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eventingismylife
Dec. 21, 2009, 12:54 AM
My trainer "found" a horse for me to look at as an eventing prospect at least to training/T3D. She is a very lovely, and nice 16.3/17hh ISH (3/4TB and 1/4 IDraught) 6yr old, but she already has been diagnosed with moderate arthritis and was recently injected, and that she will only need to be once a year-twice at most, until they fuse. This only thing that makes me hesitate. But the thing is that my trainer has a half sibling to this mare that also had hock "problems" and had to be injected once at 6yrs too, but now he is completely fine and she is hoping to take him prelim this season. They are asking 2500 for her, because the daughter is no longer eventing and pony club, and gone off to college, and her mother at 5'4" doesn't fit her very well. Also she doesnt have time with 3 others ride. What do you think? Can she be manageibly (sp?)sound (she is right now and doing super after being injected) until her hocks fuse, and what are the draw backs of having a horse with fused hocks. What big is the possibility that this horse, or any horse with this problem be successful as eventer?

LuvMyMare
Dec. 21, 2009, 01:23 AM
I cannot evaluate the horse's soundness without seeing her, but I can tell you that there is absolutely no way to predict the amount of mainentance hocks may require in the future. Once (or twice) a year hock injections don't sound bad, but there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that she won't need more than that. I'm not sure who gave you that estimate. There is no guarantee that the hocks will in fact fuse someday. Everyone talks about fusing hocks but the fact is, plenty of hocks NEVER fuse and usually horses are very lame for quite sometime if and right before they do. And if hocks don't fuse, and injections stop working, you're running out of options. A 6 y/o that already requires hock maintenance would concern me.

eventingismylife
Dec. 21, 2009, 01:26 AM
I cannot evaluate the horse's soundness without seeing her, but I can tell you that there is absolutely no way to predict the amount of mainentance hocks may require in the future. Once (or twice) a year hock injections don't sound bad, but there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that she won't need more than that. I'm not sure who gave you that estimate. There is no guarantee that the hocks will in fact fuse someday. Everyone talks about fusing hocks but the fact is, plenty of hocks NEVER fuse and usually horses are very lame for quite sometime if and right before they do. And if hocks don't fuse, and injections stop working, you're running out of options. A 6 y/o that already requires hock maintenance would concern me.

The hock injection "schedule" for lack of a better term, was told to the owner, by the vet that diagnosed the horse. Thanks for your feedback:)

LuvMyMare
Dec. 21, 2009, 02:49 AM
Hock injections should be used on an as-needed basis only (some riders inject their horses at the beginning of each show season, lame or not, "to keep them sound" for the season...I won't go there...). I would not "schedule" hock injections every 6-12 months. Ideally, a horse will stay sound at least 6 months after injection but this depends on the horse and the joint. That "at most" phrase makes me cringe because we just don't know that! Just be careful! You probably know this, but just because a vet says every 6-12 months doesn't mean that the horse will stay sound on that "schedule". I wish we had that kind of power :)

Basically, this mare was lame at some point for them to have diagnosed moderate arthritis and arthritis is a progressive disease. Fusion is not a guarantee so I wouldn't count on it. The price is tempting... If you're looking to move up the levels, I'd try to start with something sound. Good luck!

magnolia73
Dec. 21, 2009, 09:18 AM
I bought my mare with similar prognosis, though she had not been injected yet when I bought her.

We are not headed to eventing, but I enjoy jumping. The one thing is that I manage her really carefully. She lives outside 24/7 and gets daily msm. She was injected back in March and that really helped her. I ride her 5-6 days a week, and keep the jumps low. I never ever "pound" her, just keep her in consistent work. I do some dressage.

I've not had any trouble since her injections, though I give her a lot of time to warm up. Even before I injected her, it wasn't lameness, she was just very stiff. I was told that one round of injections could very well last her a long time as in years.

Will I get a lot of years out of her? I don't know. But I know I have a friend who had to retire a promising young horse with soft tissue issues. I also know that to date, her hooves have cost me more money than her hocks.

My vet told me that 1. turnout is very important- the more, the better. and that 2. consistent work was important and the worst thing for her was to sit all week then be pounded on the weekend.

I'm happy I chose to buy her- that issue made a very nice horse available to me at a very meager price level. I'd rather have her than a 100% sound horse I hate, LOL. That said, joint injections aren't minor, and are costly, plus, you need to do all the other supportive measures. Upside? You might end up with the hocks being a non-issue and owning a really nice horse.

vineyridge
Dec. 21, 2009, 09:40 AM
I have a 26 yo with one fused hock and one unfused one. Lord knows, his have had plenty of time to fuse, but the one that didn't just didn't.

