I’m seeking advice from experienced equestrians. I’ve had an awesome 16-year-old quarter horse gelding on trial for the past couple of weeks. He checks all the boxes and is pretty much everything I want. My trial is almost up so I decided to do the PPE.
Well, turns out that he has multiple tears along both of his hind fetlock tendons. He has always been a little stiff when we start working but I just assumed it was age and he did work out of it. But he flexed positive (like very lame after being flexed) so we did some digging to see what the cause would be. X-rays revealed mild arthritis that the vet was not concerned about for his age. Then we did an ultrasound and discovered the tears.
The vet does not think the tears will resolve but could possibly be maintained with supplements, Legend, anti-inflammatory meds, and shockwave treatment. All of this would be monthly. So we are talking about a significant amount of maintenance every month for the rest of this horse’s life. I mostly do trail riding vs his previous home which was a show/performance home and worked him pretty hard. But I would like to be able to walk/trot/canter with this guy and the vet said there is no way to tell how long that would be possible given the tendon injuries. I can afford maintenance, but that doesn’t automatically make this an easy decision.
So now I’m a bit stuck. I really like this guy. He has the personality, movement, and training I’m looking for. And is it not easy to find a horse that checks all those boxes where I live (I’m in upstate NY). He walks over to me as soon as he sees me coming for him in the paddock. He seems happy to see me and I feel like we are starting to form a bond. I’m just reeling from the PPE results. I’m not sure if tendon injuries are a deal-breaker or if I should be willing to invest in ongoing maintenance for the rest of his life since I like him so much. This is the downside to doing a trial - I had time to connect with the horse and so it’s not a black & white decision anymore.
The vet thinks I should consider the maintenance, but she of course would be the one providing the maintenance.
My trainer thinks I should consider the maintenance, but if I don’t have a horse then she loses a client.
My friends think I should consider the maintenance because I like him so much, but think the owner should come down in price (which they will not by much).
This horse was $15,000 and they are willing to come down to $10,000. The owner feels his personality and training make him worth it and that maintenance is to be expected with a horse his age. I can go back to them try to get them down even further, but before I head down that road I’m trying to decide if it’s even a good idea to buy a horse with tendon tears in both hind legs.
Would be grateful for objective advice from riders who are not invested in this situation.