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showponies
Sep. 1, 2009, 01:33 PM
Please tell me when "your" vet does a flex test..1-5 scoring, which end of the scale is the better score????

Phaxxton
Sep. 1, 2009, 01:41 PM
When my vets do flexions, the scale is 0 - 5, with 0 being no lameness present and 5 being the worst.

Treasmare2
Sep. 1, 2009, 01:45 PM
As the breeder of young hunters I will not allow flex tests until after five years and I do not want a big strong man vet doing them at any time....flex tests can cause damage rather then indicate issues. It is a bad bad test....try it on yourself and see how it feels. I say Xray and would do that on a horse I was consdiering buying. Why hurt it before I even get it home? I am not opposed to a light flex but way too many come right onto the leg.

findeight
Sep. 1, 2009, 01:53 PM
Well, OP asked about the scale. Phaxxton gave the correct answer. Zero is best, many will display about a 1 to 1.5 for a few steps. Any more and it is considered a positive worth looking into further.

showponies
Sep. 1, 2009, 02:02 PM
As the breeder of young hunters I will not allow flex tests until after five years and I do not want a big strong man vet doing them at any time....flex tests can cause damage rather then indicate issues. It is a bad bad test....try it on yourself and see how it feels. I say Xray and would do that on a horse I was consdiering buying. Why hurt it before I even get it home? I am not opposed to a light flex but way too many come right onto the leg.

This is a very interesting point of view....I like your thought on it...

JB
Sep. 1, 2009, 02:10 PM
As the breeder of young hunters I will not allow flex tests until after five years
The knee and fetlock growth plates are well-closed by then. Hocks are iffy.


and I do not want a big strong man vet doing them at any time....
why not, if he does them correctly? A 120lb woman vet doing one incorrectly can cause much more damage than a 6'4" 300lb male vet.


flex tests can cause damage rather then indicate issues.
The operatiave word is "can" cause damage.


It is a bad bad test....
Why? Done for the right reasons, and done correctly, it's a *very* valid diagnostic tool


try it on yourself and see how it feels. I say Xray and would do that on a horse I was consdiering buying. Why hurt it before I even get it home? I am not opposed to a light flex but way too many come right onto the leg.
A "light flex" doesn't do anything unless the horse is really lame.

There's a point to flex tests. It's not just to see if you can make the horse lame, and how lame you can make him.

The point is to try to localize which joint(s) is potentially a major player in an existing lamenss when you have some idea of whether it's the front or hind end, left or right leg.

In and of themselves they don't mean anything. A very lame horse can be no more lame after a flexion, and one who is perfectly sound and doing his job well can be a Grade 4 lame for a dozen strides.

But if there are hind end issues, it's nice to flex the fetlock and have the horse no worse for the wear, all but ruling out the fetlock as a source of the pain.

To answer the OP - my vet does flex tests when there is already a lameness issue, for the reasons I discussed above.

Aerial
Sep. 1, 2009, 02:13 PM
Ok. Wow so me being the dumb bunny that i am, decided to try the flex thing on myself thinking "eh, it wont hurt, we're not built like horses" WRONG. ha my leg is still on fire and it's been like five minutes since i did it.

JB
Sep. 1, 2009, 02:17 PM
If it still hurts, you did it either too long or too aggressively, or you really have something wrong ;)

It doesn't matter what you're built like - a flex test bends a joint to a degree of pressure to put strain on the joint itself, as well as related ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

FWIW - a vet needs to have learned how to do them correctly, and be able to do them *consistently*. It's too difficult to gain a sense of validity of a horse trotting off 1-1.5 lame for a couple of strides if you do it too lightly on one horse and too hard on the next.

Phaxxton
Sep. 1, 2009, 02:18 PM
If it still hurts, you did it either too long or too aggressively, or you really have something wrong ;)

It doesn't matter what you're built like - a flex test bends a joint to a degree of pressure to put strain on the joint itself, as well as related ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

FWIW - a vet needs to have learned how to do them correctly, and be able to do them *consistently*. It's too difficult to gain a sense of validity of a horse trotting off 1-1.5 lame for a couple of strides if you do it too lightly on one horse and too hard on the next.

