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Horse Buying: Conformation & Vices

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  • Horse Buying: Conformation & Vices

    I'm shopping for an event prospect, but my budget is rather tight ($3500). Something that came randomly across my radar is a 4y/o OTTB filly. She was picked up at an auction and the seller is willing to give her to me for $500 (long story, but not super questionable). I went to see her only because she is ten minutes from my work. I totally expected to write her off, but thought that it never hurts to be open-minded.

    She is a GORGEOUS mover! I've been looking at horses listed up to $5k and nothing I've seen has the movement she does. She has massive suspension, a huge overstep, floaty gaits, incredible balance, pushes (rather than pulls) herself from behind, and rocks back on her hind-end with each step.

    However, she is slightly over at one knee. Not sure if straight legs are a deal breaker for me. Also, she cribs and weaves (mildly on both, but who knows how they will progress). I have one friend who thinks she's so talented that those vices won't matter (in terms of resale value). I tend to disagree.

    I went back to see her a second time and rode her. I left with a silly grin on my face. She is forward, but not hot. She's sensible and sweet and SMART. She takes leg and contact but is sensitive and responsive. She wants to please. Just a FUN FUN ride!

    However, I am not in a place to take huge risks right now. I lost my heart horse and eventing partner to tragic and unexpected circumstances (although I PPEd him and he passed with flying colors and died less than two years later). I know that horses are always a risk, but I want to minimize it as much as possible by starting with something sound, young, and well-built. I already did a costly PPE on a horse that failed. If I PPE her and she fails too, I will have to really lower my budget if I want to continue shopping right now.

    Thoughts? Thanks again for all the help in the horse shopping department.

  • #2
    Ugh. Weaving. I know there are people who say "I'll NEVER own a cribber!" but I'd rather have a cribber than a weaver.

    If you're looking for a resale project, one that cribs AND weaves is going to have a very, very narrow market, even if she is fabulous.

    And over in one knee? How does that foot look? Are you sure she's actually over in the knee and not heel sore?

    She sounds very nice, and it's important to have a horse that you really enjoy riding, but there is a LOT in the "con" column here...

    Comment


    • #3
      Conformation: As a general rule, I am wary of a lack of symmetry. Legs, muscling, whatever. If one is wonky and the other is not, proceed with caution.

      Vices:

      Cribbing is a deal breaker for some, not for others. I don't care, because I have mostly electric fencing and will take the time to put a collar on in the stall. But I know people who wouldn't touch a cribber with a ten foot pole.

      Weaving: Unless I could leave the horse out 24/7, I would not take on a weaver. Had two at the TB barn I worked at for several years, and they drove everyone insane. All the horses were annoyed by the constant noise and movement, and all the people were annoyed by the noise and the mess in the stalls. One you could tie up, and she would immediately calm and cock a leg. The other, even if tied, would weave the amount she could. Both were 100% fine when turned out, but that is not always an option depending on where you live. It is a HARD resell point, I think. It's also just plain hard on their bodies, that sort of constant, repetitive action. It also indicates a stressed horse, which can lead to ulcers/etc.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Simkie View Post
        Ugh. Weaving. I know there are people who say "I'll NEVER own a cribber!" but I'd rather have a cribber than a weaver.
        Either/or are deal-breakers for me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Will not buy a cribber or a weaver nor will I have either in my barn. If you are thinking resale both points make her much less attractive.
          www.rockhillfarm.net

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          • #6
            I hate weavers. I will deal with cribbers, have in the past and have had no issues. Weaving equals no sale any day of the week.

            Over the knee is an issue, bit I have had two horses over the knee and both have raced and then evented into their late teens (19/17) at training level. They went to BN/N with their next riders and have stayed sound *knock wood*

            I guess I would be more worried about the weaving then anything and that is going to hurt resale.
            I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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            • #7
              Just putting this out there as food for thought.
              A horse I had was a weaver when I bought him. After having him at our barn for about 6 months, he was a completely different horse & stopped weaving. Granted he was turned out in a large field with other horses, but he was stalled daily during the buggy season(he would RUN from the bugs).
              So maybe she just needs different managing?

