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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2007
    The secret garden

    Default Old injuries

    I know this has been brought up before in various threads but I haven't been able to find quite what I am looking for. I am considering adopting an OTTB for dressage but I am wondering if I am taking too great of a risk for considering some beautifully moving thoroughbreds that have old injuries. In particular,old bows and fractured sesamoids. How risky is re-injury and/or future maintenance issues for both of these? This horse would hopefully be able to go 3rd/4th. Higher would be great but not really necessary. What questions/pre-purchase work would be really important to ask/have done regarding these prior injuries? Thanks, everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009


    I dont have any input to your question, but three cheers to you for thinking about it. I was the lucky purchaser some years ago of a beautifully trained OTTB (he might have run 2 races....) with nice, big gaits who was doing PSG when I got him. I however, was NOT, and it took 4 years to get me caught up w/ him.

    good luck and I hope it works for you.

    You might want to talk to your vet, or a couple vets to get some opinions in addition to whatever you find here.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2012


    Do you currently have a vet you can trust to do an extensive pre-purchase exam?

    There is always a risk of re-injury, specially because you don't know how the horse's recovery was.

    There are certain injuries that, for me, would cancel the deal... fractures and ligament tears are a "hell no" for me. These things just never get 100% recuperated...

    But as I said, talk to your vet, have the horse x-rayed and possibly have some eco's done on his legs just to make sure. If there was ever a serious injury, the vet will be able to see scar tissue which usually means a high chance of re-injury.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2005


    It probably depends how bad the original injury was, how it was treated, and how the horse recovered. One of my horses has what is technically an old bow, but at the time he bowed it the injury was so small you could feel it but not see it unless you caught it at just the right angle, and he was just a touch off but basically sound on it. Now that it's a year old, you wouldn't even know it's there, and the vet said it should (knock on wood!!!!) never be an issue for him. Ironically, he came off the track with clean legs and vetted 100% perfectly, then he got the bow in turnout a few months after I brought him home. Luckily his was really minor, but I've seen other bows that are pretty scary looking!

    My other horse has an old fractured sesamoid but I can't say how that's effected him as the same fetlock also has a large chip on the front and two screws in it from a cannon bone fracture... considering the extent of the injuries in that leg, he is holding up incredibly well He's 17 now, and we competed at second level about a month ago. But I'll be honest, he's tough to keep sound and although I love him with all my heart and have learned a ton from him, I'd never knowingly do it again unless I had room to spare in a pasture and another horse to ride.

    Your best bet is to have a thorough pre-purchase done so that atleast you know what you're getting into and can make a decision with that information in mind.
    Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
    Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
    My Training Blog:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2007
    The secret garden


    Thanks, everyone. I think a good thing for me would be finding a vet I can trust that will also give me the time of day. Unfortunately, I haven't been too satisfied with the veterinary service my horse has received over the years

    I don't want to write off any horses because of past injuries but I don't want to get in over my head with risk of re-injury either. I would be willing to do a little gambling so I wanted to see what others had to think of the risk factor.

    Also, what are some complications we might face in the future with old sesamoid fractures? I know the deal pretty much with soft tissue. I am definitely going to inquire about how these horses were rehabbed and look over old vet records.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2006

    Default No expert but...

    --Did he get injured while racing?
    --Do you see any issues with his conformation that might predispose him to lower leg injury?
    -- Has he been in any kind of work since rehabbing?
    -- Is he a really big horse or smaller?
    -- Is this the only horse you have to ride?
    -- If the worst case scenario happened what would your options be?

    Hope these questions help. Thoroughbreds are tough guys -- a lady I know trained a horse with two bows up through grand prix -- her first dressage horse -- and when she sold him to an ammie he was still in full work. Hoping that is your future too.
    Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
    Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2009
    The Left Coast


    I bought my horse without a PPE because I considered him a rescue. My vet felt his ankles when he saw him for the first time and told me he had a healed sesamoid fracture and that he would have told me not to buy him.

    He has since eaten his words. He took some radiographs of that ankle just to see what we were dealing with, and said it had healed well and really shouldn't bother him, and in two years, it hasn't.

    My OTTB is the best horse I have ever owned and I am so glad I didn't vet him.

    Every horse is different. Try to have an open mind.
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.

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