Agreed on all counts. :yes:

Treasmare2
Sep. 1, 2009, 02:49 PM
Aerial I hope you are feeling better.....guess you may not be too sound eh?

JB I agree with much of what you say but the value gained from a flex test is fairly minimal and not indicitive of a whole lot really. I have come to find them worrisome because we had a vet here who really torked the joints (this is not proper use of the test I) so around here, and many other places, when you know improperly done ones can happen (alot I think) why expose the horse? If the horse gets hurt and the buyer walks who gets left to deal with the issue then?
Had a friend with a two year old that was flexed by a small female vet and horse was sore for some time afterwards, and failed the flexion of course. Buyer walked and horse was sore for awhile. Horse sold several months later and had an amazing career as a top hunter way into his teens. Only soundness issues were directly after the flexion. Given these incidents I did some study on the validity of flexion tests and in Europe they rarely do them and never on young stock because the issues it can create. The Europeans are certainly way ahead of us in terms of young stock management so for me I will stick with the no flex rule.

As a buyer I see why you might want to have the test done but how do you know if you have a vet that is skilled and won't do it the wrong way? As a seller why would you submit your young horse to possible injury? Generally the vet doing it is not someone of your choice or someone you know about. I wonder if that is why it took someone else I know so long to find a sound young horse to buy? I do not believe that 8 young horses in a row can all be cripples. I am more likely to think the flexion test or they way it was done was the issue.

I know these tests have been pretty standard for years but seems to be more of North American thing. I have never had them done when I buy....I Xray any joints I have questions about. If I am paying alot of $$$$ I just xray all major joints that a horse needs to do the job I want it to do. Often what is most useful to me is collecting a good history on the horse and checking out its resume if it has one. Perhaps asking sellers for references on a horse would be a better thing.

In a nut shell I think the value of what we gain from a flex test is out weighed by the problems a badly done one can create. I will still stand by my belief that young horses ought not to be exposed to them.

JB
Sep. 1, 2009, 03:06 PM
JB I agree with much of what you say but the value gained from a flex test is fairly minimal and not indicitive of a whole lot really.
It depends on the situation. In my case, the recent flex tests all but ruled out a suspensory and fetlock issue. The lameness worsened with the hock flexion, but unfortunately that also flexes the stifle - more or less depending on how the leg is held. It was a very helpful diagnostic in this scenari.


I have come to find them worrisome because we had a vet here who really torked the joints (this is not proper use of the test I) so around here, and many other places, when you know improperly done ones can happen (alot I think) why expose the horse?
IV injections can be done incorrectly and cause problems - doesn't mean IV injections aren't worthwile ;)


If the horse gets hurt and the buyer walks who gets left to deal with the issue then?
It sounds like you're talking about flex tests as part of a PPE. Not something *I* would allow on a horse I was selling because 1) it wouldn't be my vet whom I trust to correctly do the test, and 2) as I mentioned before, in and of themselvers they are just about useless.


Had a friend with a two year old that was flexed by a small female vet and horse was sore for some time afterwards, and failed the flexion of course. Buyer walked and horse was sore for awhile. Horse sold several months later and had an amazing career as a top hunter way into his teens. Only soundness issues were directly after the flexion.
A 2yo shouldn't have been flexed, and a flexion test shouldn't have been done as part of a routine PPE. That's not a problem with the test itself, it was a problem with the administration.


Given these incidents I did some study on the validity of flexion tests and in Europe they rarely do them and never on young stock because the issues it can create. The Europeans are certainly way ahead of us in terms of young stock management so for me I will stick with the no flex rule.

