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Third bad pre-purchase exam. Should I give up or keep going???

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  • #81
    Am I right to guess that you're in the general Oregon area since Heinz helped you find the horse?

    If so, I have a really phenomenal body worker that I rely on heavily with mine who lives part time in Tacoma, WA and part time in Portland with frequent trips to Bend. I don't know if you're anywhere near Portland or Bend, but if you are I would be happy to give you her information. She was the one who told me to buy my TB when he was still on the track and also largely responsible for fixing him.

    PM me if you'd like her info.
    __________________________________
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW

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    • #82
      Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
      I'm in a fairly horsey area, but an $$$ one! I'm near a couple of major tracks, so no shortage of affordable OTTBs, but this is the third one I've tried with a major issue that was reportedly "sound." I'm getting a little gun shy at this point.
      A statement from the owner or trainer that a racehorse is sound means nothing unless you know their level of competence and honesty first-hand. It does NOT mean that they are lying to you - lots of professional trainers, exercise riders, grooms, etc. simply fail to notice mild to moderate lameness. It is important that you not begin with the assumption that a horse is sound just because someone says it is. A much better approach is to filter out the lame ones before you vet them. This requires the services of a very experienced and knowledgeable friend or trainer if you don't have those skills yourself. Does it make horse-shopping more difficult, inconvenient, and expensive than you would like it to be? Yes, certainly. But it is also more likely to pay off in the successful purchase of a sound horse, and on a shorter timeline.
      Last edited by visorvet; Mar. 27, 2013, 07:34 PM. Reason: Spelling

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      • #83
        Have you considered buying a young horse (versus an OTTB) that you bring along with the help of a professional?

        When I went to replace my heart horse who had died, I struggled between getting an OTTB (because I'd ridden many, loved them, and my heart horse had been one) and getting a youngster.

        I thought I was crazy when I bought a weanling! But he was exactly what I wanted (TB cross) and the type that, if he were older and trained, would have been out of my price range. If you think that's crazy, I bought him sight unseen (just had photos from the breeder) and had a basic PPE done (no radiographs for a weanling).

        It has been the best experience of my life...and best investment. He is now 5 and I am having so much fun with him!

        It's a little scary buying a "baby," whether it's a weanling, yearling, 2-year-old, etc, but the nice thing is that you usually don't have all the baggage to deal with that many OTTBs have. As with any horse, ANY thing can happen! But you have a better chance starting out with a clean slate with an unraced youngster.

        I found that investigating the sire and dam lines as well as progeny gave me a good idea about temperament, movement, and soundness. Early handling made the entire process of training rather straightforward, and having good trainers to help me (I never sent him out for training) made the "breaking" process a nonevent.

        Biggest issue is patience...because I didn't get to ride him until he was 2 and a half (and just very lightly)...but you could probably find some nice 2-, 3-, or 4-year-olds that are ready to get started that may be within your price range. I actually found the first few years of minimal riding just as much fun because we had plenty of nonriding adventures--learning to lunge and long line, going to hang out at horse shows, etc.

        Just throwing a different idea out there!

        Also, I'd consider using another veterinarian--I don't get the feeling that the current one is really helping you out much with these exams. It doesn't sound like he's giving you much information to work with.

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        • #84
          Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
          I'm in a fairly horsey area, but an $$$ one! I'm near a couple of major tracks, so no shortage of affordable OTTBs, but this is the third one I've tried with a major issue that was reportedly "sound." I'm getting a little gun shy at this point.
          Except you are calling something a major issue when it may be no issue whatsoever.

          You do not know what is wrong with him. What a lot of have said is that OTTBs will often have initial issues. This why they are cheap. MOST of the issues are fixable with time. BUT don't blow things up. You have a potentially free horse. You do not know what is wrong with his hind end. It may be NO issue at all. He may just need a bit of body work and correction. Or he may not be sound at all...

