A question to all of those wonderful COTHers who have been through this process before - what do you consider necessary to have done on the prepurchase exam for a foxhunter? I am planning to definitely have a physical examination, a complete blood count, fecal and chemistry panel and am specifically wondering what you all would recommend in terms of X-rays? I know this is always somewhat dependent on the horse, but are there any x-rays or specific views of x-rays that would prove extra important for a foxhunter? Any other suggestions I haven't thought of would also be wonderful to hear! Thanks!!!!!
You need to lay eyes on the horse and have pictures made of anything that looks wonky, in addition the front feet and hocks. For instance if the rear toes drag going down a slope you'd probably have a look at the stifles.
Eyes, heart -- definitely.
Flexion tests -- yes.
Fussy xrays? Nahhh. If the horse is doing/has been doing the work (hunting, often, over serious territory behind a serious pack) I'd go with what I see and feel.
Most foxhunters -- old, young -- would have trouble passing an in-depth vetting! (most of the ones I know, anyway!!!)
Fussy bloodwork? Nahhh. Same as above.
Though I suppose all of it depends on how well you know the horse and the seller and the situation.
Definitely valid advice above -- re: dragging toes = stifle etc. But ... .for gosh sakes, I'd be thinking that the dragging toes down a slope would disqualify him before I'd need to be adding $500 worth of xrays to prove it to me!
Skip blood/fecals. If he looks healthy, fat, shiney, then why do them.?! If he has worms then worm him! You should worm him upon arrival anyway!
Xrays depend on breeding/age/history. Ex: young horse? why any needed if he passes flexion test? or ottb? different due to his history. QH? look for navicular due to breed tendency or ANY horse over say 12 likely has SOME kinda xray changes. Horses who've had very physical histories (like jumping/hunting hard vs. lightly) might need it. And if they do have xray changes then check see if it's something you can live with. And use those changes to drive down the price too!!
Really, use a vet you trust and do what they recommend. Also depends on his price and your pockets! Don't spend more on a ppe than you're paying for him!
I once bought a 7 yr old foundation stock style QH who'd been fat & unshod all his life so he had navicular changes (feet like a 15 yr old!) and sidebone. Being large & barefoot contributed to those. I knew I wouldn't be jumping much, keeping him in work etc. Got him half price. He hunted until he was 22 and that was 4 yrs after he lost an eye! Fieldmasters horse after I sold him. See?
Very much depends on the age/experience of the hunter.
I generally do draw blood since once I bought a horse from a friend of a friend, the horse was aced when I tried it and it never did work out. Wish I had known about the ace. The seller thought it was no big deal but I think differently.
I tend to look at the teeth to check for any signs of cribbing.
The thing about testing for drugs is that it gets pricey, at least in our area. I'm not aware of one test that catches all drugs so you test for specific drugs which can be pricey at $60+ a test.
Anymore when I buy a horse I want to know someone in the horse's recent history that will vouch for the horse. That isn't a sure fire promise the horse will work out but it can help weed out some of the BS.
Better than radiographs is being able to ride the horse for a week the way you would hunt him/her. Take out an insurance policy, bring it home on trial and ride it. If it stays sounds and you like the horse, good deal. If it is lame after a 3 mile trot it probably isn't going to hunt very well for you.
Thanks so much for all the advice! She is a horse who has hunted two seasons in the past and the vet did the physical exam today and all looks good (overall, no huge red flags but haven't gone over everything in detail with the vet yet), but just not knowing everything about her history (I do know the seller well and trust them) I am having Xrays done on her front feet and hocks tomorrow.
I have seen her, ridden her three times and I would imagine she would hold up for what I will be using her for.
Thanks so much for all of the valuable input, I really appreciate everything!
Always draw blood. You don't have to have it tested. Have the vet store it for 30 days. If the horse goes lame or crazy after you get him home - THEN have the blood tested for masking substances.
If there is no blood - it's just your word against the sellers.
Basic exam, flexions, - people have different opinions on the radiographs. If a horse is hunting soundly and passes the flexions, the vet may be ok skipping radiographs. Or the vet may want to radiograph a joint that is a bit wonky on the flexion.
Or, the horse may have a condition and the seller releases radiographs to you so that you and your vet can review.
It all depends on what you're spending, how the horse does on flexions, and your personal views on purchases.
But don't skip the blood. Just draw and store it.
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.