I don't think failing a flexion test is a big deal.
But I do think it is kind of weird that the previous buyers would have stopped there instead of x-raying the joint (since flexions are generally just a guide to what to x-ray). I'm guessing he wasn't an inexpensive horse at that time?
And weirder still that the owners would just leave it at that non-diagnosis and sell the horse for cheap, instead of paying for an x-ray, diagnosing the issue if any, and pricing accordingly. Maybe he would have x-rayed fine and they could have added "clean films" to the ad.
I would pursue, but cautiously, as they probably went far enough in their diagnosis to price him where they did.
Without knowing how lame the horse was upon flexion and what the x-rays actually there is no way anyone can make an assesment..also when was the last time horse competied?? Is horse still in daily work?? when was the horse Vetted and after is horse still in work???
Oh the joys of flexions, etc :)
I had an old campanger who wouldn't pass ANYBODY'S flexions. And I mean pass. Maybe by the end of the jog line he would have the leg back down after a hock flexion ;) But hey, he was old, had been there done that, etc and was, for the most part, sound enough for our unregonized BN and occasional N CT or HT. Until one day when he suddenly went 3 legged in the middle of a dressage test (yah, that was fun--a race to see if DH got him stopped and signaled the judged he was quitting or if the judge could whistle him out first. It was tie. ANd he walked sound of of the arena. Go figure) We had him looked over--flexed and no surprise there. Radiograph taken of both hocks--BEAUTIFUL!! One tiny little itty bitty spur you really had to look for under a hot light for to find. Hocks looked like a 3 yr olds!! But he was for sure off. They blocked him, just the hock. Re examined him and WOW. Then I rode him there too. OMG. It was like riding a 3-5 y old. We retired him. Would have loved to have MRI back then to see what all was going on in those jts just for grins.
Story #2: OTTB horse (had been of the track for a while). PPE flexions, etc all 100% clean and perfect. Not a bad step any where. Rads: OMG you should have seen the gravel in the joints. Yes that is jointS. No effusions, no reaction of flexions, was in flat and jumping work already, etc. Vets (yes, more than, in 2 big horse states at 2 big practices!) were amazed!!
Moral to the story: How bad does the horse respond to the flexions WHEN YOU ARE THERE? What do you intend to do with him in addition to what has been done to him? And what is risk factor comfort zone? Even the prefect ones have things go wrong and there are ones out there ugly as hell the just going cuz ain't nothing else left to break. But would I start with one that is broke all to hell that is a BN horse and barely making it there and buy it with the intention of going advanced? In this day and age? Probably not unless the price was really right and I have economical access to really good soundness support. But if he is broke all to hell, and is a steady eddie at what he is doing and that is what I want to do, ie what he is doing and have him help with it, I would prob consider it if the price was right and could afford the upkeep I knowI am prob looking at later on down the road.
I hope that made sense.
I am tough when it comes to PPE. I want clean flexions and clean x-rays. I pass on most horses because if this. However, I have never purchased an older, been-there, done-that sort of horse. The ones I've purchased have always been younger and typically have few if any miles under saddle.
I did with a green at the time horse that has now taken me to my first AA jumper show, first recognized HTs, and first fox hunt. Five years later his only lameness was from a stone bruise. My next horse passed his flexions with all 0/5s and he ended up being basically useless because he wasn't sound mentally. Radiographs and nerve blocks are the mostly reliable lameness tools in my book.
As most have said, flexion test don't tell you the whole picture.
Once sold a horse that vet said did not pass flexion test.
Person decided to buy horse anyway and the horse went on to be a whip horse, whipped off of twice a week for 11 years and was never lame.
I would also have your own vet do a PPE. I also trust my farrier's opinion above most things, and have often brought him along to look at a horse.
For the record, my 13 year old former chaser passed his PEE with flying colors. God knows what we'd find if we did x-rays. He was in work when I bought him, has been in work since, and has never had a problem.
I also think a lot depends on what you want to do with him, and if you'd be upping his workload or not.
As a vet I feel like I need to respond to this thread. Radiographs are by no means the best way to diagnose a lameness. The best was to diagnose a lameness is with a physical exam, and that includes flexion tests. Flexion tests not only "test" the joints but also the associated soft tissue. X-rays very often do not correlate with the clinical degree of lameness that a horse is exhibiting.
That being said, sure a horse that fails a flexion could be sound enough for its job. But personally, I would buy a horse with good flexions and bad X-rays over the opposite combination any day.
If you like the horse, have your vet examine it. And no, we do not try to make something wrong with a prepurchase just to cover ourselves. That would be dishonest and unethical. We present the results of the exam on the horse as we see it on that day. It is never a guarantee of the future.
HER, I am totally with you! I stop at bad flexions. Period. And my vet has educated me in this regard. But I am always looking for a horse with an eye toward 1-3 years down the road, and poor flexions are, in our opinion, a poor prognosis.
And I also totally believe that vets are working with the results of the exam on that day, and ultimately we, as consumers, are provided data and we make the decision to purchase or not to purchase. And I have never felt like my vet was trying to "cover himself," although we know each other well, communicate well, and have a great working relationship.
I did, and more than once. What's important is the underlying reason, and whether it's subject to rehabilitation. Admittedly, most of mine are bought and sold as pleasure hacks, not eventers though.
I've bought one. But I went a head with my vet (and the owner's permission) to do a full work up with what was wrong. xrayed and ultrasound. It was a very mild soft tissue injury..nothing to worry about long term. Owner treated, I came back and finished the PPE with full xrays.
Flexions (depending on who do them) just indicate something. I would want my vet to do them and trust their opinion. But I personally wouldn't move forward unless I had more information....not just xrays but potentially ultrasounds.
On second thought, I remember doing this once. Horse had visible scrapes from recent injury. He failed flexion and we came back 6 weeks later and repeated the PPE. We did one ultrasound on one joint, just to make sure. But in this case, there was good reason to believe that there was a temporary injury. I can imagine following up with ultrasound if I was terribly smitten with a prospect.
Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive
I found out some more info on this horse and now I can understand the low price. Need to verify it before I post any of it though.
He's done 18 events but hasn't evented for a year. Never finished a Novice course. Lots of jumping penalties.
Thank you all.
I sold a horse 6 years ago that got something like a 3/5 and 4/5 on flexion tests (hind).
This horse had no problems for the 3 years (got her as a 3 year old) I had her so I was VERY surprised at the flexion tests...... and worried that potential buyer would say no way...
Vet said mare also had bone chip (xrays) in hind ankle....
End of the story is that they bought my horse (for a few thousand less) and still years later NO problems at all....
In some ways its a toss up..... good luck to you!!!