              Comment


              • #8
                I own a mild cribber, so that wouldn't deter me, but I, too would not knowingly purchase a weaver. They can drive you nuts! Plus they put wear and tear on their legs. The barn I board at has had several horses come for training who were weavers and it's maddening. Some would weave even in all day turnout. My BO owned one once that was a pretty decent local show horse; they would hobble her in the stall at shows so she wouldn't weave there.

                As mommy peanut points out, the amount of weaving could change drastically with management, but I'd want to know that, i.e. see your friend make management changes, before I purchased.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I hate weaving, I really do. But if she is "it" it wouldn't stop me even combined with the cribbing. Over on one knee bothers me more but could be a non issue. However I would never buy a horse for resale with issues. Yes if she is that nice and develops a good show record someone will probably be interested but I would buy her thinking I was keeping her.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For a resale project those vices will hurt a lot (esp as a combo, as they will suggest neurotic to many). But if your main goal is not resale, the cheap price might balance the risk. Cribbers/weavers do sell, I sold one this fall, but the price has to entice people.

                    Over at the knee is not usually a big deal, but just 1 leg is unusual. Are her actual legs different shapes? Or is it possible her feet are trimmed unevenly, or there is something going on with 1 knee making her hold it a little differently?

                    At that cheap a price I wouldn't let resale down the road be your main deciding factor (unless this is a resale purchase) but I would want to pursue the asymmetrical legs and make sure there isn't more going on there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It sound like you really like her. I would not let the vices stop me and have her vetted. Just keep her out as much as possible.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        None of those are deal breakers for me. Over at the knee generally isn't a problem. I'd discuss the particular horse with my vet at the PPE (at the very beginning).

                        Mild cribbing and weaving for a horse just off the track...wouldn't bother me at all. Cribbing can easily be controlled. I've had a couple of weavers...one pretty bad when she is nervous. Both got significantly better to the point that the weaving was gone pretty easily. It is back in my mare now that she has been on stall rest for almost 6 months...but just mildly and only at feeding time or when she sees me and and I don't go talk to her quick enough. So totally understandable in my book. But only if if either vice was severe would I worry about it affecting her performance career. I would be expecting to treat her aggressively for ulcers....again, not something that bothers me.

                        ETA: I would have the vet examine the leg that she is over at the knee first (especially the foot) and end the PPE early if we found anything too troubling.
                        Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 27, 2013, 09:01 AM.
                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                        • #13
                          Are you intending to flip this horse around and try for a profit? Or is this a horse for you?

                          That being said, as someone else said, weaving may go away with a better, low stress, living situation. With good turnout and ulcer treatment, weaving will go away. Cribbing may not fade but, again, more turnout and a cribbing collar can manage that and won't be too much of a turnoff. As for the knee, get a PPE and see what the vet says.
                          "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

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                          • #14
                            Typically, if they are over in the knee, it is both knees. Over in the knees doesn't bother me as much as back in the knees. You have to decide if you can live with the vices--I had a horse that cribbed and weaved--she divided her time during the day between the two vices. I was able to live with it. I currently have a cribber in my barn, controlled with a collar, and two mild weavers. The weavers bother me less than the cribber, but the horses do their jobs for me, so I can put up with the cribbing and weaving.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with Bornfreenowexpensive and Kcmel. I don't care about cribbing and weaving because I do all I can to keep my horses living in out sheds; better for their lungs and better for their minds and much better for the amount of work I have to do.

                              Over at one knee doesn't bother me either. But, have a vet look at her and make sure that's what it is. I suspect it is if she is a nice mover. It's not likely she would move as you've described if there were some problem in the leg.

                              It might be prudent to look around to see if you can find a farm where she can spend 99% of her time outside, or pasture board her. I've heard that some stables won't take cribbers or weavers.

                              One last thought. I posted a horse on Fingerlakes Trainers' List who was over at one knee. Since I had only seen horses over at both knees I didn't know what it was until the person who bought him had a vet look at him. He was a good race horse and never suffered any negative consequences from it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I try not to buy cribbers as resale projects because it does narrow your pool of potential buyers. I have always had personal horses that were cribbers and it doesn't bother me. My farm is set up to handle cribbers and I guess because I grew up owning a cribber it just doesn't seem like a big deal. However, many boarding barns won't take cribbers so that becomes a very big deal for other people.

