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View Full Version : How to sell a horse that won't pass the PPE?



CharismaRJG
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:15 AM
Scenario goes like this:

1st horse: 5 yo TB gelding. Has hock changes and has had injections. This was disclosed to potential buyers. Had two solid buyers and both times this horse had positive hock flexions on the PPE and the buyers walked. Horse priced in low four figures.

2nd horse-3ft hunter 10 yo TB gelding. Priced low 5 figures.No soundness issues ever in his life. Had very positive rear ankle flexion for first buyer. They declined moving to x-rays and walked away from the sale so we had our vet x-ray and he said it was nothing to be concerned with for the horse's career.

We then proceed to potential buyer 2 who loved horse. Disclosed previous ankle flexion and vet records released. Positive flexion on the ankle and her vet took more x-rays and she had enough concerns to walk away from the sale.

Has anyone encountered anything similar to this (as in an issue that was un-satisfactory in a PPE)when selling and were there positive outcomes or did you just take the horse off the market?

NancyM
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:37 AM
If you believe that these horses will be sound horses in competition, even with the not so good vet exams, about all you can do now is prove it. Show them, campaign them yourself. If you can show a good soundess record over time, in the public eye of the shows, buyers are more likely to take a chance, having seen them over time at the shows, being successful AND sound.

Also, it does happen that vets have differing opinions about what each finds on a PPE. Have seen the same horse with different vettings, different findings, depending on the vet.

Practically all horses have "something" that is less than stellar on a rigourous PPE. What matters is how realistic the potential buyer is, and what their personal experience is with the reality of horses not being "perfect", and how much of a risk taker they are. Some of the most unsound horses have had pristine PPEs. Others have issues identified and well documented, yet don't limp and are functional practically indefinately. Go figure.

Lord Helpus
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:42 AM
I had that problem. 100% sound $20k horse failed his PPE x-rays. I was gobsmacked. He had never taken a lame step in his life.

I ended up selling him for $2000 to a COTH'er (via a thread much like this!, but without meaning it to be a sales thread). She got a gorgeous, sound horse for 1/10th of his value, he got a good home for life (she has a farm in Texas and had loads of room to retire him) and it was a win/win.

PS: I will not give a horse away. IMO, if someone cannot or is not willing to pay for a horse, then they cannot or will not go to the mat for it if the chips are down.

Yes, I feel bad for someone who says they cannot afford to pay for him, but will give him a good home. But if there is no money to pay for him, then what happens if a big vet bill comes up? If he goes lame and needs special care? Where is the money going to come from then?

Could either of your horses be donated to a school or a therapeutic riding program? Please don't put them in a position where they will go lame and the next owner will have no option but to send them to auction or turn them out with less than optimal care.

Taking them off the market and putting them back on later will not make the x-rays better....

Beethoven
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:48 AM
Upfront tell the buyer that it has failed PPE in the past and lower the price.

fordtraktor
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:51 AM
I have seen this happen a fair number of times and the horse has either been given away or sold for a portion of its non-failed-PPE value. The portion usually depends on how badly it failed the PPE and whether it is showing any signs of lameness/soreness.

If it Xrays are bad but it flexes fine and is not lame, the discount is substantially less than if it seems to be causing pain. Both of the ones you describe flex badly, which is not good.

The 5 year old you describe would be hard to give away, frankly. The 10 year old would probably be easy to place if child- or ammy-friendly, but not for much $$.

If buyer 2 loved the horse, offer it back for a serious discount, she might bite. I would probably offer it to her for 1/3 of asking price and be willing to go lower unless you have a use for the animal and want to keep it.

As Lord Helpus says, the Xrays are not going to get better. And now you have a lot to disclose to the next buyer.

joiedevie99
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:52 AM
Disclose upfront, lower the price, and expect them to take a long time to sell.

Show the heck out of them and prove they can stay sound doing their jobs, keep the price as is, and expect them to take a long time to sell.

Lease them out.

