So the vet findings on Gambler during the pre-purchase exam were not totally promising. Apparently everything was absolutely okay until near the end he discovered "significant navicular changes" in one foot. I am not an expert, but I believe that navicular changes suggest some cartilage breakdown between bones in the foot. I guess it is common to see some degeneration, but the question is, how much is too much? And in a young horse too. The answer is, I don't really know. The tests show that there could be soundness issues in the future. Or it could be that things never get worse and he will be fine, it's kind of a crap shoot -- but the potential for a problem is there. I should say that it is apparently very rare for a horse to vet completely clean, but it is still a situation that gives me pause, nonetheless. Alison says she had a horse once that showed similar changes that never ended up having a soundness issue, but that it's a risk. You just don't know. Anyway, in the meantime, the vet down in Aiken was going to take the xrays to a couple of other vets he knows for some other opinions and Alison was going to speak with Linda (the owner) and see if some other purchasing options might be worked out -- such as a reduced price, or maybe a lease to buy thing where the horse would be re-xrayed in a year, if there were no further changes, sale would be finalized. But it would give me an out if things didn't look good (of course by then I'd be incredibly attached).
So, I really don't know what I'm going to do yet. I really, really, REALLY like this horse. Jumping was just so effortless with him, he has such a kind heart and a great mind, especially for his age. Everyone who watched me ride him that day said that I was going around with this huge smile on my face. Usually while jumping, I have some kind of grim grimace pasted there -- Ha! In the meantime, I'm still gathering the money together. I haven't said "no" yet, but hopefully will have some additional information later today.