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Did he "fail" the vet check???

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  • #41
    It's the job of people like me to take the horses like this one and get him to the right place. It is hard to see such an athlete compromised at such an early age, but walking away is a little easier if you think of it this way: Most thoroughbreds give at least 200% when they're in race training and will willingly try to give 200% in their next jobs. But is it fair to ask them to do it again when it's going to lead to faster deterioriation of their joints or exascerbate existing conditions? You'd be doing him a favor to walk away and also saving yourself the heartbreak of watching this happen... you'll also save yourself from the utter frustration of having to sit on the sidelines while you regroup and find a good home for him and a new horse for you.

    I don't talk about what I do with the horses I own very often so I doubt if you know where I'm coming from.. I'm at the track often enough to find horses that are not likely to sell even though they're "sound". After x amount of time, when the trainer is desperate to get rid of the horse I'll end up taking him home.

    Once there I want to know what I have in terms of soundness so I give a horse like this at least 6 months off to see what heals and what doesn't. If at the end of that time I have an apparently sound horse I begin riding and retraining it. After about three or four months of retraining I can then determine what problems will be nonissues and what problems will not stand up to training. I had one horse who had terrible looking feet (xrayed), ugly hocks and should not have been sound, but he was and loved his job (he was a case of don't ride the xrays, ride the horse). On the other hand, I have a horse now who I started last summer who had one iffy hock but was a wonderful jumper UNTIL I began schooling stadium above beginner novice. I had injected that hock but within 6 months it became sore anyway. I stopped with him and gave him the winter off hoping the hock would set up. He still looks somewhat sore and now the other hock is showing stiffness. In a few weeks I'll xray him and discuss with my vet the best strategy for him, but in terms of his future job I'm going to make sure he goes to a non/low jumping home. This particular horse gave 500% at the track and it simply isn't fair to ask him to it again. Yes, I could inject his hocks and ask him to carry on, but he's done enough hard work.

    If you do the math on this horse I've spent well over $5000 to figure out he won't be sound for novice level work. (Includes shoes, vet, feed, not my time and committment)

    Taking horses like this is ok for me, but it is very expensive and very time consuming. I'm not particularly competitive but I do love training and I do love ottbs. But at your age going through this would have devastated me. I needed to be on a horse and in action and that's what you need. So don't be too disappointed. Someone will take care of him I hope and in the meantime you can make it your goal to find a sound horse.


    • #42
      I will be vilified for this but when looking at Rescues you always run the risk of this out come..not always but depending on the level you wish to compete and your wallet you just blew a lot of money you could have saved towards a privately for sale horse where they may have a chance to find out if the horse has an issue.


      • #43
        I agree, judybigredpony. You run this risk all the time, but with rescues, the risk is greater.

        FWIW, I would not buy this horse. He sounds lovely, but the risk sounds way too great, given that you aren't looking for a pasture ornament. I know I'm not saying anything more than what others have said. It is hard to walk away, but it is often necessary and the vet check is a great bargain in the larger scheme of things. I hope you find something great, and if I were you, I'd take some deep breaths, and tell yourself that this is going to take a long time. Taking your time, is the biggest gift you can give yourself in searching for a horse. Insisting on a good PPE is the second biggest. Relax, and try to think of this as expensive window shopping! (Expensive because of those pricey PPEs). And if a problem arises during the PPE, stop, and don't spend anymore $$.

        I think someone recommended coming up with a written list of "DO NOT BUYs" before the PPE. Love this idea. You can share it with your vet beforehand so you know you're on the same page...

        Good luck!


        • #44
          Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
          I will be vilified for this but when looking at Rescues you always run the risk of this out come..not always but depending on the level you wish to compete and your wallet you just blew a lot of money you could have saved towards a privately for sale horse where they may have a chance to find out if the horse has an issue.
          No vilifying but I have to admit I was quite surprised at this statement. The organization sounds very close in what they do to CANTER which is often lauded on here...

          Mission statements for both:

          "TROTT (Training Racehorses Off The Track) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing retiring racehorses with opportunities for new careers beyond the track. Through rehabilitation and retraining in our professional facilities, we ensure each horse donated to TROTT has the chance to learn the new skills necessary for life as a pleasure or show horse in a non-racing home."

          "The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER) provides retiring thoroughbred racehorses with opportunities for new careers."
          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


          • #45
            Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
            I will be vilified for this but when looking at Rescues you always run the risk of this out come..not always but depending on the level you wish to compete and your wallet you just blew a lot of money you could have saved towards a privately for sale horse where they may have a chance to find out if the horse has an issue.
            I'm not going to villify you for this at all, but I do want to clarify that I'm not a rescue and also say that many horses who fall in rescues' care are as sound as any horse on the backside. The first two ottbs I had were from rescues and both were sound. They just ended up at a slaughter sale back in the day when that's what happened to a lot of young nice ottbs. I gave both time off, started them and they were fabulous horses. One is now retired and the other is compromised from lyme in her spine, but they came to me as sound horses.