A bad x-ray with no clinical symptoms is easier to sell than a clinical symptom without a corresponding bad x-ray. You've got a horse displaying pain with no known cause.

Sparky
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:55 AM
That has happened to us twice with horses in the mid five figure range. Both horses had great performance records and had never missed a show due to lameness. In each case, the potential buyers took them on lease with options, showed them extensively and successfully for a year, and bought them. We knew their top trainers well, and that is a key to making this work, and the deal was they could return the horse at anytime and get a pro rated portion of their money back, so we were taking a chance, but then, they were too. An arrangement like that may be worth a try for you.

Herbie19
Nov. 10, 2011, 10:26 AM
Just because someone doesn't have six figures to spend on a purchase does NOT mean they can't or won't spend money on the long term care of a horse. In fact my last two horses not only would have failed a PPE miserably but were actually LAME when they were GIVEN to me. I easily spend $30K a year at the vet on these two horses but would never have been able to afford to buy these horses (both are worth six figures without "issues"). Both are sound and actively competing at the AA level.

There are people out there who are willing to take a risk on a questionable vetting if the horse has a successful show record--get your horse to some more shows and establish one. Someone will want him!

danceronice
Nov. 10, 2011, 11:17 AM
Just because someone doesn't have six figures to spend on a purchase does NOT mean they can't or won't spend money on the long term care of a horse. In fact my last two horses not only would have failed a PPE miserably but were actually LAME when they were GIVEN to me. I easily spend $30K a year at the vet on these two horses but would never have been able to afford to buy these horses (both are worth six figures without "issues"). Both are sound and actively competing at the AA level.

This. Maybe they'd rather save that money to pay for the inevitable vet care if they're taking a horse with known issues or high potential for issues. That or if there IS a five-figure vet bill maybe they'll just put the horse down. Which is, whenever anyone asks about it being an option, always okay, according to most COTH threads.

GingerJumper
Nov. 10, 2011, 11:24 AM
This. Maybe they'd rather save that money to pay for the inevitable vet care if they're taking a horse with known issues or high potential for issues. That or if there IS a five-figure vet bill maybe they'll just put the horse down. Which is, whenever anyone asks about it being an option, always okay, according to most COTH threads.

Exactly. If it's a good home, especially good people that you're familiar with or know of, then giving a horse away could in fact be the BEST decision for everyone involved.

findeight
Nov. 10, 2011, 11:43 AM
Have to go with LH on her example. I gave one away once but that was as a pet to somebody I had known a long time. And she was talking an in work with no trouble 20k horse. Somebody who could not come up with something close to that is not going to pick up 15k in vet costs like Herbie did in her example. I'd not want to see a young to middle aged, useable horse die over a vet bill for a manageble issue. Not of I could keep the horse myself as I suspect LH can.

Offhand, niether of OPs examples is unusual, a 5 year old already getting injections that still flexes positive is not going to appeal to many. Maybe more frequent injections, a joint supplement and drop the price.

That second horse, the 10 year old with the bad ankle? Maybe addressing that will help him. He is old enough to show some treadwear.

Perhaps a second opinion on these and a treatment regime to help them out and to help them sell would be a good choice? Or drop the price low enough to move them as is.

It really does not matter what sellers vet thinks, it's what buyers vet thinks and I can't blame anybody in this market for walking away from spending several thousand for that hocky 5 year old or 10k+ for the older horse that 2 buyers have walked away from(and the second vet took more pictures and had serious concerns).

You can legitimatly question flexions as a predictor of future soundness...but there are alot out there with no problems.

vxf111
Nov. 10, 2011, 11:50 AM
I am assuming #2 is a made show horse and #1 is green, based on the descriptions.