So I do agree with those who say that you shouldn't think of fusing as something that will happen. If you get this horse, you could well be looking at a lifetime of managing painful arthritis--painful for the horse, and painful for your pocketbook.

eventer_mi
Dec. 21, 2009, 10:21 AM
Did the mare flex badly, and on a scale of 1-5, how did she flex? Or did they diagnose this based on just xrays alone?

I sold my beloved Saint of a Paint (and still regret selling him!) just late last winter. He was 9 when I sold him. When they did the PPE, he flexed about a 2 out of 5 on one hock, so they did a set of xrays. The one "bad" hock was definitely showing signs of arthritis, and other hock was actually fused completely, much to my surprise. Both my trainer and I were surprised, actually - this horse had never taken a bad step in the time I had him and was competing successfully through Novice, which is what he was being sold for. I made the offer to drop the price by $2k AND provide the first injection for that bad hock if the buyer was interested, which she was. So, they have now gone on to compete successfully and happily, he has a great home, and he still doesn't show any signs of pain.

I'd be interested in talking to the vet who did the PPE and get his/her opinion - how lame did the horse flex? Did the horse show any signs of pain/lameness? Howevever, it seems that this mare hasn't really DONE anything, which would make me suspicious - my gelding, at least, was out there and competing successfully. I don't know if I'd want to take that risk on a prospect, especially one so young and untried.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 21, 2009, 10:46 AM
The hock injection "schedule" for lack of a better term, was told to the owner, by the vet that diagnosed the horse. Thanks for your feedback:)


I would talk to your vet....some hock issues wouldn't bother me at all...others are more of a problem. But it should not send you running away....just do your homework. You will rarely find a horse that is truly perfect.

findeight
Dec. 21, 2009, 11:10 AM
I have a 26 yo with one fused hock and one unfused one. Lord knows, his have had plenty of time to fuse, but the one that didn't just didn't...
If you get this horse, you could well be looking at a lifetime of managing painful arthritis--painful for the horse, and painful for your pocketbook.


Yeah, my mare is 21 and still has one "hot" hock-and it IS performance limiting when it flares up. Of course, I knew when I bought her she had some OCD issues...but she was almost 10 and in regular work at what I wanted to do.

I know you read glowing stories about overcoming this...but for everyone that does, more do not.

This is a 6 year old mare that has not demonstrated she can handle a regular program at the height you are interested in. And she is a big girl. one thing to take on a packer that has some treadware, quite another to chance a low mileage model never tested with potentially limiting issues.

2500 may be cheap but hock injections are not and that could very easily be your annual cost for joint maintainance including joint injections, supplements, Legend/Adequan shots monthly and so on and so forth. Of course it could be alot more then that.

Many success stories are with Hunters or Jumpers kept on prepared surfaces-an Eventer has to be able to hold up on rough or hard ground. they have to handle hills and jumping down into and up out of various obstacles-and that strains the hocks on any of them. That is a concern if you wish to advance past the speed bump level.

I also have some concern there may be arthritis in other joints, particularly if a close relative has it.

I always say don't buy trouble that will cost you more then the horse-and that's what you potentially got here. Joint maintainance for my Hunter mare runs 1k a year, more if she needs injections-and she stays on prepared footing and only does the 2'6" anymore.

If you insist...be sure to get a good PPE with NEW x rays. And that is going to cost over 1k. Don't let trainer and vet convince you to potentially be horse poor supporting one that will never do what you bought it for just so they can bill you for their continuing work. job security, if you will.

If it helps, my good sport horse vet that said "yes with reservations" on my older mare? He would say no on a still young 6 and not even proceed to x rays.

Donkey
Dec. 21, 2009, 11:22 AM
To do it to your satisfaction the PPE will be expensive and when maintenance is required it will be expensive.

I have a young horse with hock issues. It costs me a fortune to keep her sound and going. I am very lucky to be able to afford it.

Do your homework and listen to your gut, don't let your instructor convince you to get into a situation you are not comfortable with. And keep in mind that most hocks never fuse they just hurt forever. You could have the hocks surgically or chemically fused but I'd rather leave that risk to someone else.

