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Horse purchase saga - would you trial lease or walk?

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    Original Poster

    #41
    Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    Others have been kind. I think you are being asked to let trouble come sit at your dining room table. You should r un from this one.

    If insurance is a worry, OP, just know that you are going to have serious exclusions on your MM. Sounds like 3 out of 4 legs have issues. You may be able to get coverage but I think the exclusions will make it worthless.

    If the issue is that you might have to travel to see a horse., then you are letting convenience cloud your judgment, There is a great deal that you can do to preview horses that are not next door. If you do your homework, it will not be a waste of time. I would never let the owner's comment about sending the horse to a sales barn trouble me. Good for her! Maybe someone will buy him, but maybe he will stay there for a while. It's not your problem.

    You are dodging a bullet if you walk form this horse. Seriously. And I sell horses on a regular basis.
    Hadn't even been thinking about insurance TBH. The leasee did insure him herself for $15K. Not sure where you're getting 3 legs, though...It's mostly the one hind that is the question mark.

    Didn't say we wouldn't travel to see a horse. We just couldn't for awhile because of a personal matter we had to tend to and COVID restrictions. I know there are ways to do things virtually, but honestly our comfort level is to be able to sit on the horse more than once and get someone's opinion whom we trust to ideally be there to see the horse in person. I'm sure it works for some people, but we've heard some nightmare stories from others, too.

    The fact that she wants to send him to a sale barn doesn't bother me. It's only the fact that once he gets there, I don't know if it would complicate things if we went through with a purchase (which at this point is probably a long shot). I don't know how contracts with sales barns work--maybe it doesn't matter if the seller manages to find her own buyer.

    Comment


      #42
      I haven’t read all the replies. OP, this horse is lame. It may be an easy fix, it may be a difficult fix, or it may not be fixable, but the bottom line is that the horse is lame. Buying a lame horse is a gamble that only you can decide to take. If it were me, I would walk- I don’t borrow (or buy) trouble without a darn good reason.

      IMO, also, it is the seller’s job to get a horse sound prior to selling if it has special needs, not the buyer’s. It is also the seller’s responsibility to do further diagnostics on a horse that came up lame in a vetting. It’s unfortunate that the seller doesn’t care to do these things, but that’s their choice.

      Comment


        #43
        Run don’t walk
        too many red flags. Best said by other poster is that this is an undiagnosed issue vs a diagnosed issue that can be managed.

        Comment


          #44
          Walk away. There is absolutely no guarantee that the owner won't just keep your money, figuring you'll opt for the road of least resistance. The horse you see right now, today, is the horse you would be buying. And that horse is lame.

          Keep looking.
          Sheilah

          Comment


            #45
            Walk!!
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

            Comment


              #46
              I will be the contrarian.
              ​​​​​​If there are aspects of this horse you like ... his temperament, athleticism, training ... I don't see a big risk in taking him for an open ended lease, meaning you can return him with reasonable notice.
              If his lameness turns out to just be from going barefoot, that ought to resolve fairly quickly. If his lameness persists, then it would be up to you what, if anything, you might want to pursue.
              I would negotiate a low price option to buy. With a written and notarized contract.
              The 20 minute warm-up doesn't bother me. Maybe the lease rider needs 20 minutes to warm him up, and he might change with a rider with more finesse. Or maybe he is one that takes awhile to mentally get going.

              Comment


                #47
                Horses are enough of a problem even when they are sound and healthy. There is zero reason to even consider buying a horse with this much ???? going on. There are a zillion other horses out there who are sound.

                Pass. Times 100. Then times 100 again.

                Comment


                  #48
                  Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
                  And the vet that was willing to give a conditional go-ahead, the "if the horse is sound later if it gets shoes if if if ..."? Don't call that vet ever again. Especially not for a PPE. Is this PPE vet going to pick up the bill if the horse comes up with all kinds of come-and-go lamenesses for the next few years?
                  I had sort of skimmed by this in the OP, but this is a great point.

