PPE Results: Horse with Tendon Tears? Am I Crazy to Even Consider?

I would either free lease him or his price had better be 3 figures range and I have a pasture he could retire on cheap.

No way would I pay 10k.


It sounds like he has a lot going on, but obviously his personality is a big plus for you. I’d probably get an opinion from a second vet. And definitely try to negotiate something with the seller based on the expected cost of maintenance. A “permanent” free lease sounds like a good idea, but definitely below 5 figures. And only if you are willing to do the maintenance and are ok with the risk of having a very friendly pasture pet. Here, for me, it’s far too expensive for that to take it on knowingly. And if you can have only one horse at a time, that would also be a no. But if you can make a deal, then perhaps this would be a good addition to your future farm as company for your next riding horse. I would personally rather have the farm first, but I don’t want to assume your long term plan won’t pan out.


Very good advice! Added to my mental check list.

Thank you everyone for the sound, unbiased advice about this charming, yet unsound, gelding. The more I sit with this information the more I am leaning towards sending him back to his owner with deep regret, but being careful not to let my heart do all the decision making. Once I have the land and setup to bring a horse home if needed vs paying $$$ for board on a horse I might not be able to ride, then something like this would make more sense. :cry:


Hard pass. It’s really emotionally draining when you know the seller will not do right by a horse. However, buying a performance horse to “rescue” then with known issues that will shorten their work life doesn’t make sense. Arthritis is one thing but chronic soft tissue is a whole other beast.


The other consideration is that all the money you spend on maintenance would delay the purchase of property.


I think sending him back is wise.

I have an older packer type horse with some soundness issues, but his prognosis seems better than the one your vet issued your prospect and he was free (not 10k). I got this horse to be a companion to my show horse after we purchased our farm.

When you’re ready, there will be another saint of a horse that you fall in love with that needs a light duty home. And likely you will get him for well under 10k.


TL;DR - No. Maybe for free in the right situation. Definitely not for money. They want $10K for a horse with an active tendon injury?

I once had a mare donated (I work at a nonprofit) whose only medical history was a soft-tissue injury to a hind leg, from which she had recovered uneventfully to her previous level of work. No ultrasounds had been done. She was sound when I tried her, sound when she arrived at my place. The owner and her vet were known to me. Everything was in good faith.

What it actually ended up being was a chronic DDFT injury. She’d be okay for a while, even months, then go short and sticky behind. Very rarely showed an acute, single-limb lameness, but when the injury was active, she would flex non-weightbearing on the affected side. I think the first reinjury was measured at 2cm on the ultrasound. We did the rehab, and it did heal (follow-up ultrasound done), but less than a year later we had the same tear in the same place again. It was so frustrating, especially because she was just the best, kindest little horse.

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Maybe if it was a giveaway and I had my own far so didn’t have to pay board. Hard pass any other way.


Pass for me too, sorry!

Re: the free lease idea, I’d be concerned that once I put a lot of time and money into getting the horse sound, the owners would terminate the lease and break him down again. If I wanted to commit to all that I’d prefer to pay a little (not $10k!) to get ownership.


I actually do agree with this, a purchase for $1 (and get a signed receipt for the transaction) would be better than a free lease. Thinking about it later, I also came to this conclusion too- if the OP wants to keep the horse in question.


Hard pass. He’s lame now. No promises that all the maintenance in the world will make him sound.


Pass here too. Our young mare tore a tendon, it was almost 18 months layup before she could go back to easy work. We planned to keep her a long time, so we were willing to wait while she healed. No extra treatments, blood, stem cell, etc. Older Vet, husband the older Farrier both agreed that those were not going to help, and horses treated with them did not stay sound when put back to work in the short time given. Owners want a usable horse, will spend to get back riding quickly, but legs do not hold up under the work. Each relapse makes horse worse, going into a longer rehab time.

Mare went to see the Vet every 3 months, ultrasounded, compared to original pictures, opposite, healthy leg. She got turned out daily, would not have tolerated stall rest. She was smart enough to favor the bad leg, even carrying it high, not touching the ground if it hurt!! Healing was slow but steadily improving as time passed.

She looked VERY GOOD at 15 months but the Vet said to give her the extra time to let the leg strengthen under her control, not getting regularly worked. Vet was extremely happy when she did her last visit. No difference between the two hinds, no scar tissue, or stiffness. Nothing to show she ever had a problem, no shortness in her movement.

She has been fun to use, no issues in hard work since the OK. We do Combined Driving, lots of conditioning miles, cross country work when preparing to compete. She is good with that.

With the older horse, no time off since he got damaged, I don’t think he will ever heal really well now. You are buying his issues that will need dealing with as he gets used, ages. Going to be costly.

There are other, undamaged horses out there. No reason to buy problems. He will be a burden, not a joy to use, unless you close your eyes to his problems.


That sounds exactly like what I did with my boy. I had no other options, in my view. He was smart about it, and I wasn’t in a hurry. And there was no way, is no way, I would sell on a difficult (whole saga there) Big, green, draft, with a busted leg.
The pony, on the other, hand, they kept trying to bring back into work…and that tendon kept tearing. And now, I have a sweet companion with a leg that is compromised. I love her, but she is broken beyond repair.
A year. I won’t budge on that anymore. If a horse tears a tendon. It is a year off. I don’t care what the vet says.


The gelding went back today and the owner already has a new rider lined up for him. He really deserved a nice retirement after how hard he has worked. So sad about this, but grateful for everyone’s unbiased advice on this matter. Thank you my friends.


I know it sucks but you did the right thing for you. As animal lovers, its all too easy for us to fall into the “save ALL the animals” when that just isn’t realistic (financially, emotionally, or logistically).

I’ve met and ridden many horses who I’ve thought “man, you really deserve some good ol’ Dr. Green and retirement”, only to watch them continue having to pack around people until they truly broke. At the end of the day I had to remind myself that those horses weren’t mine and it wasn’t my fault. I could only do the best for them while I worked with them.


I know a rider who recently did a $1 purchase on a horse with a known physical issue because she felt like the seller would have no reservations about selling the horse to a home with too high of performance expectations. The horse just badly badly injured her. It was an accident but may have been (likely was) tied to the identified issue. No way to say for sure but she’s out of the saddle for at least six months and her free horse is now a quite expensive pasture ornament at a training barn while they figure out next steps.


That’s probably what the sellers were counting on, someone falling in love with him and buying him against their better judgement. Glad you sent him back, it’s sad but will probably all be forgiven when you find the right one.

You guys seriously need to do your horse shopping in Iowa or the midwest in general. For the cost of a plane ticket and shipping (so, let’s say that adds about $1500 to the sale price), you can get a nice, well-broke, trail-safe horse for <$5k

Do tell. Where do we find these horses?