          To me, you are making any risk out as the worst case. If you like this horse, spend a few months with him and get more information. Yes, this will cost you board. Yes, this will cost you time. But that is why these horses are cheap to begin with. This is a no risk horse in my book. You can take him back if it doesn't work out. But don't work yourself up over something you do not have enough information to make an informed decision. So don't spend a lot of money but give it some time.

          Otherwise....I'd really say do not get a horse. You may be better off finding a nice lease.
          ** 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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          • #85
            FWIW, I bought a mare off the track this summer with a stifle issue. The vet identified it as such and said prognosis was excellent based on radiographs and the ultrasound. There was a slight strain to the MCL.

            Dove was turned out and let down from the end of August to January, when we pulled her out for a recheck. Still considerable effusion in the stifle, although the MCL looked beautiful. The horse was still lame. My vet and I discussed several options and went with IRAP.

            After the course of IRAP (two injections) Dove is sound and in work. The stifle looks wonderful.

            If the vet's gut is that it's a stifle issue, I would ultrasound the joint and see what's going on in there. Right now you have no information and you just can't make an educated decision. If you're going to wait for a horse that vets 100% clean, you're going to be waiting for a LONG time...

            If you do pass on this horse, ask your vet to run you through some very basic lameness "tells." A hip that drops more than the other when the horse is walking away is a pretty HUGE red flag for a lameness in that limb. There are a ton of basic things you can look for that may limit your exposure on the vet check part of the purchasing process.

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            • #86
              The fact he was still lame with the foot block would worry me a lot....enough to take a pass...he has been off the track for a while and if his feet are that bad with going on equi sizer not from standing around in a swamp that's not good.

              With what you have left there is still enough to find a horse...But stop looking at Rescues...buy from a trainer owner re seller but not Rescue this time around...check with the CANTER gals and if you come east there are a lot of us who will,help you...

              Comment


              • #87
                Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                ALL horses are a gamble. They can step in a hole and break their leg. The PPE is just a moment in time and not a guarantee they will stay sound.
                THIS. One of my current OTTB's had a right stifle problem when he came to me- It wasn't evident until we ~cantered~; I could feel an upward rotation in his hip because he wasn't flexing the stifle joint completely. I had the lameness vet come out - he did flexions and so forth; I got on and cantered him, and the prognosis was: "He's off the track. He may work out of it, he may not. We can xray, but the prognosis probably won't change." For this particular horse, once he relaxed and we built up some strength in his hind end, the lameness resolved itself. I didn't do any PPE before I bought him, and I did no x-rays. It is such a crapshoot...

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                • #88
                  Looking up stifle problems without any sort of real diagnosis will make you crazy. Some stifle injuries need consistent work and building up the muscles to correct. I'd get a full exam and really figure out what you're dealing with before freaking out.

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    So I will add my two cents to the pot (not that it is worth the two cents!) and give you my story.

                    I would gamble and go for him. For me (as an adult ammie) a good personality and willingness to work is most of what I look for in a prospect at this point in my life. Having bought numerous horses off the track over my life, most without prepurchases, I agree with those that say a horse is a gamble either way.

                    Needless to say my latest horse (which hopefully will be with me for many years!) I went to see standing in the pasture after he had been away from racing for over a year. He was babysitting the yearling colt for the previous owner. The previous owner and I bonded over horsemanship and I agreed to take him on trial. I fell in love with his "golden retriever" personality and arranged the prepurchase. He has lumps and bumps on his legs from his racing career, including an old low bow. The vet who did the prepurchase was concerned because he still moved short, had limited flexion in his fetlocks, and was 3/5 lame on both hocks. We did digital x-rays and his fetlocks were perfect. After a discussion with two vets it was decided that hock x-rays would not be beneficial at this point. I bought him anyway.

                    After two or three weeks the vet who did the prepurchase was at the barn for another horse and her jaw about hit the ground when she saw the difference in the way he moved. He had just needed a little encouragement to use himself properly. I will say that I was willing to keep him even if he was only a walking trail horse because he is my "therapy" so that did play into my decision.