            The horses I take off the track are not rescues. I actually pay for them, although not much if they have lots of races in their history. I know they come with problems and take them home with my eyes wide open, not always knowing what's going to turn up. But I can be pretty certain that with horses who have 30 to 80 starts and have little to no time off there is some healing to do.

            In fact, RMTC has compiled research available through the jockey club showing that just with training there is bone bruising that needs time to heal or it will progress to a degenerative state and eventually lameness. Here's a link to a presentation showing this. http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/re...s/bramlage.pdf

            With year long racing you can be pretty sure that just about any horse off the track will have bone bruising. Hopefully most of these horses will heal once they leave the track simply because they're being used more lightly. I can't remember where I read the amount of time needed to heal but I've found that 6 months gives me a pretty good picture of what's going to heal and what's going to be chronic.

            Before year long racing most horses had 6 months off every year meaning they had the time they needed to heal bone bruising and keep the injury from moving to the next, more serious stage. Now if a horse has 6 months off buyers suspect those 6 months were required for an injury and not just standard good management.

            So I guess my point is no matter who gets the horse off the track, there are issues. Some will heal and some won't and that's why you need to vet the horse you're about to buy regardless of who is selling or adopting the horse out. The OP did the smart thing and had this apparently sound horse vetted.

            Oops, JBRP I see that I misunderstood your post and thought you were referring me as a rescue. So sorry for the confusion
            Last edited by SEPowell; Feb. 25, 2013, 12:17 PM. Reason: clarify my confusion


            • #46
              Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
              I will be vilified for this but when looking at Rescues you always run the risk of this out come..not always but depending on the level you wish to compete and your wallet you just blew a lot of money you could have saved towards a privately for sale horse where they may have a chance to find out if the horse has an issue.
              Explain this to me? How do you know a horse is anymore sound that a horse that is donated to a rescue? I know your model pretty well as a private reseller and many times on here you say that you don't vet what you buy (I don't always vet what I buy as a private reseller either!). Therefore, I am not sure how you as a private reseller, would know any more about what is going to show up on xrays than any rescues do. Sure, we try to buy from people we trust but even they can't tell that a horse may have a hidden chip, old fracture, etc. Many horses look 100% normal from the outside, flex sound and are sound in work but have major findings when xrayed that nobody could have predicted.

              Yes, I work for CANTER MA retraining and reselling but I can tell you that I know those horses pretty darn well because they have been let down and then restarted for several months. That is actually more than most resellers do so if anything I would say rescues tend to know a bit more about the soundness because the horse is in work (at least rescues that are retraining them should). If it even has something funny looking we xray it before we even start the retraining so we know what we are working with ahead of time. It is very rare that we have horses not pass a vet check. Sure, once in a blue moon there is a sound horse that I have been retraining and we find something upon xraying. However, I would say that is going to happen to everybody who sells horses and not just because they are a "rescue."

              I will say it one more time because I feel it needs to be repeated. Most of the time, horses are donated by caring owners at the track to various rescue groups because they know we do a good job ensuring the future of the horses. Oftentimes they do not want to deal with selling to the public via the trainer listings or dealing with private resellers. Just because a horse is donated to a rescue does not mean it has a soundness issue. If anything I think you will find more disclosure on soundness issue from rescue groups than you will any private reseller who's income depends on the sale of horses.


              • #47
                Last edited by Toaster; Mar. 25, 2013, 10:12 AM.


