free lease and if you love him opt for ownership

He sounds like he would make a great kids horse and I know you have been horse shopping and know well broke kid friendly horses are not cheap
 

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It sounds like he needs some love & TLC. If you can provide that...I don't think it's a bad idea. But definitely weigh your options/costs too - vet bills are not cheap!

I would also talk to them about maybe a lease-before-owning (with a contract, of course). Test him out, see if your daughter could actually ride him/if they click, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I rode a sway backed mare for years and I am a heavier rider. I padded her up and off we went - up and down hills, walked cantered we did it all. My mare oddly enough was also black and white and had a cancerous growth. her growth was on the end of her vagina and ended up as large as my fist. I never regretted buying her or paying for the vet bills for her. Small price to pay for a great horse. Try free lease and if you love him opt for ownership

He sounds like he would make a great kids horse and I know you have been horse shopping and know well broke kid friendly horses are not cheap
They are definitely not cheap. And he is so good on the ground that she could do everything with him, which is not the case with the mare that she can ride.

I don't think I would regret paying his vet bills either as I think he deserves it. I guess I should just maybe get a quote from my vet.
 

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The problem with older horses is that eventually their teeth wear out and you will be feeding a mash 4x daily to keep their weight up or buying chopped forage etc. My old mare is 26 years old. I love her to pieces but she is twice the expense of a younger horse and that is without medication. I have to buy special hay and feed just for her.

It does sound like cancer. If it is, i would not hesitate to call your vet and ask what treatment options and costs are associated with that.

If you have the financial resources to cover these things and don't mind the cost, i say go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I spoke with my vet who said the cost of removing the growth would be about $400, then depending on what the histopathology showed treatment could be cryotherapy or some other options to keep it from re-growing. I looked in his mouth and he has wolf teeth as well. I'm not sure if they bother him especially with bits, but he has some sharp edges as well. He currently eats three flakes of alfalfa twice per day. When he was down to two flakes twice per day he did lose some weight, but he seems to be keeping the weight on now.

Boyfriend still says I don't need to take him right now with the board expense, but if she still wants to give him to me when we move then he said we can re-visit it.
 

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Great advice, above, to heed:)

Older horses can also have a calming effect on other horses, so when you move to your own property he could be a great companion horse.
Or, depending how the pecking order gets established when you move your horses, JJ could end up being so passive that he ends up on the "short end of the stick" in the pasture.

There is nothing sociable about my 25 year old -- he is a bully. Which is why my 24 yr old has to be separated from him, if I don't want the 24 yr old put in a corner and kicked, or not even allowed under the overhang much less in the barn during weather extremes.

Or - JJ could turn out to be the bully, lol

If you do take JJ, be prepared to have a separate pasture area for him, in case your other horses decide they want to run him because they sense he has health issues, and therefore is the weak one of the herd.

Herd dynamics in this instance may very well be of equal importance to increased costs for JJ's health issues:)

Far as his wolf teeth, you could use a bitless system on him.

All of ^^^ thus, just in case you gave a weak moment and do take him:)
 
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He sounds like a lovely guy, just do your research and be sure it isn't going to be a financial strain on your family. Once your mare foals, 5 horses is a LOT, even if you have a super well paying job/income. If your significant other is not on board, it won't work as well. Ask me how I know. It can cause relationship issues between the two of you. So, make sure he is on board as well.
 
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