Opinions needed: How serious are stifle issues in a young horse?

I’ve been looking for a young horse to bring along with my trainer and recently found a mare I liked. However, I discovered that she has a small lesion in her stifle on the medial femoral condyle. It is not a full-blown cyst, but she is only 5 years old and priced in the mid xx,xxx. It doesn’t seem to bother her and we wouldn’t have even found this issue if we hadn’t done x-rays. She is solid otherwise.

My question is: how big of an issue is this?

The vet thought she could end up being fine. But, that lesion could also develop into a cyst as she grows older and is in regular work. If that happens then it is possible she could begin to have lameness issues.

I have always dealt with older horses that needed maintenance and this is the first time I’m looking at a young horse. I had been hoping for a clean PPE given her age. Now that I didn’t get that, I’m not sure if this is a dealbreaker.

Would you purchase a mid-five-figure horse with this issue? (Or potential issue down the road?) From what I understand this is a fairly common problem in young horses, but that doesn’t mean it’s one that should be overlooked.

(The seller will not come down in price, but I’m not sure that would matter since I would not want to purchase a horse with soundness issues for any figure give my plans for training / competing / eventing.)

Thank you for your time and thoughts!

I’m pretty wary of stifle issues (I buy jumping horses), so I’d pass.


I’ve not dealt with that exact issue but for me that would be a big red flag.
I’d be less weary in a horse who was a little older and had X-rays to see it’s progression.

If you love the horse I’d get a second vet opinion and also be having a serious talk about the price. I know you say the seller won’t go down, but they will now have to disclose this and that’s going to scare away buyers.

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