                • #48
                  JLee my model is a bit different in that I buy my horses they are not donated I am for profit and have never ever hide this. I try incredibly hard to only have horses from long sourced relationships and take much less risk. At this point in my life I don't buy from Anyone I have not previously had repeated positive experiences from. I bought 5 horses in the past 3 weeks from 1 single trainer and 4 are sold all vetted out and the 1 I kept I have a PPE baseline on..he passed.
                  My buying guides are very tight in that if there are visible wear and tear to the eye I pass...unless recent radiographs or ultrasounds prove its only visual not joint related. My preference guide is tight ,geldings or colts preferred 3 to 5 15 3 Ny color an occasional 2 yr old if its late fall early winter and a filly if exceptional. I buy what "I Like" since I pay. The study of the form and call upon contacts or direct lines to connections for past history especially where a Gap comes up. I speak with farriers and often the horses current vet. I have on occasion done a PPE baseline of my own of a horse I intend to compete and sell for a premium price.
                  Rescues ...and I do not put C.A.N.T.E.R horses under that umbrella ...frequently are doing just that opening the door to a horse in jeopardy or one who is donated...they are not for profit...That is their mission statement to be a haven sanctuary a Rescue...Not all but a big percentage are the less likely to have more suitability as fully marketable sports horse. Make no mistake a lot of Diamonds have been mined from those facilities. But with the upswing in OTTB popularity savvy trainers are selling their marketable horses or sending them on to be sold by re sellers.
                  You run a greater risk of finding more questionable issues that need addressing just my observation.
                  Certainly no one has a crystal ball or X-ray eyes, but the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don't. I still have a very high degree if horses who pass with clean X-rays scope and ultra sounds at a PPE.....and those who are found to have something not to be acceptable are placed privately in good safe places doing a job that works...less than 2% and I sell 20 to 25 horses a year 90% get vetted at purchase.
                  JLee you have horses that get incredible care, they are let down fat good farrier care and quality evaluations CANTER and Mid Atlantic are Models for premium horsemanship and care before presenting a well evaluated candidate back into the sports horse main stream. You know as much or more about them than their previous connections. This is not always the case and by reading the OP's post it sounds like she did not have the experience your or Bev would have provided.

                  I am not intending to paint all "rescues" with a tarred brush....but when shopping you need to think about what the PPE will cost when to pull the plug and even before you reach that point think about what you REALLY want to do with the horse and then structure your budget and search to match.
                  A lot of people don t want or need anything above season baby novice some recreational dressage lessons and a good trail buddy.
                  But if you really want something more who may take you further than you need to budget if buying from 501C3 sources that have not done entry evaluation of have the horse in a program.....Horse over come over achieve and make liars out of us every day..I stand by you get what you pay for....

                  And to the poster who bought her $800. Heart horse you knew him long enough to have the advantage knowing his soundness and ethics....Kudos to you!!,

                  There are rescues...and there are "RESCUES"


                  • #49
                    FWIW, I was not thinking of CANTER when I made the comment about rescues. The time and resources that are put into their horses, along with the screening, are very extensive.


                    • #50
                      Years ago I fell in love with a horse. I tried her twice & she was perfect undersaddle and in the stable. She was a horse that made jumping a 4'3" feel easy & do so calmly and clean. If I missed a bit, she just jumped higher.

                      She failed vet since she had her suspensory ligaments on both fronts calcifying. I was heart broken, but still passed. I heard she broke down within 12 months & is now a broodmare.
                      Pacific Coast Eventing
                      Standing Yeager GF


                      • #51
                        Yep, he failed, and big. The right front alone (for eventing) would cause me to move on. There are a lot of really nice OTTBs at New Vocations; you might try there. They are honest and forthright about their horses. My vet would have "failed" the horse for eventing based on the one leg that has enough changes to bring injections to mind. Believe me, the last thing you even want to think about with any horse that is jumping any height at all is neuro issues....you want perfect foot placement, and the ability to get himself out of trouble I'm sorry. One thought: you might want to consider looking at horses from a well-known eventing trainer, as the cost of the 4 vet checks you've done has pretty much offset the price differential for a greenie vs. a trained horse. I don't know where you are located, but Gina Miles always has nice horses for moderate prices, and she is very, very nice.


                        • #52

                          I honestly hate the term Pass or Fail, because I want to know why it "passed" or "failed" in the vets mind. My gelding would not have passed the vet for many people. He had some issues with his front legs, that was minor enough for me to take the risk. He has had some soundness issues, but never in the front legs. Just routine hock injection fixes. He has done 60 events at novice/training with a couple of prelims, so I figured he was worth the risk as a wonderful packer.

                          If he had the issues that this horse had, there would be no way I would have taken him home. Run away, this is a money drainer waiting to happen as other have said. I echo all of their sentiments about what a heartbreak it is.

                          Move on and find something that you will actually ride, not watch it be in the paddock all the time.
                          I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                            I had a PPE done yesterday on a horse that I really loved and thought was the one. I know that a PPE is more of a risk analysis than a pass/fail situation. I think the vet got as close to "failing" the horse as possible, but I am still struggling because of all the good money I spent and because I really wanted this to work out. So here's the deal:

                            - Flexed positive in right front.

                            - Radiographs of fetlock revealed moderate arthritis (not unusual for an OTTB, but compared to the radiographs of the left it was significantly worse).

                            - Vet said that in his opinion the horse could use injections now (more $$$) and would probably stop responding to treatment within three years, give or take two on either side.

                            - He also said that the horse should probably only do low level jumping (2ft was the height he threw out). I weigh only 120lbs, but he even suggested to the rescue owner that they look for a very light junior rider.

