I just got back from the vet. Tonka's blood will be sent off for the allergy testing today. I told Steve how bad Tonka looks out in the pasture, moving so painfully, and he said we may still be looking at x-rays. Dang it.
His fecal test was negative. That's good.
Going back to the idea of what to look for if I do need a new riding partner - it's amazing the differences in horses. It seems like most of them aren't broke. Not like my horse is, anyway. And some that are, they're so high strung I'd be terrified to ride them and I'd hate dealing with them on the ground. I'm very picky, I guess. I think I would consider buying one that's coming straight from the trainer, if it was a good trainer. Or one that's been used on a ranch but not pushed too hard too fast. A horse who's comfortable in his job. I don't think I would be picky about breed, but there are some breeds that I would not be inclined to look at.
Linda had a good point about buying a trained horse that has already proven its health. I hadn't thought of that aspect of it. With a new mustang or any horse that hasn't been used, you don't know how they're going to hold up to the work. I had no reason to think Tonka would have health problems when I brought him home. I didn't know Bella was going to have a locking stifle. I'll have to think on that some more. On the other side of the coin I've seen some mature, trained horses that people think are perfectly healthy and sound and they don't look right to me. A vet check would be in order for any trained horse, I think.
I am enjoying riding Cisco, but he's not going to be my new heart horse. I'm still hoping Bella may be sound, but I'm not sure I should get my hopes up too much. I'll start working with her soon and see how she looks. She's uncomfortable when she's standing around, but she can also still really rip around the pasture. I'm wondering if she just needs some conditioning. (I should clarify that Bella has reverted back to being ours and my mom is looking for a well-broke horse instead. My mom kept telling me how much Bella obviously loves me, and doesn't feel the same about anyone else - how much she depends on me. It made me feel bad about giving her up. And with her being lame still, it doesn't make sense for my mom to keep her and take a chance on her by spending the money to have her trained.)
On the subject of buying and selling horses, there is going to be an online auction this Sunday for a herd dispersal in Snohomish, WA (near Seattle). They have LOTS of miniature horses and donkeys, some Arabians, and quarter horses, and several standard size donkeys. It makes me sad the way they've chosen to sell off their equines. You can't get any information about the individual animals, the auction company just doesn't know anything. The owner should be providing more information to help ensure the critters will get good homes.
Here's the link to the inventory (how awful that they're real live animals with personalities, and theyr'e just "inventory"), in case you want to take a look: http://www.bidspotter.com/forms/imagegallery.php?gallery=13279
Update: I just called the auction guy, I had to ask about one of the donkeys, and it turns out that this is a bank sale. Whoever owned the animals took off with all the records and information about them. Crazy.