Can you please describe how you've downloaded it and where you've opened it? The iPad does not have a means of sharing a common folder between applications. You have to "open in" from one application to another. To open in Adobe Reader, you will can email the file to yourself and "Open in" after long pressing on the file in the iPad mail application. Alternatively, you can use "open in" when you are viewing the file in Safari.
I click on the download to adobe from within the website. The clock spins
as it downloads but it doesn't open or give me any option other than to
download--no way to send file as email.
...from Rich's iPad
This means that there is a problem between your browser (Almost surely Safari) and the website. If the PDF downloaded successfully, you could then "Open in" Adobe Reader. Do you have a sample link you can share so I can verify? I'd recommend contacting the website owner to start with.