                    Once I am able to consistently ride I'll put him on adequan but it probably isnt necessary.
                    "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." Mark Twain

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                    • Original Poster

                      #90
                      Several posters are urging me to to freak out or blow things out of proportion or assume the worst. However, the issue here is not that I'm saying he has a debilitating soundnes issue. I truly have no idea. Without a lameness exam, no one does. The issue is deciding whether or not I want to pay to do a lameness exam on someone else's horse or if I should cut my losses, rebuld my savings account, and look again in six months.

                      At this point, since I'm already mostly out of budget, I think I'll hang on to him for a while (with a signed document specifying that I am allowed to return him at any point and locking in a $1 purchase price). I'll let the thrush clear up, have a bodyworker take a look (maybe? might skip right to the exam), and then take him to the hopsital if the issue doesn't seem to be improving. I'll look at it as a fun project and just take it as part of the horse shopping game. If I fix him, I get a kick a** horse. If I can't fix him, I've wasted some time and money (and set myself up for a little more heartcache).

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                      • Original Poster

                        #91
                        I know I'm going to get a dozen different answers on this, but how would you proceed in terms of his work routine? Stall rest (how long)?Hand-walk (how long)? Turn-out? Lounge? Walking under saddle? Light riding?

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                          I know I'm going to get a dozen different answers on this, but how would you proceed in terms of his work routine? Stall rest (how long)?Hand-walk (how long)? Turn-out? Lounge? Walking under saddle? Light riding?
                          Until you have a diagnosis, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to give you a rehab routine.

                          What is right for one issue could be 100% wrong for another.

                          I would not ride or work a horse that's grade three lame without a diagnosis. Period.

                          If you don't want to spend some more $$$ pinning down what's wrong with the horse, I'd say you need to send him back. At least if you want to ride. If you're willing to toss him out in a field for the summer and take a look at what you have in the fall, perhaps you can get away with not doing additional diagnostics...or at least postpone that bill.

                          Were I in your shoes, I'd have the vet ultrasound and/or radiograph the stifle before moving forward. I'd likely start with the ultrasound, just based on my experiences with stifle trouble.

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            Are you in the SF Bay Area? How's the footing in turn-out right now? I ask because I lived there for a while, and my mare pulled a stifle in the gawdawful sticky mud that develops after the winter of constant rain. So the available footing and turnout situation would influence how I'd proceed.

                            In general, for stifles, you want straight lines, and to avoid tight turns and sudden stops or starts.

                            I have entirely forgotten the name of the chiro I used out there. She was a DVM also. I'd encourage you to have a bodyworker out only because if one can find and fix the problem, you've just saved yourself a whole lotta $$ on diagnostics. If not, you're not out very much $. My advice might be different on a high-dollar horse, but I've had great luck with bodyworkers fixing issues that the vets couldn't quite pinpoint.
                            Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!
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                            • Original Poster

                              #94
                              Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                              Until you have a diagnosis, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to give you a rehab routine.

                              What is right for one issue could be 100% wrong for another.
                              If I keep him, I will absolutely do a lameness exam. However, I want to wait until the majority of the deep thrush and attendant foot soreness are gone, so as not to further complicate the diagnosis. Until then, I'm not sure what to do. Ask six people, get six different answers.

                              Also, a level 3 lameness only means that it is visible at the trot. The vet said that the scale is too broad and should be revised. People often think of a level 3 lameness as referring to intensity only. His actual lameness is fairly minor, although it can be seen from behind when trotting because of slighty dip of his right hip upon each step.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                If you and your trainer can't see this initial lameness then I would be wary of just turning him out or doing a rehab program since it'll be hard for you to judge whether he's getting better. If you really like him and think he's a forever horse do what you feel is right. If it were me, I'd have the vet do a lameness exam so you would have a starting point so even if you do decide to do any work on him you know what you're dealing with. If you're going to put time into him at all I'd do a lameness exam just to know if it's going to be able to end well or not. If you spend months of your time getting his feet under control and he's still lame you are at basically the same point you're at now except you're attached even more and have wasted time you could've spent rebuilding your budget.