Number 2 doesn't bother me that much. It's 10, it's been showing. It's a child/adult horse- not a grand prix jumper. It's not going to have to take on the world and it doesn't strike me as that unexpected that it has a bit of wear and tear. I'd see what treatments you can do for the bad ankle and how it responds. Might just be that it needs an injection there and then will continue on sound/perform well and even flex okay. That one sounds worth putting some additional time/money into. That just sounds like a horse with mileage who is getting into the early stages of being about to show it and needing some maintenance. If it's a show horse with a record, just see what you can do to get it maintained a bit better. If that one is out showing and flexes sound on injections, I wouldn't blink at that one.

If the injection fixes it, I might not even lower the price. Or, at the very least, only minimally. That one will sell, it just needs some maintenance and then some patience/time on the market. If it's a solid 3'0 show horse, someone will want it notwithstanding wear and tear if it's going sound and has a record of being able to be maintained on it's ankle issue.

The first one sounds like a giveaway to me. Or, at the very least, a cheap sell to more of a pleasure home.

magnolia73
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:49 PM
1st horse: 5 yo TB gelding. Has hock changes and has had injections. This was disclosed to potential buyers. Had two solid buyers and both times this horse had positive hock flexions on the PPE and the buyers walked. Horse priced in low four figures.



I bought this horse! I loved her- she was awesome. They were upfront from the initial email about the hocks (though not stated in ad). I did a PPE and the vet explained to me the hocks and what we could do and it was acceptable to me.

In my case, they had wanted I believe $10,000 for my horse, and after discovering hocks, price dropped to $3500. This was prior to the bad economy. She was a big, fancy OTTB with auto changes and a sweet disposition, plenty of potential. At the time, sound / clean horses with similar attributes were in that $7500 and up range.

That said- I was an uncommon buyer, looking for an OTTB project type as a forever horse, not a resale and I was OK with her being limited to pleasure if needed. I really clicked with her and she was the EXACT horse I wanted- appearance, size, movement and personality and goes like I like a horse to go.

I'd keep the 5yo going, and advertised at a low price, and disclose hocks when people inquire. The right person may come around especially if he is an amateur friendly guy, good personality and attractive.

And LOL, mine got one round of hock injections and a scoop of MSM daily, turnout 24/7 and has not had issue with her "bad hocks" in the 4 years I've had her.

But its a risk and you need to find someone who likes the horse enough to take the risk.

ThoroughbredFancy
Nov. 10, 2011, 01:08 PM
It's is going to be tough because there are so many other horses that WILL pass a PPE with flying colors in that price range. Just be upfront and honest, present vet records and you'll just have to find someone to accept the horse for what he/she is. It IS going to take longer IMO than placing one without those issues. I hate to say it, but I'd probably walk too.

Don't take this personally as I'm not trying to be offensive, but I simply cannot believe a stranger when he/she says "but the horse has been sound it's entire life with me." Perhaps I am a bit paranoid, I just have a hard time believing most sellers and am very thorough when deciding what I am going to spend my money on. Granted you may be telling the truth and if I bought the horse it may never take a lame step and I may go out and buy one that passes a PPE and it may render itself lame a day later. There are chances to take but I like to improve my odds on having a sound partner that is up to perform.

Just be honest, make sure the horses are priced fairly and sprinkle a little patience in there to make sure the horse does go to the right home that is accepting of its condition that may or may not have an impact on its soundness.

Giddy-up
Nov. 10, 2011, 01:27 PM
Lower the price & then get the horse out there doing what you say it can do for people to see. Be upfront if buyers approach you so no time/money is wasted for either party.

I see show horses that will not pass a PPE sell because they are out there winning & doing their job. I am sure they are priced to reflect that as well though.

mep0726
Nov. 10, 2011, 05:27 PM
I am in the same/similar situation right now. I bought a horse in early July that I was intending to be my next hunter. I got him from a friend of a friend and didn't do a PPE because he was dirt cheap. I was intending for the horse to be my next long term/forever horse, so I wasn't too worried about it. Well, now my situation has changed and I don't have as much time to ride him (just started professional school), so I put him up for sale. I just moved to a new barn, and the trainer was interested in him, but when she did a PPE, he flexed pretty positive on his right front ankle. So she had radiographs done and they didn't look good. I'm not sure exactly what the radiographs showed (I wasn't there and am still waiting to hear back from the vet), but my trainer backed out (understandably). So, it's frustrating, especially since if I can't get him sold then he will probably just end up being a pasture puff simply due to my lack of time right now :(

Herbie19
Nov. 10, 2011, 05:53 PM
Exactly. If it's a good home, especially good people that you're familiar with or know of, then giving a horse away could in fact be the BEST decision for everyone involved.