BIG difference between "no flex tests on young stock whose growth plates are not closed" and "no flex tests period". They are VERY useful in *helping* localize a lameness area. Just watching a horse limp along doesn't necessarily tell you it's the knee. But if you flex his fetlock and his status doesn't change, but you then flex his knee and he can't even walk, then you're down to xraying the knee, instead of guessing "hmmm, fetlock, knee, shoulder, where do I start?"


As a buyer I see why you might want to have the test done but how do you know if you have a vet that is skilled and won't do it the wrong way?
I know my vet is skilled enough to trust her, but *I* wouldn't have a flex done as a PPE. If the horse jogged lame during the PPE, I wouldn't go further. The owner would have to take it upon herself to try to find out why the horse is lame - not me.


As a seller why would you submit your young horse to possible injury?
Again, young horse - never flex. If a buyer wanted to flex my young horse, I'd say "you buy the horse first and if flexing him makes him lame, when he's not now, not my problem." If that wasn't acceptable, then we'd be done.


Generally the vet doing it is not someone of your choice or someone you know about. I wonder if that is why it took someone else I know so long to find a sound young horse to buy? I do not believe that 8 young horses in a row can all be cripples. I am more likely to think the flexion test or they way it was done was the issue.
Whose vet was your friend using? It sure as heck shouldn't be the owner's. If she was looking out of the area and couldn't use her vet, and wouldn't (rightly so) use the owner's vet, then you're right, she has no idea how competent the vet is. The answer is easy - no flex tests in a PPE. Why do it, when perfectly sound horses, of whatever age and workload, can flex "lame"? It tells you nothing other than your manipulation of that joint made that horse lame that day.


I know these tests have been pretty standard for years but seems to be more of North American thing. I have never had them done when I buy....I Xray any joints I have questions about. If I am paying alot of $$$$ I just xray all major joints that a horse needs to do the job I want it to do. Often what is most useful to me is collecting a good history on the horse and checking out its resume if it has one. Perhaps asking sellers for references on a horse would be a better thing.

In a nut shell I think the value of what we gain from a flex test is out weighed by the problems a badly done one can create. I will still stand by my belief that young horses ought not to be exposed to them.
Again, it depends on why you're flexing the horse. It's FAR best left as a diagnostic tool when you already know there is a problem, you just can't localize it.

Treasmare2
Sep. 1, 2009, 03:19 PM
Yes to disgnostic JB....that is when you know there is an issue and you want to narrow the focus to an area and it would be with a vet you know and trust. Yes you are also right, I was thinking more in terms of a pre purchase situation. That is when it is scary and some of the control is removed from your hands. It seems standard here to do the flexion on sound horses in a PPE...disturbing. I would certainly step in and say "not on my horse" but then the buyer may think something is being hidden....difficult situation. But it is up to us to protect our horses while they are our's.

I fully agree with the diagnostic use of flexion. I had failed to consider the issue from that perspective. I believe we are on the same page :yes: Now about poor Aerial......

Abbeyroad1791
Sep. 1, 2009, 03:28 PM
Can somebody explain a) what a flex test is (as in how its performed) and b) how that can cause damage to the horse? It's obviously not what I thought it was if its this controversial! TIA

JB
Sep. 1, 2009, 03:43 PM
I believe we are on the same page :yes:
I think we are! :D


Now about poor Aerial......
Seriously! :lol:


Can somebody explain a) what a flex test is (as in how its performed) and b) how that can cause damage to the horse? It's obviously not what I thought it was if its this controversial! TIA
In a nutshell, the vet flexes a particular joint - we'll say the fetlock - for a given length of time (usually less for smaller joints ie fetlocks, usually longer for bigger joints ie hocks, but 60 seconds more or less, sometimes 30, somtimes 90), and as the vet puts the leg down, the handler immediately jogs (not walks) the horse off.

It's not unexpected at all for the horse to take a couple of off strides, but then he should be back to normal.

It can cause damage because you are fully flexing a joint under pressure. For example, if you squat down so your toes are on the ground, heels up, butt sitting on your heels, knees bent, that is a "flex test" on your knees (and to some degree your toes). Your knee is fully flexed, and it's under pressure. If you have a knee problem, if you were to get up and immediately jog off, you'll likely be lame.