                            - His back (behind wither and extending back about 8 inches) was very sore when palpated. We didn't even radiograph there because of the red flags on the ankle, so I don't know what's going on but it makes me nervous.

                            - When I asked him to do neorological testing (because my last partner passed away tragically due to neurological stuff), he said he didn't think this horse would be neurological but, of course, he would do it. The horse failed the placement tests (it looked exactly like my last horse's tests, which was horrible to relive). He did not move either foot back to the appropriate location. The vet was really surprised but said the results were a red flag but inconclusive. He said he sometimes sees horses with good balance who fail to move one leg back, but usually both legs back is a bad sign.

                            - I went ahead and radiographed the neck re. the neurological symptoms. I needed to think about whether or not I could live with the ankle, but I knew that neoro stuff is a deal breaker for me. We didn't find anything conclusive, but the vet said that his cord channel width was borderline (again, a red flag but not a sure thing).

                            - When the rescue owner left (suddenly defensive and even a little hostile towards me now, which made things so much worse), the vet said candidly, "If you want to event, I'd probably keep looking."

                            Writing this all down makes it seem pretty clear, but at the same time I know many people who have successfully evented OTTBs with arthritis and other ankle jewelry. My last trainer doesn't even PPE her OTTBs because she just doesn't care to know. I'm sure many of hers would looks worse than him.

                            He's beautiful and sound right now. Should that be enough? Am I being too picky (as aggressively suggested by the owner)? Or do I need to listen to the vet and keep looking? I'm a young adult ammy who can only afford to board one horse, so my financial risk tolerance is pretty low. I also tend to bond deeply with my equine partner. I'm in a low price range ($900 of which I've now spent on a PPE for a horse that might not work out ), so I wonder if this is the best I'll find or if there's something else out there for me.


                            As a side note, I know horse shopping should be exciting, but it just feels expensive and heartbreaking. Really down right now.
                            I haven't read the whole thread, just the OP, but I'm going to just throw out the following for consideration:

                            Years ago when we bought a cheap horse, "we didn't know what we didn't know." Half these tests didn't exist, let alone advanced imaging and "maintenance" by injections. You took a chance on a horse you liked who went "suitably sound for the use intended" on THAT day; if he could do the job there wasn't a lot of crystal-ball gazing from anyone. ANY horse you buy can come home and cast himself in the stall and be put down or crippled tomorrow; owning horses is a gambler's game and always has been.

                            One caveat; be prepared for a revolving door, not the "forever home" mentality for those who don't work out. You're not going to marry them.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                              One thought: you might want to consider looking at horses from a well-known eventing trainer, as the cost of the 4 vet checks you've done has pretty much offset the price differential for a greenie vs. a trained horse.
                              I've only done one PPE. A different poster did four. My PPE was rather expensive, though!


                              • #55
                                Pull the plug sooner next time. I know you're in a bad location but your budget is not atrocious ans you will eventually find what you're looking for. I personally haven't vetted anything and it never really bit me but I am just now preparing to compete and my budget has always been less then yours. In the past I pretty much only had time to do the riding a light riding sound horse could do, so while I didn't get anything with limitations I didn't really care as long as the brain was okay. I also have my own farm so had I had an issue, I could have retired a horse here and have in the past.

                                That being said... I had a horse come back from a lease NQR in the hind and extremely back sore. IMO They really pounded him. I spent thousands rehabbing him until my vet told me to stop. He only ever came back light riding sound and was placed in that sort of home. If I had a horse come up very back sore in an exam I would probably stop and tell the seller I would look again if they got it resolved. It cost me a LOT of money and heart ache to fix up that horse, and I already cared about him. Never buy someone else's problem.
                                Last edited by magicteetango; Feb. 28, 2013, 08:08 AM. Reason: auto correct!


                                • #56
                                  It's a shame that so much showed up in the PPE, but I agree with all the other posters who said to pass. Just too much going on. And I also agree that you may want to decide to pull the plug sooner in the future, it's just too expensive to keep xraying problems. And it's not cheap to keep an unsound retired horse. There's always a risk, but you can start by keeping the odds in your favor!


                                  • #57
                                    Those are some major red flags. I would pass personally. Not to say I wouldn't take a horse with problems, but those particular problems show he's already sore and you are likely to start having issues with him sooner then you think.

                                    If you really wanted to take a chance on him I would recommend turning him out for at least 4-6 months. Let some of that inflammation calm down. No guarantees it is going to help though.


                                    • #58
                                      Words of wisdom that have saved me much grief: When in doubt, don't.

                                      There's just too much doubt surrounding this boy.
                                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.