This was exactly what happened to me. I knew the people and the horses, so for me it was a no brainer. I'd much rather write a check to the vet every month maintaining horses that I know will perform than write a check for an unknown. But not everyone thinks the way I do :)

I see people all the time pass on made up show horses because they need their hocks done or need to start on Adequan and Legend. My theory is you can either pay to keep up an older horse or you can pay up front for a younger horse that may or may not work out and THEN pay to keep it up when it's made--because either way you look at it the miles you put on that horse to make it up are more than likely the same type of PPE "issues" that you passed on before.

GingerJumper
Nov. 11, 2011, 11:33 AM
This was exactly what happened to me. I knew the people and the horses, so for me it was a no brainer. I'd much rather write a check to the vet every month maintaining horses that I know will perform than write a check for an unknown. But not everyone thinks the way I do :)

I see people all the time pass on made up show horses because they need their hocks done or need to start on Adequan and Legend. My theory is you can either pay to keep up an older horse or you can pay up front for a younger horse that may or may not work out and THEN pay to keep it up when it's made--because either way you look at it the miles you put on that horse to make it up are more than likely the same type of PPE "issues" that you passed on before.

:yes:

My first horse (now retired) was an older appy SH who, when we purchased him for next to nothing, I knew was going to need Adequan and probably hock injections. We happily shelled out for Adequan every 4-5 weeks, and hock injections. He was also on high-quality Sr feed and in general absolutely pampered. Would I have paid any more for him than I did, knowing he had those maintenance costs? No. But I took excellent care of him and put a ton into him. His current human, who is probably spoiling him even more, is equally careful about his care, and she basically just paid us for the fall shots she'd asked us to get done before she brought him home.

Just because a horse was cheap/free, doesn't mean it won't be loved to bits and cared for EXTREMELY well. :)

FlashGordon
Nov. 11, 2011, 11:46 AM
Number 1 sounds like a giveaway.

Number 2.... well.... send him to me. :winkgrin:

dab
Nov. 11, 2011, 09:04 PM
#1 sounds like a giveaway to me too --
#2 might sell with a month-to-month lease with the option to buy if you're lucky --

Carol Ames
Nov. 11, 2011, 09:17 PM
I'm sure there is a school :)or college/ university ;)for whom he would make a nice donation; IF,:cool: he is a good riding horse,

toomanyponies
Nov. 11, 2011, 10:11 PM
That has happened to us twice with horses in the mid five figure range. Both horses had great performance records and had never missed a show due to lameness. In each case, the potential buyers took them on lease with options, showed them extensively and successfully for a year, and bought them. We knew their top trainers well, and that is a key to making this work, and the deal was they could return the horse at anytime and get a pro rated portion of their money back, so we were taking a chance, but then, they were too. An arrangement like that may be worth a try for you.

This. Lease with option to buy and a prorated lease money back if they break on the bad leg.

CHT
Nov. 11, 2011, 10:30 PM
A few years back I had a 5 year old that flexed very badly on a front ankle. I was shocked, so I offered to have my vet come and look at the horse on behalf of the potential buyer (buyer was present). In the end we could not pinpoint the issue, so we made a sales agreement with a declining balance refund if the horse went lame on the questionable leg. This allowed them to work the horse at the level they wanted in their care (to know he wasn't being drugged) and it all worked out. I did not lower my asking price as I would have been ok keeping him.

doublesstable
Nov. 11, 2011, 10:35 PM
Lower the price & then get the horse out there doing what you say it can do for people to see. Be upfront if buyers approach you so no time/money is wasted for either party.

