If you have been following along on Instagram, you may know that I have decided to adopt Rain, the yearling thoroughbred gelding.
His vet check on Friday, 12/6, was uneventful (aside from some protest from Rain who has not had to work a day in his life) and the seller insulting the vet tech who was handling Rain during the exam... Oye vey. Horse people.
The Pre Purchase Exam
My first question about the PPE when my vet arrived was this: Do you have the same components of a PPE done with a young horse that you would have done with an older sport horse? She said the answer was yes - Within reason. Most young horses aren't as tolerant as mature (trained) horses, but that to get the best idea of what the horse will be like in it's adult life, all of the same components are present in the young horse PPE.
The vet check went to be expected for a young horse with minimal handling. We started with a physical, checking Rain's temperature, pulse, respiration, his gums, skin, sight, hearing, and reflexes. From there, my vet palpated his limbs, paying close attention to his joints. I was concerned about OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans) - not knowing much about it except for the very basics and how expensive and inconvenient it can be - but my vet told me after looking at his joints that she was not worried about it with him.
After the physical in his stall, we moved onto the lameness portion of the pre purchase exam - hoof testers, flexions, and seeing him go in a round pen. The hoof testing and flexions proved to be a challenge, which I was reassured was very normal for pre purchase exams on young horses.
We moved onto the round pen portion of the exam and after about 5 minutes of seeing him move both directions, my vet said he could be taken back to his stall and we could talk. Once Rain was put away, she told me her concerns: His conformation wasn't perfect. He was slightly toed-out in front and base narrow (which he may grow into okay), and behind was a little straight through the stifle and hock. Surprisingly, my vet seemed very against the idea of me purchasing him. She didn't say it, but I got an undertone or some sort of vibe of negativity. She encouraged me to look into an OTTB that had "proved it could hold up to work" since with any yearling you don't know how it will hold up to work and it is just a little bit more of a gamble.
I felt a little discouraged, so I let Rain's seller know I would need the night to sleep on it and decide if I wanted to adopt him.
I left the PPE feeling very discouraged. I called Ian, called my mom, and sent one of my best horsey friends a message about the experience. Was I stupid for wanting this? It definitely wasn't going to be easy. I did not sleep that night - I couldn't stop thinking about him!
Then I realized who I was as a horsewoman. Did I care if my horse had absolutely perfect conformation? No. Dante didn't and was sound for years for the job I wanted him to have. And still, to me, the most beautiful being that has ever lived. Gallon doesn't, and does it make me love him less? No. He will be with me for the rest of his life as a retiree and that is totally okay with me. If Rain doesn't become a sporthorse, will I be no longer want him? No. That's ridiculous. That is just not who I am.
The most important question was this: Did I want him in my life? Yes.
I was drawn to Rain and to the opportunity of starting and training a horse from start to finish. Can Rain offer me that? Just as well as any yearling could.
I sent his seller an email on Saturday evening telling her that I would like to proceed with Rain's adoption.
Rain comes home next Tuesday, 12/17. He is going to be living in pasture at one of the barns I work at, with 3 of my lesson horses. He currently lives with 4 other horses, so I think this will be a good fit for him. It is important to me that he can be in pasture, since I think that a young horse belongs outside while they are growing up. He also needs to learn his place in the world - Which I think my lesson horses can help with.
I have started browsing for things I will need to get him: a halter and lead, thrush buster and his first blanket for the winter, his own grooming tote & grooming supplies (he will be at a different facility than Gallon for the time being). I ended up purchasing all of the above, minus the grooming things, which I will get in the next few days.
The best part? Spending over an hour researching the best feed options for a growing horse. I think I have settled on Triple Crown’s 30% Ration Balancer for him. I may write about my research and why that I what I am choosing - But I am excited to see how he likes it and how he does on it.
I will be picking up a grain can and grain to have ready for him, and I am going to be sure to get some of his current hay from his seller so that I can slowly transition him onto our barn’s hay with no issues.
Finally, I have told my vet that I am getting him and booked an appointment for him to get his fall vaccines and a fecal.
I feel like a parent getting ready for a baby!
Next, I will make sure his pasture is baby-proof and that I have a farrier lined up to get his feet trimmed. He definitely needs them done - He has so much heel.
Has anybody else prepared to bring home a young horse? What steps did you take?