But at the same time, I'm pretty darn sound and fit, but at my age, if I did the above and tried to run off, my left knee would be gimpy for several strides. So my "flex test" doesn't prove anything other than it makes my otherwise-sound knee hurt LOL

A knee can only flex so far before the calf hits the hamstring. But other joints, like our ankle, or the horse's fetlock, there is more room for the joint to flex beyond what is healthy. Excessive pressure can damage ligaments (connect bone to bone) or tendons (muscle to bone), and can actually damage the joint capsule. In the case of young horses, if the growth plates are still growing, meaning they are still cartilagenous and not fully calcified, a flexion done there can damage that growing surface, leading to permanent damage.

Abbeyroad1791
Sep. 1, 2009, 05:04 PM
Thanks so much JB- really helpful.

One more question pertaining to your last post. You said it's pretty normal for a horse to take a few off steps immediately after being flexed. Does that count as lameness on the 0-5 scale, or is that overlooked? Basically what I'm trying to ask is, when does the actual judging begin? Are those wobbly steps excused and written off as normal stiffness after the flexing or do those "count"?

JB
Sep. 1, 2009, 06:05 PM
Well, the first few steps are not just ignored, and each leg should be taken into account. For example, if you're flexing the hind leg because of a lameness issue, you want to flex the "good" leg first to get some baseline. If he trots off with 0 off steps on the good leg, but a grade 1.5 for 3 strides on the presumed bad leg, you might take that more seriously than if he trotted off a 1.5 for 3 strides on both legs.

So, it depends :D

juniormom
Sep. 1, 2009, 08:03 PM
I agree with the person that said to try it on yourself. It doesn't feel so great and I don't recover very quickly!

I had not seen the issue discussed in young horses vs. older ones. That is interesting. We have been at several sale barns and they just don't seem to be that indicative of future issues in a PPE. I can see it more as a diagnostic tool. Our jumper was 12 or 13 when we purchased him and he flexed a "4" out of "5" on all 4 legs. (I guess all matching results is good.) He had never had any maintenance. Of course, then the PPE vet xrayed him to death. Long story short - we bought him, he was always sound, did well for us, and was a saint! We would have foregone the horse that taught our daughter the most if we had paid attention to that. We did put him on a good maintenance schedule of legend and adequan, but we believe that is impt. in all horses.

This is an interesting discussion............. :)

Abbeyroad1791
Sep. 1, 2009, 09:04 PM
I tried it-I'm sound! :D Definitely could see how that could be painful/unpleasant for an older horse that DOES have changes in their joints. Someone said before that they wouldn't allow it done on their younger horses- could those few second, or lets call it a minute, really stress the joint that much to cause real damage? I would think as long as you arn't repeating the test multiple times daily it shouldn't harm the horse too much, aside from a few minutes of discomfort.

Flash44
Sep. 1, 2009, 09:12 PM
I wouldn't pass flexions on any of my joints but I plan to keep riding, biking, running, swimming, hiking, and playing a variety of sports for the next 20+ years. There are just some body parts that need a little extra warming up and stretching, and I don't go all out like I did 20 years ago.

JB
Sep. 1, 2009, 09:22 PM
Someone said before that they wouldn't allow it done on their younger horses- could those few second, or lets call it a minute, really stress the joint that much to cause real damage? I would think as long as you arn't repeating the test multiple times daily it shouldn't harm the horse too much, aside from a few minutes of discomfort.

Do it strongly enough, or forcefully enough, and yes, you can permanently damage the joint's growth plate.

