Would you walk away from a horse with a cresty neck and sore feet?
I tried a pony last weekend that I really liked. Under saddle he was almost exactly what I'm looking for. Great temperament, good size, good bone, good-looking feet. BUT. He has a rippled cresty neck and sore feet with pads. Shoeing protocol was changed a few months ago at which time vet put him on isox (to help circulation, seller said) but seller said x-rays showed no signs of any problems in the feet.
I am really leery of a pony who presents with these symptoms, even though he's otherwise exactly what I want.
I would probably pass him up. Weather he has no "changes" right now on the x-ray doesnt mean that things wont change for the worse and quickly. SOunds like a potential let down esp if you are looking for an animal to be active on. Not to mention the Price of Vets, Farrier, special care needs and long term issues. Is he Cushings victim or Laminitis victim, IR? Obesity issues?
The biggest word I keyed on was the word "almost". You stated that he was "almost exactly what" you were looking for. Why not try to find "THE" exact horse/pony you are looking for? This way you are not setting yourself for disappointment in the future either way.
I'd maybe find out if it's just IR or if Cushings (though with Cushings it seems they get skinnier, not fatter). If it's IR you just manage the feet and diet. I have three IR, one is a pony who is also at lesat pre-Cushings. It's a pain, but can be managed with not too much trouble. You just have to keep it up.
"As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
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PP I've been thinking about this one since you posed the question originally...
I wouldn't have an issue taking on an IR horse if I knew the previous owner had it well controlled, and there was a system of management in place that was working for the horse.
But, it sounds as if the owner hasn't found a regime that is working for the pony. Which means it will be left to you to repeat the vet exams, blood work, rads, etc. to get pony on the right path. Do you really want that hassle?
I think personally, I would pass. The last thing you want is to buy pony, tear your hair out trying to get pony right, never succeeding, and ending up with a pasture pet. (A very bored and potentially annoying pasture pet, as ponies of that breeding get goofy when they don't have jobs!! )
What's the saying about men? They are like buses, there's always another one around the corner? Horses are kind of the same.... the Perfect Pony is out there for you....
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
Yes, it has been my gut instinct to pass on this pony, but I always like hearing others' opinions. The reason he is "almost" everything I want is because of his feet. I already have one with crappy feet - I don't need another foot problem.
Another consideration is the possibility that if the pony starts feeling better, he may be somewhat fizzier. That might not be a deal breaker, but something to think on.
Me--I'd prefer not to buy a problem.
"It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay
Long answer: Bless the wee laminitic and/or IR horses, but they are a huge financial and management pain. Do you have your own place? Or would you need to find a boarding barn that can put up with him?
We have an IR paint -he is wonderful and we've had him since he was two. He is now 18. But jeeze, the cost/care/upkeep on this guy is at least 7x that of the other horses (which, granted, is very low) We are able to manage him well but we could not do it if someone was not there all day - and willing to do the 2 hrs of turnout with a muzzle from X time to X time ONLY etc etc.
Sore feet WITH pads concerns me. That means there is a lot of ouch there. So, especially in this market, take a pass.
I guess I'd be inclined to ask what has been done so far.
There seem to be a reasonably high number of people (who aren't here on COTH) who don't really KNOW what IR or Cushings is. They think fat=fine. They see feet being independent of all the rest. A lot of times, they haven't TRIED to do anything to manage the diet or exercise.
I've had my mare for all of her nearly 20 years of life. By the time she was THREE she was showing signs of IR. But I was raised that those were just called "easy keepers". We still turned her out on lush pasture, didn't change anything with diet. Back then, being that I was a young teen, I didn't challenge my folks' on that....and I did ride a TON so she was fairly asymptomatic.
Now? I know better. And she's dry lotted. Her diet is pretty carefully managed. She's never had laminitis but I can tell that as she gets older, I have to be more and more careful as subtle changes seem to push her close.
So I guess my point is...maybe nothing has really been done for the horse. Not all IR horses are going to founder or have recurrent hoof issues IF they are properly managed. Some though, are truly tough cases...I agree with that.
But if this were THE horse for me in all other ways, I'd dig pretty hard into what has/hasn't been tried thus far.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I would like to add that you really don't know what is going on either. My mare was lame on one foot but had bruising on all four feet. The vet said it was nothing (bruising) and xrays showed navicular changes (which I now know means nothing). She is also severely grass allergic. But now I am thinking that she has a mild founder in the spring that we ignored because it couldn't be seen on xrays. She is in a stall this spring a little early to keep her off the grass before the allergies really start to also keep her off the spring grass. My long winded point is that you may be only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Pass.
I would take one for FREE if I had the time, money and resources to devote to the correct diet, medical needs, turnout situation, and exercise but I would not pay $$$ for one. These ponies can be heartbreak.
You'd need to get blood work done right away:
The costs of those tests will run about $400. From there, you'd need to repeat the tests about every year to see if medication is necessary, and if the diet regime is working or needs to be tightened up.
You'll need to be willing to keep the pony shod with sole packing and pads, or at the least use good hoof boots with gel pads. But many of these horses cannot stay barefoot. If you reset such a shoeing package every 6 weeks, it can run around $200 (in my experience anyway.)
You'll need to be able/willing to get repeat radiographs every year to stay on top of any changes before they become huge problems.
I have one such pony and by FAR that little freebie rescue is the most expensive horse on my farm. I love her and I'll do everything I can to keep her going as long as I can but fat, cresty necked ponies require a lot of thought, resources, and money.
I'd take on a hard keeper Thoroughbred that eats 3x its own weight every day before I'd take on another fat cresty sore footed pony. These ponies tend to have "setbacks" and periods of laminitis regardless of how well you manage them. Everything affects them from wind and temperature to not enough sunlight.......it's sad but true
In a word: Yes. when I buy, I want as close to perfect as possible. That way I'm not 1)always worried about every little thing (he took a bad step...is it navicular?) and 2) I don't feel like a fool when it all falls apart.
"I am witty. Ask around." --Pat, COTH