                  I once vetted a horse using a very trusted vet. The horse looked great, but flexed off. Vet suspected that it was a skin issue that looked to have developed recently and recommended proceeding to radiographs anyway. As I trusted the vet, we did - radiographs came back flawlessly, and the vet proceeded to fail the horse. As he should have. The vet didn't pass the horse (conditionally or otherwise) because he thought it was a skin issue that would easily resolve - he failed the horse because he thought it was a skin issue that would easily resolve, but could not be sure.

                  Fortunately, we were dealing with a conscientious owner in this case, so the PPE vet was asked to treat (seller claimed the condition had just arisen, and given surrounding circumstances I believe them), the mare was shipped to the PPE vet facility at the seller's expense following treatment, the horse was re-flexed and was then passed. At that point, I bought her, she came home with me, and that issue has never been a problem again. But to IronwoodFarm's point, the issue is now excluded from my MM insurance as it was an issue identified during the PPE.

                  Comment


                    #49
                    Originally posted by HJdaydream View Post
                    Tell the owner she can call you when he's sound- otherwise keep looking. So many things can go wrong with a horse that passes a PPE with flying colors that I would never want to start with one that is already unsound.
                    Exactly. I was looking at a nice young horse who sustained an injury. My vet told me to have the owner call me when she was sound. This poor horse needs some care, but if the owner wants to sell him, she needs to figure out what's wrong and address it on her nickel.

                    ETA: I read through the whole thread and saw that the price for this horse is $8K. No way should you pay anywhere near that for a horse that has been consistently unsound. If you really, really like the horse and the shoes seem to fix the problem, take the horse for a 2-week or 1-month trial. Insure it and see if it holds up to work. Pay a nominal fee that would be subtracted from a purchase price that is consistent with the horse's soundness. IMO, they are closing in on having to give the horse away and should jump at a $2K purchase price that takes it off their payroll. Of course, people get very attached to the idea that a horse is "worth" a certain amount, and sometimes they don't understand that every month they are paying $$ for a horse they can't ride.

                    As for TBs and feet . . . yes, it's very hard to keep one sound without shoes. It *might* be the issue, but you won't know until the horse is sound and stays sound. My OTTB does best in Glue-on Shoes, so keep that in mind when thinking of the longterm costs of owning this horse. Glue-ons solve the problem of the shoes coming off, but they are wicked expensive.
                    Last edited by Bogie; Jul. 6, 2020, 11:48 AM.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                    Comment


                      #50
                      OP I went through a very similar situation a few years ago. I vetted a really sweet 2yo filly that wasn't 100% sound barefoot (she was out in pasture and not being worked when I looked at her, so no need for shoes). The vet said it would most likely be resolved with shoes. Luckily, the seller was willing to put shoes on her, and it helped the front end lameness, but then she was lame behind. She turned out to have OCD in her stifle so I passed.

                      Granted, it was a much younger horse (and at a lower pricepoint) but pretty much the same thing you're experiencing right now. One of the other posters may be on to something when they said that maybe the seller was keeping the horse barefoot to mask other soundness issues.

                      It sounds like you really like him and want things to work out. I went through the same thing with the filly I vetted. Eventually I plucked up the courage to pass on her. It was hard (I cried!) but now I have my current horse, who is truly amazing.

                      I get what you're saying about taking him on lease being a low-risk move, but honestly I wouldn't even do that. The fact that he's had this much trouble now doesn't bode well for his future soundness, even if he does come sound now. There are other horses out there.

                      Comment


                        #51
                        While I agree with all the caution people have sited, compromise is part of any purchase. So, the question for me is - why do you want to purchase him?

                        When I was breeding my horse, my trainer asked me if I would be happy with a clone of my mare. While you always hope for an improvement on the next generation, anything is possible. So, would I be happy with a nutty, athletically somewhat limited horse (she could jump 3'6" but topped out at Training because Prelim height was a max for her so could be an issue on XC, she also was correct in dressage but not fancy). I am extraordinarily pleased with the product - much more sane, much more athletic, loved by all - BUT I would have been happy with the clone.

                        So, the question is, what other aspects attract you to him? Is his personality enough that if his soundness limits him you would still be happy to see him? How fixed are you with your goals, are you willing to adjust if he is not adjustable? This could be anything from soundness to personality (you say he hasn't been off the farm in a while, he may have a meltdown when travelling).