Would you allow someone to cram a 2yo child's joints together? ;)

Treasmare2
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:24 PM
Yes a few seconds or a minute of flexion to a young joint can cause tearing and hyper extention injury. Perhaps they heal and perhaps they become a trouble area for life afterwards. I do not know of any studies that have tracked that but real world experience suggests that could be the case. It most certainly can contribute to a break in training or cause some residual joint pain that can sour a young mind on work....thus leading to a possible poor work ethic. On the other hand when you believe there is already a trouble area a lighter flexion can help clarify the trouble spot. Even for the purpose of a diagonosis flexion of young joints is a no no...there are other ways to diagnoise a condition. I know it seems tad over reactive that a test so simple could hurt a big animal but this is exactly why it is coming into focus as a big problem.

Good graphic to consider crushing the joints of a 2 year old child....don't know many people who would want to hyper flex their child's joint to see where or if it hurts. If it did hurt (duh) I guess one would be off to do an xray or MRI to see just what was causing the pain.....I think it might be wiser to not crush the kid and go to step two first and only if it was felt there might be something wrong.

I think vet's and horse owners have all become far too casual about flexion tests and I don't understand why since it tells us so little. It is fast of course, and simple to do (harder to do correctly) so as such we have come to believe they ae safe. It is such a simple thing in fact, that it seems many non vets see it as acceptable to try out themselves. This makes me feel a little bit sick in my stomach and I would freak if someone began to do that to one of mine. In terms of a PPE I would make it clear before it is done that flexion is not an option. If people want to then move on to the next horse than so be it.

This a great topic!!!!

Coppers mom
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:37 PM
I really don't have much faith in flexions, at least not with the vets around here. 10 vets, 10 different ways of doing them. I've seen vets barely flex a horse, and also seen them jack the knee up to the horses chin and hold it until they're red in the face. There's even one who doesn't even hold all the legs up for the same amount of time, which is interesting to watch.

If I'm having a PPE done for myself, I get X-rays. They're honestly not that expensive in the long run, and show a lot more than flexions would. I do do flexions on sale horses before we bring them home, since that's what most people want to do when they do a PPE, and we want to know that they'll pass as long as the vet isn't a complete whackadoo. When we were having trouble with my sister's pony, I rode around with the vet for a summer, and she taught me how to do the correctly (along with IV injections, which comes in handy when your horse is suicidal, lol).

Haalter
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:57 PM
Frankly, I am quite surprised at the responses here. I have bought and sold a lot of horses (my own and acting as agent) from cheap to low six-figures, and flexions have always been a standard part of the PPE. I have never once had a seller object to flexion tests, nor do I forbid a buyer from doing one on a horse I am selling. If I was selling young horses I would feel differently, but age 4+ I am comfortable with this. Just surprised that so many are not.

Honestly, I would NOT be happy if I or a client I was representing had spent time and money trying a horse - travel, trial period, insurance waiver, shipping, etc -and when it came time for the PPE, the seller said "no can do" on a standard part of my vet's exam. IME, they are a useful tool that is helpful in addition to X-rays alone. To the people who refuse to let their horses be flexed during a PPE - at what time do you disclose this? When the vet says, "now we're going to do flexion tests"? I can honestly say that this issue has never come up for me, but then again the horses I deal with are generally mature and out showing, not babies, and I deal pretty exclusively with other professionals, none of whom have ever objected to flexions in a PPE.

lizajane09
Sep. 1, 2009, 11:04 PM
Would you allow someone to cram a 2yo child's joints together? ;)

While I'm not disagreeing that an incorrectly-done flexion test could result in damage, particularly in a young horse whose growth plates haven't closed, I do have to disagree with the accuracy of this comparison. A human two-year-old is much smaller, has correspondingly much smaller bones/joints, and isn't as far along in its relative development as a two-year-old horse. You wouldn't say you can cause damage with hoof testers just because if you squeezed a human toe with them, that human would scream, would you? ;)

Coppers mom
Sep. 1, 2009, 11:30 PM
Frankly, I am quite surprised at the responses here. I have bought and sold a lot of horses (my own and acting as agent) from cheap to low six-figures, and flexions have always been a standard part of the PPE. I have never once had a seller object to flexion tests, nor do I forbid a buyer from doing one on a horse I am selling. If I was selling young horses I would feel differently, but age 4+ I am comfortable with this. Just surprised that so many are not.

