Firstly, your horse should always be insured, failing that you should have a pot of money ready to spend on it if it gets injured or sick. You should not own a horse without this. If you don't have insurance and/or a pot of money to cover those occasionally uninsured elements, you should not own a horse. They are expesnive creatures.
Now, I'll tell you why I am writing this. The amount of horses that I have heard of being put down for uninvestigated lameness lately is insane. We all know lameness can be really tricky to treat and diagnose, sometimes you just don't know what is wrong despite doing all the things you can like bone scans, x-rays, MRI scans, rest, shoes off, therapeutic shoeing, diet change, exercise change and the list goes on. But without going through all of the above and giving time, I would say at least a year for you to try and diagnose and treat, then you should not be putting your horse down unless its exceptional circumstances or major pain.
Nower days people dispatch their broken horses like flys and it irritates the crap out of me. Don't get a horse if you aren't prepared for at some stage for it to be lame, because it will be I guarantee you. And if it does go lame, treat it and try some various options, there are so many things we can do to help lame horses. If you need some ideas, look no further:
- Call the vet to look;
- MRI scan;
- Bone scan;
- Change of exercise regime;
- Change of diet;
- Increased turnout;
- Change of shoes / try barefoot / therapeutic shoes;
- Supplements - joint, hoof etc etc;
- IRAP / PRP treatments;
- TIME !!!!!! These things do not fix over night. For example, if you take shoes off it can take 12 months before the feet adjust properly. At the end of it you may have a sound horse !
- Rest - find a big paddock to turn your horse away in for a while, it's not going to cost much at about 120 pounds a month, and that's in Surrey !
I speak from experience when I say the above, I literally tried everything over the course of a year and finally my horse is sound. These things do work but it can be a lot of trial and error, especially if the vet does not know exactly what is wrong, and that happens a lot ! But please please don't just shoot your horse, he should always be worth a year of your time to try and fix him.