After my first vet-check was surprisingly cut short, I worried immensely about what to do in terms of this horse. It is not every day (or week, or month) that you find a horse that is perfect for you in just about every way. My biggest fear was that he would ultimately vet sound, I'd buy him, and then the problem (whatever it is) might come back a couple months down the line and then I'd be stuck with it. Paranoid? Maybe. But you can hardly blame me for being cautious. That's why we get pre-purchase exams, right?
I decided to go with what I decided that day with the vet - wait a few days, watch him go and continue the vet check if he's sound. I reminded myself that a vet check is just a snapshot and if he was perfectly sound a few days later and then again when the vet was out, I could be pretty darn sure it was a minor, one-time, issue.
My criteria was that he needed to be 100% sound to my eye otherwise there was no point calling the vet back out. This time, we let him run around at liberty in a large outdoor arena (fenced). He was minorly stiff at first (evenly) but it was a cold morning and he wasn't achy-stiff, just what I would consider very normal muscles needing warm-up. He was happy to move around and cantered both ways, including to the right several times on his own, with zero pressure from us. It was hard to get him to trot; he wanted to stop and look or canter, no inbetween!
Once in the round pen, it didn't take long to see that he was still off to the right, despite the warm-up. It was his owner that said it first, just as I myself had decided that yes, it was still there. It's really very slight...but it's there.
So I stuck to my rules and regretfully said I couldn't proceed at that time. The owners agreed 100% although they too are disappointed since they didn't have any reason to suspect this given that he only displays the issue on a circle. I am still reasonably certain that there is nothing serious going on but I simply can't take the risk, emotionally or financially.
At the end of the day, an otherwise perfectly healthy 5 year old should be able to trot sound on a circle. Period.
So I spent the first few days of this week feeling a little sorry for myself and also feeling like I wanted nothing more to do with this process. Then I started to feel a little grateful because I really would rather something show up before I buy the horse! I have been very motivated to find something for the fall, as I believe I do a lot of bonding with a horse outside of the arena and think it would be pretty awful to bring a new horse and only be able to ride inside for the winter. But I've realized it's not going to happen on my schedule, it'll happen when it happens.
I have yet another incredible offer and my coach has some prospects outside our local area to go see. I will checking up on the "incredible offer" in the next couple weeks to see just how good it is! It seems all my effort with Willie gave me a reputation and there are a few people who would love me to buy their horse, knowing I'd be a great home. I have to say, that feels pretty good.