Honestly, I would NOT be happy if I or a client I was representing had spent time and money trying a horse - travel, trial period, insurance waiver, shipping, etc -and when it came time for the PPE, the seller said "no can do" on a standard part of my vet's exam. IME, they are a useful tool that is helpful in addition to X-rays alone. To the people who refuse to let their horses be flexed during a PPE - at what time do you disclose this? When the vet says, "now we're going to do flexion tests"? I can honestly say that this issue has never come up for me, but then again the horses I deal with are generally mature and out showing, not babies, and I deal pretty exclusively with other professionals, none of whom have ever objected to flexions in a PPE.

Well, hopefully, the vet would already know not to flex a very young horse. I would, however, mention it as a "just in case" type thing if it got to the point where the buyer was serious enough to talk about PPE's. If the vet still wanted to flex anything under two years old, I'd just flat out say "Sorry, I'm not comfortable with that".

Haalter
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:47 AM
Copper's Mom - Just to clarify, I am talking about mature horses. From the comments I'd read, people are taking issue with flexions in general, not just for babies.

I have purchased horses with terrible flexions (and less than perfect xrays) that have remained sound; likewise I've had ones flex fine and not work out. However, I will never forget one who flexed quite positive in one fetlock/pastern. X-rayed the crap out of those joints and the foot...nothing abnormal on x-rays. Guess where that horse developed crippling DJD not too long after purchase? I really don't think it was because of the flexion, but rather because the flexion indicated something that just wasn't visible yet on the xray.

JB
Sep. 2, 2009, 08:33 AM
Yes a few seconds or a minute of flexion to a young joint can cause tearing and hyper extention injury.
You mean hyperflexion ;)



Perhaps they heal and perhaps they become a trouble area for life afterwards. I do not know of any studies that have tracked that but real world experience suggests that could be the case. It most certainly can contribute to a break in training or cause some residual joint pain that can sour a young mind on work....thus leading to a possible poor work ethic. On the other hand when you believe there is already a trouble area a lighter flexion can help clarify the trouble spot. Even for the purpose of a diagonosis flexion of young joints is a no no...there are other ways to diagnoise a condition. I know it seems tad over reactive that a test so simple could hurt a big animal but this is exactly why it is coming into focus as a big problem.Totally agree - monkeying with the position of joints should not be taken lightly.



Frankly, I am quite surprised at the responses here. I have bought and sold a lot of horses (my own and acting as agent) from cheap to low six-figures, and flexions have always been a standard part of the PPE. I have never once had a seller object to flexion tests, nor do I forbid a buyer from doing one on a horse I am selling. If I was selling young horses I would feel differently, but age 4+ I am comfortable with this. Just surprised that so many are not.
But what does a flex test of the hock and stifle in a horse who is and has been sound tell you? If he doesn't trot off lame, it doesn't mean there's nothing wrong. If he takes 10 grade 2 steps, it doesn't mean he hasn't been doing his job soundly and won't continue to do his job soundly. So what, exactly, did you learn from all these flex tests in all these PPEs? That's the point - the potential for damage from an incorrectly done test IS there, and there is no real value in doing one just for the sake of doing it.


Honestly, I would NOT be happy if I or a client I was representing had spent time and money trying a horse - travel, trial period, insurance waiver, shipping, etc -and when it came time for the PPE, the seller said "no can do" on a standard part of my vet's exam. Oh well ;) Perhaps your next potential horse's owner will read this and learn to say up front "no flex tests" so you won't waste your time :)


IME, they are a useful tool that is helpful in addition to X-rays alone.
Ok, as per above - HOW are they useful if the horse is and has been sound? A horse who "fails" a flex test and has funky xrays tells you what? That you made his joint sore by compressing it and his xrays have something in them. So? LOTS of horses have changes as they age that don't affect their soundness. Older horses especially can easily "fail" a hock flexion, but be perfectly sound for their intended job. So what, exactly, does it tell you?