                        I will give you a few examples of pro/con (these are all horses I currently ride, gender is not a factor for me so I am leaving that out).

                        Horse 1 - needs a dominate personality and I don't have one so it is a challenge and a bit exhausting for me to ride, though horse has gotten much better now than when we first started about a month ago and overall better than when I was riding it last fall (that was a disaster!) Horse also tends towards being stiff so is hard to get going well and a bit on the lazy side. Were I looking to purchase, I would walk away

                        Horse 2 - cute, friendly aiming to please but has some unresolved issues and doesn't currently like contact and has jumping issues so is only going over cross rails. There is hope there as horse is better than when first started riding a month ago. Also, very friendly, walks up to me in the field, great on trails. If my options were limited I wouldn't mind not making my Training level goals because horse is otherwise a fun horse and is a tryer.

                        Horse 3 - big, bold, beautiful. BIG, powerful gaits, naturally balanced, and flashy. Even though horse is big (biggest one on the list), easy to bring into the bridle. Not spooky but dropped me off what horse considered a small spook but feels like you are hitting the rafters when horse jumped. Plus side, horse was very apologetic and much more careful with gaits when I got back on and the next day. Could easily do what I want. Horse would definitely be on my list if I was looking for a horse.

                        Horse 4 - I swear has eyesight issues. Cute, nice size for me, balanced, not hard to get into the bridle. Likes contact, especially when worried and prefers a more confident ride. I prefer no contact and a horse more willing to take charge but not insurmountable issue. Good on trails, bit older for green but very sound. Would be on the list if looking for a horse.

                        Horse 5 - Gangly teen with ADHD, just all over the place, a bit looky but not really spooky. Young and unbalanced but cute and friendly. Would consider.

                        My first choice would be Horse 3 - really just checks all the boxes for me - personality, ability, soundness. Horse 4 and 5 would be next on the list, nice personalities, should be able to do what I want. Horse 5 edges out 4 due to being less anxious about leaving friends and less sassy if not ridden in a while. Horse 2 I wouldn't mind having. If horse 3, 4, and 5 were not available and I settled for 2 and turned out 2 couldn't overcome issues, I would still have fun riding that horse around. Horse 1 I *may* be tempted to buy if I had a really limited pool but if I were honest with myself, I would never like that horse. if horse 2, 3, 4, or 5 ended up as athletic duds or had career ending injuries, I wouldn't mind seeing them in a field every day. Horse 1, meh.

                        So, ask yourself - what do you really like about this horse? Would you be content if it ended up topping out at beginner novice or as a pasture ornament? How much are you settling because the pool seems limited?

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #52
                          Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                          I will be the contrarian.
                          ​​​​​​If there are aspects of this horse you like ... his temperament, athleticism, training ... I don't see a big risk in taking him for an open ended lease, meaning you can return him with reasonable notice.
                          If his lameness turns out to just be from going barefoot, that ought to resolve fairly quickly. If his lameness persists, then it would be up to you what, if anything, you might want to pursue.
                          I would negotiate a low price option to buy. With a written and notarized contract.
                          The 20 minute warm-up doesn't bother me. Maybe the lease rider needs 20 minutes to warm him up, and he might change with a rider with more finesse. Or maybe he is one that takes awhile to mentally get going.
                          Thanks for the input. While I'm definitely starting to lean toward passing based on most comments, there are still a lot of things we like about this horse that we haven't seen in other prospects so far.

                          What makes me hesitate to completely write him off is the fact that we've seen and ridden him 3 other times over a spread out period from Feb-July and it wasn't until the past 1.5 weeks that the lameness came up, and we know it's at least partially attributed to being barefoot. I know people are cautioning that if the horse comes up lame in a PPE then one should walk, but doesn't that kind of depend on circumstances and sometimes just bad timing?

                          For example, over the last 2 months both my and my husband's horse came up lame at different times--we assumed likely due to abscesses but didn't know for sure. We treated as such, and after a couple weeks they were completely back to normal. If someone had vetted either of them during those periods, they wouldn't have passed.