I see show horses that will not pass a PPE sell because they are out there winning & doing their job. I am sure they are priced to reflect that as well though.


Ditto ^

Rel6
Nov. 14, 2011, 03:30 PM
I think I saw the first horse the OP was talking about on bigeq. Both ad and horse seemed very similar, and it looks like it was handled pretty well.

gottagrey
Nov. 14, 2011, 05:32 PM
I guess full disclosure and priced properly. On that note though I leased a great amateur horse from my trainer supposedly until she could sell her. The mare would never pass PPE because of a spot on her xrays and bad flexion - but she was a great 3' horse. I ended up leasing her for about 10 years - not to scare you off but trainer really hates selling/buying horses so it was definitely the deal of a lifetime fo rme in many many ways. She was a great horse - she was sound the entire time I leased her except for the odd bruise now and then.

It's sad because there are plenty of good horses that get overlooked because of this type of thing - and there might be a spot or an issue which never is a problem and then you get a horse that breezes through the PPE and a year later all sorts of things can crop up.. you just never know.

Best of luck to you and I hope you find someone who will understand that some horses will have issues just like we do.. and often managed appropriately they will have plenty of good years ahead.

RioTex
Nov. 14, 2011, 06:10 PM
I resemble LordHelpus' remark. :) He was a hell of a horse. He wasn't the first one I had that wouldn't pass the vet. He wasn't the last one either. My old AO horse had pins in an ankle and hocks to go with the hardware. I retired him when I got too old to stay with his crack you in two jump. Some are quite willing to take a gamble for a price break and some aren't. Just like some won't buy mares or under 16h or grey. It's just a matter of finding the right person for the horse.

I had one that had never taken a lame step, passed the flexions and was sold until the films showed a coffin chip. Deal fell apart and I had a hard time getting him sold because I refused to go rock bottom on the price. He showed locally and stayed sound and sold for high 4-figures eventually. I am sure I lost money on the deal, but he got a great home. Buyer and seller were happy.

tpup
Nov. 14, 2011, 08:58 PM
:yes:

My first horse (now retired) was an older appy SH who, when we purchased him for next to nothing, I knew was going to need Adequan and probably hock injections. We happily shelled out for Adequan every 4-5 weeks, and hock injections. He was also on high-quality Sr feed and in general absolutely pampered. Would I have paid any more for him than I did, knowing he had those maintenance costs? No. But I took excellent care of him and put a ton into him. His current human, who is probably spoiling him even more, is equally careful about his care, and she basically just paid us for the fall shots she'd asked us to get done before she brought him home.

Just because a horse was cheap/free, doesn't mean it won't be loved to bits and cared for EXTREMELY well. :)

Same as above (and also an Appy here too...). Wanted the horse for his brain, temperment and was willing to deal with maintenance issues. I visited, handled and rode him 3-4 times before buying. I loved, loved his temperment and his calmness. Mine gets hock injections, joint supps, stellar feed program and care and took me as an adult re-rider to my first dressage show (4th place!), my first combined test - taught me to really jump - and is a SAINT SAINT on the trails. Rides out alone or with others. He is the horse my kids can groom, lead, and sit next to. He is the horse that doesn't bat an eye if someone turns on a chainsaw next to him....really. He is truly my heart horse - steady eddy, great personality. Just had surgery and he took me around the fields on the buckle for a hack 4 days later.

You may just have to market them differently (brains vs. brawn for example) and to a different buyer, like I was at the time.

vxf111
Nov. 14, 2011, 11:24 PM
I think I saw the first horse the OP was talking about on bigeq. Both ad and horse seemed very similar, and it looks like it was handled pretty well.

Agree!

Hauwse
Nov. 15, 2011, 08:24 AM
Might just be a case of finding the right buyer.

disclose all you know about them, price them appropriately given their circumstances, and wait for the right buyer.

