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Bowed tendons?

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  • Bowed tendons?

    Still looking around for a horse to buy, and I've ran into a bunch that have had bowed tendons. Usually the bows are at least a year old.
    I've never had any experience with horses with bowed tendons, so I don't know anything about them.
    I plan to buy an OTTB or warmblood (probably OTTB) around the age of 4 - 8. I'd like to start at BN and work our way up.
    If you were me, would you buy a horse that has had a bowed tendon before? If a horse has had one, will he be more likely to get one again? How much will it affect his soundness? Soundness is very important to me. But if a bow is completely fine once it heals, then I will still consider buying him, as long as everything else is right.

  • #2
    hell in the old days most horses in the show ring had old bows! And they jumped just fine. I think as long as it is old, cold, and set, most are ok. I believe if it is a high bow, those are preferred over a low bow. But I would have a vet check it out and possibly ultrasound it if you can just to be on the safe side. I personally would avoid a bow if I had the choice, but then again my OTTB has an osselet and apparently had a bow but you cannot see it at all, so it was very minor.


    • #3
      I have a 20 year old thoroughbred gelding with an old bowed tendon. It hasn't ever caused a problem in all the years I have owned him. I would definitly get a vet check but wouldn't completely pass on a horse with and old bow.


      • #4
        It is certainly an increased risk because some do not ever really heal right but for every one that isn't right after a bow there are at least as many who come back fine with proper care and plenty of rest (and luck).

        ETA: I think that the better "bet" is to find a horse who has bowed but has been properly rehabbed and has come back into competitive work for at least a year without any soundness issues associated with the old bow. That is a fairly good indicator. Buying a horse who bowed only a year ago is a much riskier endeavor because many horses with a bow need a large part of a year off or recouping so a horse in that scenario has likely done little post-injury to indicate propensity to stay sound in the future. Of course, there a a LOT of variables here (severity and type of bow, treatment, etc. etc.).
        "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


        • #5
          Originally posted by SeeTheCityLights View Post
          Still looking around for a horse to buy, and I've ran into a bunch that have had bowed tendons. Usually the bows are at least a year old.
          I've never had any experience with horses with bowed tendons, so I don't know anything about them.
          I plan to buy an OTTB or warmblood (probably OTTB) around the age of 4 - 8. I'd like to start at BN and work our way up.
          If you were me, would you buy a horse that has had a bowed tendon before? If a horse has had one, will he be more likely to get one again? How much will it affect his soundness? Soundness is very important to me. But if a bow is completely fine once it heals, then I will still consider buying him, as long as everything else is right.
          No one can make you this guarantee. If soundness is very important to you, then start with a horse who hasn't already developed a structural unsoundness by bowing a tendon.

          I've owned two with bows. Both were cheap or free, thanks in large part to those bows, so I understand why it tempts you. One timber raced on it then took me through preliminary in eventing. The other took me through advanced. Neither ever had a problem, and there are many other people on these board with the same story. There are just as many people, if not more, who will tell you from experience that a bowed tendon will break your heart.

          I probably wouldn't worry about a bow in a horse who had already competed on it and proved its soundness through the level I wanted to go. But if you plan to start at BN and work your way up with a young horse, who hasn't proved it won't rebow once the work gets harder, then it's a big gamble.
          I evented just for the Halibut.


          • #6
            who will tell you from experience that a bowed tendon will break your heart.
            Been there, done that, have a few t-shirts to prove it. They can be extremely frustrating and heart breaking.

            Honestly, for what you are looking for, why not start with as clean a slate as possible? I would be more willing to forgive an old bow on a horse that had a good career post injury. But for a young horse, I don't think I would be comfortable taking the risk.

            If you DO decide to go that route, I would STRONGLY encourage ultra sounding the horse's legs in a PPE. It will be an added expense, but a US can tell you a lot about how well the tendon has healed and IF it has healed (especially important with OTTBs, who may not necessarily get enough time to heal up).


            • #7
              Crossing over from h/j land.. I have an OTTB who shows in the 1.50m GP classes and has an old bow. By the time I got her, it was set and as far as I can tell by talking to people who had her before I did, the only time it bothered her was when the injury initially happened (while she was on the track).

              I would get that tendon checked pretty carefully, but I wouldn't walk away from the horse solely based on that as long as the horse is sound and has been for some time.
              Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


              • #8
                My new OTTB guy has a low bow which my vet said not to worry about since it had almost 3 years to heal. (someone I know got him from an auction then just let him sit in a field) So far so good although we really haven't started hard core training yet. I will be aiming him towards Jumpers and Eventing.


                • #9
                  If you are looking at OTTBs with fairly new bows (about a year old), I would turn the other way. I would not a get a horse with an old bow if they haven't done anything after the fact (to show they have been sound on it), because chances are that they could do it again or that is hasn't healed all the way. Bows take a long time to heal, and they must be healed correctly. Horses with bows also must be legged up very easily, to make sure it doesn't happen again. You are also looking at young horses that haven't done anything other than race, and eventing is physically demanding, especially as you move up the levels.

                  That being said, I bought a horse that was in her mid teens that had a very old bow. She was going Training and moving up to Prelim, and had been sound on it for years. I would only buy a horse that was proven to be sound on an old bow.


                  • #10
                    sent you a pm

                    ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"