Lori T
Dec. 21, 2009, 11:49 AM
When we were given Impulsive in 2003, I almost passed on her because of her having fused hocks. Then I got a lesson! First off, technology changed alot since my jumper had hock issues in 1984! (back then we drained the fluid and injected cortisone). After learning about fused hocks from my vet (who looked at her xrays and told me to go get her) and from our trainer, we did just that and brought her home. Imp had done advanced with her former owner. Jen did training with her. We put her on Gluquestrian and gave her lots of turnout. Her last year of showing, we had her on monthly Adequan injections and Legend injections if we traveled out of state. I was always concerned that when we retired her, it would be because of her hocks. It turned out her knees went first. A month before we discovered the knee fragments,in 2008, they were schooling intermediate and ready to show prelim.

ThirdCharm
Dec. 21, 2009, 12:19 PM
I have a rising 8 yo (3/4 TB, 1/4 ISH) that had bone spurs in both lower hock joints (the best place to have them) when PPE'd at age five, vet said "If it becomes a problem, then you can inject". Been almost three years, has not had any injections (not even Adequan or Legend) and competed through Training. One of these days I should do xrays and see what they look like now, I guess.....

The big questions I would have are: What level has this horse competed at, is she registered and does she have the necessary qualities to be desirable as a broodmare if she is unable to compete, and how much of a budget are you on. If you're broke, and the horse has demonstrated the ability to compete at Training which is your goal, and she has good bloodlines/conformation/temperament, and you can afford to keep up the maintenance, she may be a good deal.

Jennifer

findeight
Dec. 21, 2009, 01:34 PM
Just for reference if you want to take this on...

Adequan is IM at least monthly and runs anywhere from 50 to 90 per shot. Legend is IV so usually a vet is needed-that is going to add to the 60 to 90 cost of the injection itself.

The joint supplements that work will be anywhere from 35 to 75 a month. Maybe more depending on what you use.

Many of these that are successful with arthtic issues are on NSAIDS-mine is on Previcox twice a week. Add 50 or so, maybe more.

Joint injections can run anywhere from 50 to 100 per injection site...and there are 6 they usually inject. Once they fuse, the needle basically won't go in as that is now sealed. Since it is fused, there is a lose of flexibility and the quality of the horse's movement is affected.

So be sure you understand what that statement "oh, sure, just needs maintainence" is going to cost you annually.

And nobody can tell for sure what will be needed at this point.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 21, 2009, 01:47 PM
Purchase price is the cheapest part.

I'd be really worried about career-ending arthritis down the line and also how she will hold up in heavy work. Breeding can be wicked expensive, btw, so I wouldn't get her planning to breed her if she goes lame (especially if her bloodlines may have some hereditary hock issues--why perpetuate that?).

My last set of hock injections ran me over $400. Adequan is around $300 (injecting myself) and so on. That would be $1400 a year, done twice (plus hauling, etc.). That does not include an oral supplement, etc.

Since she is a prospect, I would pass, if it were me. But I'm just going off of what I've read here too.

Also, my last two OTTB were over 15 years old and needed hock maitenance and they had not/have not fused--so I wouldn't count on that.

magnolia73
Dec. 21, 2009, 03:19 PM
LOL, It's a crap shoot. You can't guarantee soundness in a horse period. You are buying an existing problem, but to be honest, I know of more horses sitting in a pasture forever with chronic soft tissue then with arthritis.

If your budget is $2500, anything that is big (ie, 16'H plus)not an OTTB is going to be really green or have personality issues or have soundness issues(or be an awesome deal). So somewhere you will need to compromise.

My difference with you? I have no competitive and am OK with a horse who may need early retirement or a much easier life. But to be honest, any horse might be lame tomorrow. For good. You do run a greater risk. The vet told me - the nice thing about hocks- a lot you can do these days. For a price. But beats something like a tendon tear that you can't fix at any price.

PhoenixFarm
Dec. 21, 2009, 04:14 PM
There are sort of two questions here.

The first is, "Can horses event successfully with fused hocks?" And the answer is clearly yes. Mr. PF's old event mare was retired from preliminary eventing due to her hocks. We bred her, and in the ensuing year, she fused. We then gave her to my sis-in-law who evented her for another seven years at novice until she died of a stroke at age 20. She didn't jump the same post-fusion, but she still jumped well, and perfectly fin for her job. Many eventers have fused hocks, heck many horses do. Fusing isn't an issue.

The problem is this mare ISN'T fused. She just has hocks that MIGHT fuse. And while they are fusing she will likely be very lame, and if they don't fuse completely she might never be appropriately sound. It is true that hocks are probably the most easily managed arthritic joint, but don't take that as gospel that that maintenace will be cheap, easy, or guaranteed.