                                Weaving- for a horse off the track I wouldn't be super concerned because many times that does go away with let down and time to just chill out. However, you can't bank on it going away because sometimes it doesn't. I had a lovely horse that I brought along for CANTER that was a stall walker and it took a long time to get him sold because it had to be the right situation almost a person who had their own barn or was going to do a field board situation. Didn't bother me because my stalls open right to the fields to be used as run-in for the horses that need that but when I did have to contain him for any reason it drove me NUTS. He was a damn good horse though so I would have lived with it if he was mine.

                                I would say that cribbing, weaving, over at the knee and being a mare do all detract from sales value. Depends on how long you plan on keeping her and what kind of profit you want to make. Those are all decisions that I factor in when buying a horse. In three months, she could be worth $5k and that would be profit while still making her affordable enough that people could live with the vices.
                                http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Well my Rock Hard Ten guy is a mild weaver and both Blue and Artax crib...and for athletic talent they got in the 10+ line so I over look it.

                                  Some of the most talented exceptional sports horses crib seems to go with OCD types...
                                  For quick re-sales yup its tough unless the horse brings it all and dessert to the table, sounds like this filly night.
                                  As long as the cribbing and weaving are mild and don't stop her from eating!!!

                                  Over at knee's seems to be an almost desired trait for jumpers and they look to be lovely movers..and only in one leg does not mean squat. I sold a Fab Filly to a very BNT who made her up and re-sold for big$$ as an advanced prospect so its not a deal breaker. Just get her PPE do the rads on knees not just feet n ankles, have her bite i.e. teeth checked and get a crib strap on her so she does not get an ugly throat latch....we want pictures!!! n video

                                  If she stall walked then I would have said NO.....

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with this. I own an OTTB that's a cribber and weaver.

                                    He lives out 24/7. That and the tincture of time has reduced his OCD behavior considerably. BUT, in a regular commercial boarding situation, he might not have settled so well.

                                    I have another OTTB that I'm fostering for CANTER. He weaves around feeding time but is fine most of the rest of the day.

                                    I would not buy a horse with a behavior I couldn't live with. Then if it goes away, it's a bonus.

                                    Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                                    I try not to buy cribbers as resale projects because it does narrow your pool of potential buyers. I have always had personal horses that were cribbers and it doesn't bother me. My farm is set up to handle cribbers and I guess because I grew up owning a cribber it just doesn't seem like a big deal. However, many boarding barns won't take cribbers so that becomes a very big deal for other people.

                                    Weaving- for a horse off the track I wouldn't be super concerned because many times that does go away with let down and time to just chill out. However, you can't bank on it going away because sometimes it doesn't. I had a lovely horse that I brought along for CANTER that was a stall walker and it took a long time to get him sold because it had to be the right situation almost a person who had their own barn or was going to do a field board situation. Didn't bother me because my stalls open right to the fields to be used as run-in for the horses that need that but when I did have to contain him for any reason it drove me NUTS. He was a damn good horse though so I would have lived with it if he was mine.

                                    I would say that cribbing, weaving, over at the knee and being a mare do all detract from sales value. Depends on how long you plan on keeping her and what kind of profit you want to make. Those are all decisions that I factor in when buying a horse. In three months, she could be worth $5k and that would be profit while still making her affordable enough that people could live with the vices.
                                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with what JBRP, JLeegriffith, BFNE, and Kmel have all said. Yes, the cribbing and weaving might make her a bit harder as a resale horse, but if she's talented enough and well-trained enough, everything is saleable. The weaving might go away. And if it doesn't, it really isn't the big deal that a lot of people make it out to be, unless they are doing it to the extent that they don't eat. I've had several racetrack vets tell me that a lot of times, weavers are some of the sounder horses at the track, cause they are constantly loading/unloading their feet. It's keeps the blood circulating in the feet and simulates the exercise they would get if they were turned out, so in a 24/7 stalled racehorse, not necessarily a bad thing. I will say, I once had a 12 year old race horse (STILL racing) that was an absolutely amazing weaver. He was one of the soundest, gamest horses I've ever had.

                                      Sheila

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                                      • #20
                                        Over at the knee doesn't bother me. Cribbing and weaving don't bother me . . . much. My horses live out 24/7 and I've never had a weaver or a cribber, but if they did that at shows it would probably bug me somewhat. Not enough to deter me from buying a horse, however, all things being equal.
                                        Click here before you buy.

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