I purchased a mare a few years ago, big fence prospect, PPE showed a knee chip. Loved the mare, seller and I worked out a price modification, basically all I wanted was a reduction so I could get the chip removed if required, seller conceded much more than that, and I bought the mare with the knowledge that I either had to do something about the issue or wait and see.

Removed the chip gave her a year off, she came back great, took her to her first show, 1.3M, and a local BNT loved her, told him the issue's, he could not have cared less, and paid very good money for her.

She is doing GP's now and has paid for herself a few times over now.

Point being, none of them last forever, and maintenance via vet, owner, program, etc. are part of being a good horseman, and good horseman buy good horses and manage the rest.

I would imagine more than half of the horses we see winning at the top would show a clean PPE.

cyberbay
Nov. 15, 2011, 08:55 AM
Just to put in some annoying 2 cents: Horses don't really 'fail' a PPE -- the vet just reveals the degree of soundness the horse possesses.

It's up to the buyer to work with the information and make a decision.

My newest horse, a 9 year old at the time, I bought from a show trainer. She was selling him at a low price (not low to me, tho!) b/c she said he would have terrible hock x-rays. So, I didn't bother to vet him, making the assumption that his vision and breathing and heart were OK. Just handed her a check after the 2nd ride (and after he bit me).

He's actually a SUPER nice horse, a little tough in the temperment department, and, IMO, requires a lot of maintenance. Other people would do less, be less reactive to his way of going. I happen to not be that way, so I spend more, worry more. I think the horse has a really good home, he's more comfortable than he's ever been, and I've gotten a powerhouse of a horse.

My other horse had miserable x-rays at the time of the PPE. I'd also worked and ridden him for the year prior to purchase, so I joked with the vet over how awful the pix were, and then turned and handed the owner a check for him. This horse worked out just fine for my purposes.

This boring story is really to say that if the right sort of person walks through your door, the horse will sell or lease or just find his next owner. And get a good home. Keep talking to people, and eventually the word gets around that a decent horse with some issues is available.

I cringe at the posters who say "show the heck out of him, so people can see for themselves he can do the job, etc." I hear the intent, but if the horse already doesn't have a good flexion, and then is seen out there doing the jumpers every weekend, potential buyers will only do the math and conclude the horse has not much in him at this point before he breaks.

To me, just b/c a horse looks good in the show ring, it's no guarantee that there isn't some behind-the-scenes to get him that way. I would NEVER take at face value the soundness of a horse I keep seeing in the show ring every weekend.

CharismaRJG
Nov. 15, 2011, 08:59 AM
Thank you everyone for your comments and I appreciate the input. I did put the 5 yr. old back on Bigeq (and a few other sites) and disclosed the info and significantly lowered the price. I am hoping that he will go to a nice person who loves him!

On a good note--the 10yr old 3ft gelding will be going on trial again this weekend locally. Potential buyer is looking for more of a pleasure mount/only light occasional jumping. We have disclosed that the horse will probably need maintenance and we are still in the process of discussing these maintenance options with our vet. I even told potential buyer he was definitely going to have positive flexion on the ankle, but luckily she really likes him and the vet she will be using is familiar with our vet so they can discuss things. I am hoping for a positive outcome.

vxf111
Nov. 15, 2011, 09:18 AM
Good seller being honest + covering all the bases appropriately= Positive outcome and good sales

I hope anyway!

equinedriver
Nov. 15, 2011, 09:22 AM
Virtually every horse I bought "flunked the vet". I have champagne taste on a beer budget and couldn't afford them unless they had an issue. I became known as the person to call if you had a really nice horse that flunked LOL. I kept my horses at home and was known for my fabulous care. They lived out in big fields, fed in a box stall but otherwise either out in a big field with a shade tree or two, a pond, and hills or a LARGE paddock with very good fencing. I would consult with my vet about what the issue was and what we expected as far as maintenance and many times just having them out moving around and running up and down the hills significantly reduced the amount of maintenance required. I always paid about 1/4 the the original price, I got a great horse for my kid to ride and the horse got a great home.