She might be fine with maintenance. She might not be. Personally, I'd rather she was fused already, and/or she was currently competing at or near the level you'd be doing. OTOH, that's not much money for an ISH, so it might be worth the risk depending on what the vetting really shows.

poltroon
Dec. 21, 2009, 04:31 PM
I would go try the horse. If you don't like her, then no worries. If you do, it's worth getting a vet workup including x-rays to make a good decision about what is there and the prognosis.

One thing to ask is how much work she's done at age 6, and how that will compare to the work you will do. How moderate is moderate? Was it just a subtle thing or was it bad enough that she was lame?

Ruperman
Dec. 21, 2009, 06:45 PM
I completely agree that you need to do a full vet work up. At the very least, if you get her, then you have a base line.

I bought a horse whose hocks were fused and took him to Young Riders at 17. He loved his job and was the horse who taught me how to event. We did do hock injections about every 8-12 months or as he needed it. It is very important not to over do the hock injections and listen to your horse.

The biggest problem is not if the hocks are fused, it is as they are fusing, and which joints are fusing. Hope that helped.

RiverBendPol
Dec. 22, 2009, 07:34 AM
Have you thought about this yet? Say you do buy the mare. You get a good season or 2 out of her and she gets sore then creaky then downright lame and can no longer do the work you ask of her. THEN what? Will you sell her? To whom? Will you retire her? Where? Can you afford to keep her for the next 30 years? (she's only 6, right?) If you do keep her, will you be able to get another horse to satisfy your riding aspirations? Will you put her down? Beyond asking the 'Is she a good risk' questions, buying this horse makes you responsible for her-you become her steward and you must do right by her, problems or no.

I have one like this in my field-thankfully I HAVE the field-Ours is only 9 and is completely done. He was actually done before he started, poor guy, but we are his stewards and it is up to us to keep him safe and healthy. When the time comes, we will put him down but for now, he's cheery and content so I keep forking over the $$ to keep him fat and comfortable.

Good luck with your decision, it is a tough one. When I was crying over some horse or another I had fallen in love with and HAD to have, my mother used to tell me "Horses are like street cars-there will be another one along in a minute". She was right and I'm guessing you can find one with fewer problems. Just because this one is right in front of your face doesn't mean it is the right one for you. There is always a reason for a low price tag....

eventingismylife
Dec. 22, 2009, 06:36 PM
Have you thought about this yet? Say you do buy the mare. You get a good season or 2 out of her and she gets sore then creaky then downright lame and can no longer do the work you ask of her. THEN what? Will you sell her? To whom? Will you retire her? Where? Can you afford to keep her for the next 30 years? (she's only 6, right?) If you do keep her, will you be able to get another horse to satisfy your riding aspirations? Will you put her down? Beyond asking the 'Is she a good risk' questions, buying this horse makes you responsible for her-you become her steward and you must do right by her, problems or no.

I have one like this in my field-thankfully I HAVE the field-Ours is only 9 and is completely done. He was actually done before he started, poor guy, but we are his stewards and it is up to us to keep him safe and healthy. When the time comes, we will put him down but for now, he's cheery and content so I keep forking over the $$ to keep him fat and comfortable.

Good luck with your decision, it is a tough one. When I was crying over some horse or another I had fallen in love with and HAD to have, my mother used to tell me "Horses are like street cars-there will be another one along in a minute". She was right and I'm guessing you can find one with fewer problems. Just because this one is right in front of your face doesn't mean it is the right one for you. There is always a reason for a low price tag....

Thank you for your concern RiverBendPol, but I just had to but my last horse down after an awful fight with cancer- I only had her for 6 months. I know that once you are the owner of any animal you are their advocate for everything in their life and 110% responsible for them. No ifs ands or buts about it. Unfortunately many people dont understand that or choose not too.
I have been looking for a horse for 2 years- and I havent come across one that has fit "the bill", in terms of their initial cost, temperament, age, health issues etc. Montana is a pretty big hole when it comes to event horses, if you have a good one- you hang on to it for dear life and dont let go. But not many of us are lucky enough to find a perfect project, prospect or made eventer- unless you go out of state. Still your not going to find much in the 5k and under range. So I thought when my trainer helped me find this mare, to come to you COTHers and see if anyone had been in a similar situation in the terms of "bad" hocks in young event prospects. Thats all, and I apperciate everyone's feed back:yes:

poltroon
Dec. 22, 2009, 07:15 PM
I have been looking for a horse for 2 years- and I havent come across one that has fit "the bill", in terms of their initial cost, temperament, age, health issues etc. Montana is a pretty big hole when it comes to event horses, if you have a good one- you hang on to it for dear life and dont let go. But not many of us are lucky enough to find a perfect project, prospect or made eventer- unless you go out of state. Still your not going to find much in the 5k and under range. So I thought when my trainer helped me find this mare, to come to you COTHers and see if anyone had been in a similar situation in the terms of "bad" hocks in young event prospects. Thats all, and I apperciate everyone's feed back:yes:

As food for thought, in the under 5k range, you're generally going to be dealing with hock issues unless the horse is very green. It's worth thinking about whether as the buyer it's better to have an older horse with the hock issues (more likely to be living with it, more experience, fewer potential decades of unsoundness ahead) or whether you're happier with a younger horse with the hock issues.

eventingismylife
Dec. 22, 2009, 07:24 PM
As food for thought, in the under 5k range, you're generally going to be dealing with hock issues unless the horse is very green. It's worth thinking about whether as the buyer it's better to have an older horse with the hock issues (more likely to be living with it, more experience, fewer potential decades of unsoundness ahead) or whether you're happier with a younger horse with the hock issues.

I have looked at some golden oldies, but they were not going to go any where accept BN.. sadly 'cause I really liked one of them! Yeah, I know that with my price range you have to give some to get some *i.e. hock or other issues* Thanks though!:winkgrin:

findeight
Dec. 22, 2009, 07:24 PM
That's fine.

As long as you understand what this could cost you to maintain. And if you are bargain shopping, I really fear the cost to maintain until the hocks do fuse-if they fuse-is going to be alot more then you think. Plus it could be limiting and your trainer does not have a crystal ball to tell if it will fuse or be a problem.

Just a thought...I have friends up around Great Falls who do Barrel Racing. They routinely pay around 2500 and never more then 5k for mainly Appendix type QHs that are available in abundant quantities. Why not shop in a different discipline? I have seen their horses, no reason they could not do something else. Nice and athletic, sound, trainable.

Give it some thought. As opposed to an untested, untried, unfinished horse with known potentially limiting soundness problems that could cost a bundle.

FuzzyTB
Dec. 22, 2009, 07:52 PM
I really like findeight's advice. My first event horse was of unknown breeding who came from somewhere out west (I'm orignally from CT) who had most likely never seen a jump, let alone cross country jumps! He very successfully competed at training level and the 3'6" - 3'9" jumpers. He went to Pony Club Nationals for show jumping and I passed my C2 on him (would have taken my C3 on him but got a new horse right before the test).

The fact that this mare is so young with little experience is a bit worrisome. Taking care of hock problems can be incredibly expensive, as many others have pointed out. That being said, you just never know. My old TB flexed positive on both hocks during the PPE - bought him anyway. Ironically, he had an old break of his coffin bone that did not show up in the PPE. With bar shoes, he was fine. He never took a lame step, literally. Competed at prelim for two years and was two weeks away from going to a long format 1* when he hurt himself while turned out.

A vet once told me a horse will never "pass" a PPE - there is always going to be something. As you stated earlier, you have to give on something. Good luck!

badawg
Dec. 23, 2009, 05:19 PM
Well, technically, this horse is coming from a "different discipline", LOL!

She's a ranch raised beast...Not sure what their intent was in breeding her but she's been worked on a ranch her whole life after being started at 3. I met her as a 3 y/o and she seems to have a good mind, can't speak for much else about her. That said, if for whatever reason you decide not to go with her, I'd really start looking in the barrel racer market as well. M's Bee is bred to barrel race, and I suspect Rowan is as well. They are in abundance around the state, nice moving, bred to run, and cheap! They generally won't have the same foundation that we would want in an eventer, but they are pretty easy to convert. I love, love, love those Appendix horses!

eventingismylife
Dec. 23, 2009, 06:32 PM
Well, technically, this horse is coming from a "different discipline", LOL!

She's a ranch raised beast...Not sure what their intent was in breeding her but she's been worked on a ranch her whole life after being started at 3. I met her as a 3 y/o and she seems to have a good mind, can't speak for much else about her. That said, if for whatever reason you decide not to go with her, I'd really start looking in the barrel racer market as well. M's Bee is bred to barrel race, and I suspect Rowan is as well. They are in abundance around the state, nice moving, bred to run, and cheap! They generally won't have the same foundation that we would want in an eventer, but they are pretty easy to convert. I love, love, love those Appendix horses!

Dont worry badawg, I really like her and when I come over and we get along we will probably get her. So I will get to see ya soon!! Just wanted to see if our fellow COTHer's had any eventers with fused hocks, thats all ;)