honestly...sort of depends on how much I'm spending on the horse.
But in a big TB/WB cross like you are looking at....and assuming since he/she is just backed that they are young....I'd do it all. Front feet, ankles, hocks and knees. I've only done stifles on one horse....but I might do those as well. Just concerned about OCD in the big young guys.....I'm actually less concerned if they have been performing at the level that I'm buying them to compete at. My vet has sometimes done fewer views...
If they do have OCD...is would nec. kill the deal, but I want to know what we are dealing with and whether surgery is an option (would obviously affect price...)
** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **
I recently did a PPE on a horse that had been sucessfully eventing at training. As far as xrays we did hocks and front feet. there was nothing to indicate any other issues so we left it at that. (my vet does do chiro/acupuncture as well, idk how much that would effect xrays, but it did give us some peace of mind as far as neck/back issues! my sister vetted a horse about a year ago w/ a diff vet. all xrays looked good, about 6mos later we discover he has moderate arthritis btwn the 5 and 7th vertebrae in his neck!! and he's only 8, so just goes show theres always room for error!) but good luck, hope this helps some!
I don't do any PPE. I will have my vet come out and do a physical, check eyes, heart and feel the joints for filling. I buy my horses to resell and I have had great luck (knocking on wood). It seems that a PPE starts at around $400 around here w/o x-rays, and my exam costs around $75. I could get on my soap box about how PPE's are worthless and how many 4* horses fail their PPE.... heck, how many horses that have failed a PPE that have gone on to long successful careers in all sorts of disciplines. Not to mention horses that have "passed" just to become unusable only months after their PPE. But I am not going to change the industry nor do I care to.
Quite a few years ago, as a Sr. in High School, my dad and I found a 17+ hand TB/Belgian cross that I loved. 4 years old, just backed. Didn't expect him to flunk. Did the PPE "long distance" (as in we told the vet what we wanted; and horse's owner was there for the PPE).
We said we wanted the basics plus hock Xrays. The vet took those hock Xrays and then based on something she saw when the horse was doing the flexions/jogs also took some photos of the navicular bones in his front feet. (I don't think she made us pay for those films since we didn't ask).
Bone spurs in both of his hocks and navicular changes, and other things such as white line disease made it a "no" for us. The darn horse was only lightly backed and barely W/T under saddle. We just couldn't risk it--it was *all* my savings and my parents were chipping in too.
Granted, 2 years later the darn horse was still going sound, but the risks were just too great for us.
Fast forward to me, now, just PPEd a horse in November. He was going above the level I intend to compete at, and we had his entire history to go over including past films (mild arthritis in Lt hock). He flexed perfectly and we only re did the film of the one hock that had a previous view. No changes in 3 years to that hock. We bought the horse. The PPE was close to $500. I shudder to think of what it would have been if we'd Xrayed everything.
So different ways of looking at it, I guess.... but since he's young and has not competed, I'd do more rather than less, I think.
I had the same exp. as you RegentLion - vetted a 4 yr old long distance who flunked with moderate OCD in the hocks IIRC, and he was barely broke. $1100 well spent, since I did not end up with a lifetime paying for the care of a potentially unrideable horse!
I also PPE'd a 3 yr old TB off the track who had a spur on her ankle.
I cannot afford to keep multiple unsound horses because I don't have my own land, simple as that!
On my newest horse the owner already had stifle and hock films done, so we had her ankles and feet done. 4 films in all- 2 on each leg. She is a big ISH so we wanted to make sure everything was okay. It came out around $350, definitely worth it.