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Would you buy a pony with Cushing's?

24 replies

Thirstysomething · 01/08/2014 23:17

Well, not even buy...
We have been offered a 24 yr old pony with Cushing's, free to a good home.
We are looking for a bomb-proof schoolmaster for my four kids (7 down to 1), and in every other way this 12.2 fits the bill. Amazing in traffic, stands like an angel while being groomed and petted (mauled), perfect to lead and just enough 'go'. Would hopefully just about see my kids through the lead-rein stage and then just be a companion for the next level ponies.
Apart from the curly long hair and the pot belly, there doesn't seem to be much else wrong with him. No laminitis apparently, no sign of it anyway.
Feet were trimmed badly a fortnight ago, and look a bit sore, but I think that genuinely was the farrier's fault. Be interesting to know how long they take to heal though , as that is one of the signs of Cushing's isn't it?
Not taking Pergolide or anything, in fact the owner didn't even seem to be aware that there was a problem. Not cresty, bit puffy around the eyes.
What do you think ? Anyone got a pony with the disease?
I don't mind forking out £30 a month or so for the drugs (although he seems well enough without them), but am I setting myself up for a vets bill nightmare or any other problems?
I am really tempted by him...
Thanks for any advice!!!

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SaltySeaBird · 01/08/2014 23:30

Sorry but I wouldn't.

We has a pony with it who eventually had to be PTS. At that age your risking your kids getting very attached for something that is going to be very short term. You won't get insurance and will have lots of vets bills to fork out.

Thirstysomething · 02/08/2014 11:16

Oh damn, really? Thanks for the advice. I had just had another horsy friend say go for it, because even with vets bills it is still a good free pony. But now I am in two minds again....

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todayisnottheday · 02/08/2014 11:23

Personally I would. If you're getting an older pony then it's going to reach the end of its days eventually regardless of cushings. Just make sure your dc know that (the old we're his last home, let's make his last few years perfect type of thing) a good pony is worth vet bills, especially if you are saving the purchase price, you can set that aside to help. I've known ponies with cushings in their 30s so don't despair.

JustAnotherYellowBelly · 02/08/2014 11:31

If he'll only be in work for a few years, and is the perfect schoolmaster, why not?
That said, I'd get your vet to really have a look at him properly first. I would also just pop round to see him unexpectedly.
How do you know he is as good as you say? I hate to say it but I've known 'perfect' horses turn very skittish after they're moved home - mainly because they've been fed crap that has made them into zombies. The thing that makes me think this is that the current owner didn't even know about the drugs for cushings? And that her farrier is not overly good...

I don't think any of this helps your decision at all, sorry!, but these were my first thoughts

Catswiththumbs · 02/08/2014 11:35

I would for an old kids pony who fits the bill in every other way.
He will be outgrown so quickly so the whole "short-term" thing makes no difference.

Keep him fit and lean, might need to clip him to keep him comfortable, and let him enjoy his last few years. Perhaps line up a younger pony for the older kids if they are speed demons.

Thirstysomething · 02/08/2014 12:54

Okay thanks, will mull it over today - I am veering towards getting him, but think you are right and will do vetting, plus another unexpected visit.
Although the girl I went to see him with yesterday used to be a verterinary assistant and really knows her stuff - she diagnosed Cushing's from half way across the field and he isn't too bad looking. She said that she would take a punt on him, just to get the kiddies confident. But then she is coming from a set up where they have loads if stables and ponies, while we are just starting on the kids pony game and really want to get it right.
The age thing doesn't bother me and our children are pretty matter of fact about death, although they will naturally be upset, they are country kids and know the facts. Yikes that sounds callous, but you know what I mean.

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5OBalesofHay · 02/08/2014 14:07

For me it depends on whether keeping him through retirement will be an issue for you. If not then I would definitely go for him if he's as good as he sounds.

I couldn't take on an oldie as at charge per horse livery and already have one retired pony, but if you have the means to keep him then he will be a companion for next pony

LEMmingaround · 02/08/2014 14:10

If you have a HUGE bank balance that you don't mind parting with and you dont mind breaking your childrens hearts when the horse dies. Go for it. But otherwise really dont go there

LEMmingaround · 02/08/2014 14:12

£30 a month for drugs? Aaahahahahahaa!! You wouldn't maintain a dog with cushings disease for £30 let alone a horse. Then theres wormers. Vaccinations. Etc etc.

todayisnottheday · 02/08/2014 15:46

Lem pergolidie is £1 per day for a pony.

