Sunday, September 16, 2012

Playing by my own rules.

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.

Friday, September 7, 2012


My vet check on the grey was yesterday. All started well enough with the physical exam, things looked fantastic, actually. Then we went outside to watch him go, do flexions, etc. We started in the round pen and he was quite obviously off on his right front. It was subtle and likely only evident on a circle, but it was consistent.

I'm not a superstitious person but I'm begining to feel jinxed. I finally find a horse where every little detail fits perfectly with what I want and he presents with a lameness at vet check! I know, I know, better that it happens now, yada yada. While I know that to be true, it doesn't make it any easier.

I decided not to proceed any further that day. As my vet pointed out in private, it's not up to me to diagnose a lameness if one shows up, that's the owner's job. Also, even if I did do the flexions and xrays, it's possible nothing would show up and we'd be in the same position, or the discomfort in that leg could mask if there are issues in any others. Ugh.

So I will go back to the farm and watch him again on Sunday. If he shows absolute soundness, I have the vet lined up to re-assess and continue on Tuesday. Obviously if he is still off I will cancel the vet call and have some poutine and beer. And then some candy. Probably all while crying. My gosh that's an attractive image, isn't it?

I shouldn't feel as hurt and upset as I am, it's just not rational!  I seem to fall in love too quickly with a good match. I have to say that even though it hurts, I'd still rather love hard and hurt than be more indifferent. It's just not me.

My biggest concern is is this:

Let's say he looks to be perfectly sound on Sunday. Then I have the vet out and everything goes fine, xrays are good etc. So if I had happened to do the vetting that day, I would have never known about the day when he was slightly off. What then? Do I assume he is fine and go ahead with the purchase? I worry about soft tissue stuff because it can come and go...and come back again. I've dealt with this with Hazel most of her life. I know it's not in his hoof because he was amazing through the hoof testers and my vet was very thorough. He was also fine the two previous occasions I've seen him, which were a couple weeks apart themselves.

I have no idea what I'll do. This horse is so perfect for me in every way, it feels silly to write him off for being ever so slightly off one day. But then again, why take the chance. I just don't know what the right thing to do is. I guess I will take it one day at a time. 

I want to kiss that nose for years and years to come.
Is that such an impossible thing to want?