                          I recently discovered there are online escrow services you can use to hold money for private transactions until terms are met. If we used a service like that for the lease deposit I'd at least feel more comfortable than handing over a check to the seller.

                          Comment


                            #53
                            A friend was shopping and found a nice morgan gelding, unfortunately, he came up slightly lame in the PPE. It wasn't a huge thing so she decided to take a gamble and give him a go. The seller was willing to do a trial period and would take him back if she passed. Turns out the horse had banged his hip on the way to the PPE and that's why he was off. Friend had him checked a week into the trial and he was good. This was just in the last few weeks, she took him to a derby and came in second. Horse is sound as a dollar.

                            Comment


                              #54
                              Did I miss what the purchase price was..? That factors into my answer.. One thing if this horse is low four figures, another thing if they're expecting 20k.

                              If I were you and I really loved the horse, I would say no to the "trial if you pay purchase price" (I would never agree to that, BTW -- for any horse) and counter with:
                              Hi Owner,
                              I'm interested in Dobbin, but I am concerned about the lameness and how it will impact him going forward. I would like to take him on for a two month trial. I feel that is sufficient time for us to figure out if his lameness is related to shoes, and also to see if he is a good fit for my program. I am willing to cover his costs/expenses during this trial.
                              I have seen plenty of "not sound in XYZ management" horses become sound in a different regime, but, this is a big gamble and not easy for the boarding owner.. so I would push for a two month trial.. You never know, sometimes people need a horse off of their payroll (even temporarily) and are fine with this arrangement.

                              A horse needing shoes, well, I can't imagine if you have a vet and farrier telling you a horse need shoes, it sounds like the poor thing is struggling without them.. No wonder he's lame.

                              I don't love the "needs 20m to warm up" comment, does that mean he is tight or cold backed? Those can be symptoms that you are dealing with an active injury, so I don't love seeing them in a horse.. but if the horse is stalled or on limited turnout, it is something that can impact how easily a horse moves out in work.

                              FYI, apropos of the "turnout injury" comment --
                              As a general rule, I never believe someone when they say "turnout injury" unless it was an active catastrophic event (like a horse running into a gate, for example). I see a lot of people who just assume a soft tissue injury happened from turnout.. in my experience it happens from the riding.. I see so many people riding NQR horses who then claim that the PSD that popped up a month down the road was a "turnout injury".. Many people genuinely are not good judges of a horse's soundness. So, my next question is (apologies if it was already answered, I didn't see it), what was the actual turnout injury?
                              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                              Comment


                                #55
                                Sorry if I missed this - did you get hoof rads as part of the PPE? Sound over several months and then off shortly after a trim could easily mean a poor trim. Standard farrier view lateral and DP (maybe solar too though I'd start with the others) rads should give you a pretty good idea of whether there is something going on in the hoof and what that might be.

                                Was the horse barefoot in the period of Feb-July that you say he was sound? Or was he taken barefoot recently and then has come up lame? If he was working well barefoot and is lame post-trim, it's possible that the farrier who trimmed him isn't familiar with trimming for BF horses and took away calloused sole that the horse was relying on. If horse was shod and is now unsound while barefoot - he could either have a real issue that was being masked by shoes, or his transition out of shoes may have been poorly managed. Most horses can't go straight from shod to barefoot without interim support of some kind.

                                All told, I would likely pass on a horse with issues that hadn't been pinned down. Known and manageable is one thing, mystery is another, as Ghazzu said.

                                That being said, I have a horse who was essentially written off for a variety of reasons - feet not being one of them. When I went to see him I had a pretty good sense that a significant portion of his problems were coming from badly managed feet, so I took him on and we're about 6 months into foot rehab with very happy results. It's a long process but if you know what you've got and have a good handle on what needs to happen lots of "crappy feet" can make impressive strides! But some really critical caveats: I was looking at a whopping zero dollar purchase price, I had good connections with the owner and a very long trial period, AND I have experience rehabbing hooves.