As for breaking your children's hearts, same can be said for any older pony or dog or a hamster (seeing as they have short life spans). If they are going to get onto horses they are going to need to be practical, which it sounds like they are already. Difficult decisions come with the territory.

Butkin · 02/08/2014 17:26

If you're set on getting your children a schoolmaster pony then have a look around to see what else is available. There will be plenty of suitable, older, animals for hardly anything and without these issues. Most will come on the market after Pony Club camps so start looking at the end of August..

SaggyAndLucy · 07/08/2014 13:25

I wouldn't rule it out but I'd be VERY wary. you can't trust anyone nowadays, there is a high possibility that they are just looking to offload an ill old man to save them the huge expense of keeping him in retirement. I'm also a little bit Hmm that anyone would think about re homing a lovely old chap like this. tbh at that age and with those problems, the responsible thing would be to have him pts rather than uproot him. Sad

Thirstysomething · 09/08/2014 13:28

He is here and has perked up enormously already!! Think he is loving people being around all the time. Will have to wait and see when vet comes in Sept what we are in for, but even if he ends up being a companion pony it is lovely to see him so happy. I think he wasn't being terribly well looked after and he has a terrible sway back which I am hoping will improve with some work, but may well just be age…

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Thirstysomething · 09/08/2014 13:33

PS saggyandlucy -- I did wonder if that was exactly what they were doing, offloading ill old man. But he seems such a lovely kind pony that if I get 18 months of lead rein pony work then it will have been worth it and he can retire in the field at the bottom of the garden and be a sweet old money-pit. oh dear.
He is in a loose box today while new water-supply to field being sorted and he was moving around a bit when I was in with him, but as soon as a child came in he stood stock still. I am sure he has been very well-loved at some point. Comes with nice old tack, so someone once spent some money on him.

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SquirrelledAway · 18/08/2014 14:15

Sounds like you'll need an experienced farrier to keep his feet in good order - my sister's elderly companion pony had Cushings and had bouts of acute laminitis and foot abscesses which became unmanageable in the end. She had him for about 5 years and he certainly had a pampered life during that time.

TeenagersDriveMeMad · 18/08/2014 14:25

Please bear in mind that Cushings is caused by a tumor on the pituitary. When this tumor grows (and it will) it will eventually get big enough to cause pain for the pony and may mean that his behaviour will become unpredictable.

This thread on H&H talks more in-depth:

I really hope that this dear old pony has an amazing few years with you and your children, and becomes that 'first horse' that every horse owner looks back on with great fondness. You sound prepared to do the right thing by him (unlike his old owners!) and he's lucky to have found you Smile.

TeenagersDriveMeMad · 18/08/2014 14:27

This is the thread I was thinking of, not the one above:

Thirstysomething · 26/08/2014 09:12

So far, he is a dream… Just amazing with the kids, I know this is partly age and not necessarily character, but he is so gentle with them and they have been swarming all over him all week! Just stands there, picks up his feet for them, moves exactly where you want him, even with the slightest shove and amazingly still seems to have a responsive mouth. woohooo…. but still early days. Learning so much from him as it is a LONG time since I had a pony to look after!
Vet and farrier coming in September, so will find out more about his cushiness/feet then.

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Thirstysomething · 26/08/2014 09:12

cushings, not cushiness!

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Thirstysomething · 26/08/2014 09:13

PS thanks for the h&h thread - will look at it now

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NigellasPeeler · 26/08/2014 09:15

i would certainly consider it very seriously - cushings can be managed after all - one of my friend's ponies has it and she is still doing light hacks at the age of 26

NigellasPeeler · 26/08/2014 09:17

mind you tbh I think saggy speaks sense.
people are giving away all kinds of ponies these days, hang on and you could find one that is younger and healthier


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Floralnomad · 26/08/2014 09:22

Pleased to hear that it seems to be working out so well ,the old boy is probably enjoying all the attention.

AnnaFiveTowns · 30/09/2014 05:48

How did you get on with the vet/ farrier OP? I'm asking as I'm in a similar situation and trying to decide what to do.

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