To the people who refuse to let their horses be flexed during a PPE - at what time do you disclose this? When the vet says, "now we're going to do flexion tests"? I can honestly say that this issue has never come up for me, but then again the horses I deal with are generally mature and out showing, not babies, and I deal pretty exclusively with other professionals, none of whom have ever objected to flexions in a PPE.If I were to ever sell a horse, it would be made clear up front.

I agree with treasmare - I think a flex test as a standard in a PPE has become just the thing to do. I don't think people really stop to think about what it is (or is not, really) telling them.


While I'm not disagreeing that an incorrectly-done flexion test could result in damage, particularly in a young horse whose growth plates haven't closed, I do have to disagree with the accuracy of this comparison. A human two-year-old is much smaller, has correspondingly much smaller bones/joints, and isn't as far along in its relative development as a two-year-old horse. You wouldn't say you can cause damage with hoof testers just because if you squeezed a human toe with them, that human would scream, would you? ;)
The point is the growth plates are not closed. Sorry I didn't say a 13yo boy ;)

Haalter
Sep. 2, 2009, 09:35 AM
Ok, as per above - HOW are they useful if the horse is and has been sound? A horse who "fails" a flex test and has funky xrays tells you what? That you made his joint sore by compressing it and his xrays have something in them. So? LOTS of horses have changes as they age that don't affect their soundness. Older horses especially can easily "fail" a hock flexion, but be perfectly sound for their intended job. So what, exactly, does it tell you?
As per my example above re: DJD, in my experience, flexions *can* indicate future issues. I *do* consider the individual horse while weighing the importance of the flexion exam.

If it's a horse I'm familiar with that I've seen at performing sound at numerous shows that has a good record that is being purchased from someone I know and trust, it's insignificant. Yes the horse may have issues on flexion or x-rays, but if it's been sound in heavy use, I'm less concerned with the flexions and even x-rays based on the horse's performance.

Conversely, if it's a horse I've known for a few days from a seller I don't know with no significant history, that makes a BIG difference. I've also bought a lot of horses whose performance history is nothing like their intended use - horses who've been lightly ridden who are prospects expected to do a lot more than they've done in the past. It's not like I'm going to require these horses to do more than their fitness allows during a trial (which to me, is much more stressful on the horse's body than a flexion test, and is the reason why I don't send horses out on trial to people I don't know and trust!). This is the type of situation where I think a flexion test is very important and I think of it as a less stressful way than inappropriately hard work to test the horse's soundness.

JB
Sep. 2, 2009, 09:58 AM
Even then, a flex test does not give you any real indication of the horse's future soundness. It's actually more likely to put the horse off if he's not in shape than if he is.

Treasmare2
Sep. 2, 2009, 11:47 AM
Don't get me started on trials!!!!!

Again...flexion tests have so little value (except to increase the cost of a PPE). To answer the question about when to say I won't allow a flexion.....perhaps in prelim discussions before seeing horse. If not then at the time the buyer says PPE.....no sense for anyone to spend more $$$, get a vet out and then find flexion will not be allowed. That would just be inconsiderate of me. On an older fit horse I am not so opposed but still feel it has little value. And again many vets like to tork them pretty hard.....I would intervene in that event too. I would suggest they might just want to run some good xays or do a bone scan. even. Some vet clinics and race tracks are able to do in motion MRIs. If it is an expensive horse then such a work up is a drop in the bucket and tells you much more. Sometimes I get the feeling that flexion tests are make work projects for vets and adds to the thought that the vet is giving the potentional buyer a bang for their buck. The person having the PPE gets a number....numerial things are easily understood by most of the population. What is not understood by the average person is that number has little relationship to function and expectancy of future function. They tell us useless information really except in the actual present time with a horse that has had an issue of some sort....it helps identify where to put the lintiment and where to wrap or where to inject. It is a diagnostic tool that may be more useful one day and not so much the next day. When I think about it if a horse has an issue and we flex it it could well make the issue worse.