                                If you find yourself still considering this guy, I'd strongly encourage you to do another PPE, perhaps with a vet specializing in lameness - or prepare to consult with a specialist. Get good rads and understand what you're looking at. If you can't pinpoint the source of the lameness that would be when I'd bow out.

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #56
                                  Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                                  Did I miss what the purchase price was..? That factors into my answer.. One thing if this horse is low four figures, another thing if they're expecting 20k.
                                  We negotiated from $10K to $7500 BEFORE the PPE. I think the agreed price is much more in line given his relative lack of show experience and age.

                                  Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                                  If I were you and I really loved the horse, I would say no to the "trial if you pay purchase price" (I would never agree to that, BTW -- for any horse) and counter with:

                                  I have seen plenty of "not sound in XYZ management" horses become sound in a different regime, but, this is a big gamble and not easy for the boarding owner.. so I would push for a two month trial.. You never know, sometimes people need a horse off of their payroll (even temporarily) and are fine with this arrangement.
                                  We basically offered what you suggested for a lease and she came back with you're welcome to lease him for 1 month plus purchase price deposit (because she's "heard of people taking off with horses," which I find kind of funny considering we've shown ourselves to be more trusted than she has).

                                  Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                                  I don't love the "needs 20m to warm up" comment, does that mean he is tight or cold backed? Those can be symptoms that you are dealing with an active injury, so I don't love seeing them in a horse.. but if the horse is stalled or on limited turnout, it is something that can impact how easily a horse moves out in work.

                                  FYI, apropos of the "turnout injury" comment --
                                  As a general rule, I never believe someone when they say "turnout injury" unless it was an active catastrophic event (like a horse running into a gate, for example). I see a lot of people who just assume a soft tissue injury happened from turnout.. in my experience it happens from the riding.. I see so many people riding NQR horses who then claim that the PSD that popped up a month down the road was a "turnout injury".. Many people genuinely are not good judges of a horse's soundness. So, my next question is (apologies if it was already answered, I didn't see it), what was the actual turnout injury?
                                  The horses are turned out for at least 8 hours a day and they typically go in huge pastures so I don't think stalling is the issue. Interesting point on the soft tissue injury happening during riding. That being said, he did have a cut on the injured leg. Their vet took xrays and ultrasounded a couple times and didn't find any fractures. She suspected it was a bone bruise. Took about 2 months to fully recover.

                                  Comment


                                    #57
                                    Originally posted by jcc813 View Post

                                    Thanks for the input. While I'm definitely starting to lean toward passing based on most comments, there are still a lot of things we like about this horse that we haven't seen in other prospects so far.

                                    What makes me hesitate to completely write him off is the fact that we've seen and ridden him 3 other times over a spread out period from Feb-July and it wasn't until the past 1.5 weeks that the lameness came up, and we know it's at least partially attributed to being barefoot. I know people are cautioning that if the horse comes up lame in a PPE then one should walk, but doesn't that kind of depend on circumstances and sometimes just bad timing?
                                    .........
                                    No.

                                    The poster above who said that the horse you vet today is the horse you are buying is correct. You are guessing, not knowing.

                                    Coulda woulda shoulda. The truth is that no one knows if it is circumstances and bad timing, or something much more.

                                    Clearly you are already very attached to this horse and want to bring it home to keep - but as a sound horse, not as an unsound horse, because you also want to have an exit and send it back if it isn't sound. So you love the horse, but conditionally, and that's important to what you want from the next few years of your riding life.

                                    The escrow thing might be the way to have your cake and eat it too -- or it seems on the front end. But if at the end of the trial period it is still all question marks, you will still be faced with the same decision. It's not enough time to know for sure that everything is resolved.

                                    I think that you don't really know this horse the way you seem to think you do after 4 rides, spaced over a long period. You sound like someone who is ready to get married after just 4 dates. You say the lameness just came up in the last 10 days, but you don't know that, either. Where is your information coming from - is it all from the seller? Just one source?

                                    It's your life, your time on a horse, your games to play, so if you are ok with the level of risk, then of course do as you wish.

                                    But I think those posting here are strongly encouraging you to be more honest with yourself than your posting suggests you are being. OP, you seem to be telling yourself things that are evasive of the truth. You are justifying, rather than deciding on the facts. Just be clear with yourself about the risk you are taking and what your options will be if things go wrong *after* the trial period. Rather than talking yourself into something that isn't justified by plain rational thinking.

                                    Every horse might work out or might not. But the idea is to maximize your chances of being on a sound, useful horse, and minimize your chances of a more problematic future.

                                    Be straight with yourself - are you giving *yourself* the best chance by taking the horse on trial, over a period of time that isn't nearly long enough to know for sure that there aren't lurking soundness issues? You've got a lot of red flags with this one, and instead of saying "I'll take care of him no matter what happens", you are wanting to send him back if he isn't sound -- but you won't know that for sure after just the trial period.

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                                      Original Poster

                                      #58
                                      Originally posted by equinelibrium View Post
                                      OP I went through a very similar situation a few years ago. I vetted a really sweet 2yo filly that wasn't 100% sound barefoot (she was out in pasture and not being worked when I looked at her, so no need for shoes). The vet said it would most likely be resolved with shoes. Luckily, the seller was willing to put shoes on her, and it helped the front end lameness, but then she was lame behind. She turned out to have OCD in her stifle so I passed.

                                      Granted, it was a much younger horse (and at a lower pricepoint) but pretty much the same thing you're experiencing right now. One of the other posters may be on to something when they said that maybe the seller was keeping the horse barefoot to mask other soundness issues.

                                      It sounds like you really like him and want things to work out. I went through the same thing with the filly I vetted. Eventually I plucked up the courage to pass on her. It was hard (I cried!) but now I have my current horse, who is truly amazing.
                                      Thanks for sharing your experience. Definitely can relate on how hard it is to let go, even though you tell yourself you will be objective going into it!

                                      Did you end up paying for a second exam after the filly was shod and that's how you discovered the OCD? Did you ever find out what happened to the horse after you passed?




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                                        #59
                                        Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
                                        Be straight with yourself - are you giving *yourself* the best chance by taking the horse on trial, over a period of time that isn't nearly long enough to know for sure that there aren't lurking soundness issues? You've got a lot of red flags with this one, and instead of saying "I'll take care of him no matter what happens", you are wanting to send him back if he isn't sound -- but you won't know that for sure after just the trial period.
                                        That's a fair enough question to pose.

                                        Most of the info we're getting is from the leasee, some from the trainer, and what's available from the vet records--though the only other lameness exam was after the turnout injury. We haven't received all that much info from the owner. The leasee has been fairly forthcoming and told us about her good and bad experiences, even saying that the owner probably would tell her not to disclose so much. With the recent lameness, though, I feel like we're on different pages. She thinks he's just a little sore from not having shoes and doesn't see much of an issue with the fact that he takes awhile to warm up--that's just "how he is." So I do take her comments on that with a grain of salt and put more weight in what the vets and our trainer tells us.

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                                          #60
                                          Originally posted by jcc813 View Post
                                          We negotiated from $10K to $7500 BEFORE the PPE. I think the agreed price is much more in line given his relative lack of show experience and age.



                                          We basically offered what you suggested for a lease and she came back with you're welcome to lease him for 1 month plus purchase price deposit (because she's "heard of people taking off with horses," which I find kind of funny considering we've shown ourselves to be more trusted than she has).



                                          The horses are turned out for at least 8 hours a day and they typically go in huge pastures so I don't think stalling is the issue. Interesting point on the soft tissue injury happening during riding. That being said, he did have a cut on the injured leg. Their vet took xrays and ultrasounded a couple times and didn't find any fractures. She suspected it was a bone bruise. Took about 2 months to fully recover.
                                          Turnout is an issue if the maximum they are getting is 8. Even an 8 hour minimum is not ideal, and stalling is proven to be detrimental to a horse's soundness that is not on immediate recovery for an injury.

                                          In light of all of what you've shared in the corresponding comments, I agree with others and would pass. $7500 is much too much (MHO) for a horse with a limited show record, unsoundness, and lots of things you would have to unravel before you even get to ride.
                                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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