                                One option is to take his purchase price and set that for your budget for exam and treatment. Do a full exam, blocks, diagnostics (w/i limitations) and see what you've got.

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                                  I know I'm going to get a dozen different answers on this, but how would you proceed in terms of his work routine? Stall rest (how long)?Hand-walk (how long)? Turn-out? Lounge? Walking under saddle? Light riding?
                                  1. Massage. (or possibly acupuncture?)
                                  2. Chiro.
                                  3. Good lameness vet (sounds like the hospital might be your best bet?).

                                  If he's sane in turnout, I'd put him out and leave him until you get through 1-3. I'm very curious to see a video of him with the 3/5 lameness, though I understand you probably don't want to post something like that here.

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                                  • #97
                                    Okay, I would get yourself some 7% iodine (the strong stuff), and treat the sole/frog area 2x per week to get rid of the thrush (apply with a plastic bottle with a narrow pointy opening to get it in there..like an empty roux haircolor bottle..lol). That will kill the thrush and toughen the hooves. Meanwhile ASAP, I would call in the best bodywork/chiro/osteopath in your area and get him adjusted...see what he moves like after a day or two. If his lameness persists, get the rest of your diagnostics. That is the way I would go. Treat him as if you had already purchased him, and just go for it. It is clear that other than that slight, undiagnosed hip differentiation, he is basically sound. The thrush will go away. That is my two cents. I think you will have yourself the kickbutt horse you want.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #98
                                      Originally posted by kmwines01 View Post
                                      One option is to take his purchase price and set that for your budget for exam and treatment. Do a full exam, blocks, diagnostics (w/i limitations) and see what you've got.
                                      Yes, this is basically what I'm thinking of doing. I can take the original purchase price that I was going to spend on him and apply it to diagnosis and treatment. I kind of agree with you, though, about getting the exam done at the outset. I like to know what I'm dealing with sooner rather than later. Patience has never been my virtue. However, my farrier and trainer were uring me to fix the thrush first just to have the best chance at a clear diagnosis.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #99
                                        Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                                        Okay, I would get yourself some 7% iodine (the strong stuff), and treat the sole/frog area 2x per week to get rid of the thrush (apply with a plastic bottle with a narrow pointy opening to get it in there..like an empty roux haircolor bottle..lol). That will kill the thrush and toughen the hooves. Meanwhile ASAP, I would call in the best bodywork/chiro/osteopath in your area and get him adjusted...see what he moves like after a day or two. If his lameness persists, get the rest of your diagnostics. That is the way I would go. Treat him as if you had already purchased him, and just go for it. It is clear that other than that slight, undiagnosed hip differentiation, he is basically sound. The thrush will go away. That is my two cents. I think you will have yourself the kickbutt horse you want.
                                        Great advice! The thrush is already responding to treatment, which is great. I agree that he seems sound in every way but that. You're one of several who seems to be advocating the chiro route first. I'll definitely consider that option!

                                        Comment

                                        • Original Poster

                                          Originally posted by Grasshopper View Post
                                          Are you in the SF Bay Area? How's the footing in turn-out right now? I ask because I lived there for a while, and my mare pulled a stifle in the gawdawful sticky mud that develops after the winter of constant rain. So the available footing and turnout situation would influence how I'd proceed.
                                          I've been wondering if he pulled something during lounge or turn-out. It sounds to me from the seller that he has been confined in a box stall or on the euro-cizer. Period. No lounging, no turn-out, no riding. The day my friend went to check him out for me, they had to clear out a pasture for lounging. The vids she sent me were of him doing scary Black Stallion rears. The seller then mentioned that he hadn't been taught to lounge. It could have happened then. Since he arrived, I've been turning him out (up until the vet check this past Monday). The footing in our turn-out is good, but there are certainly some deeper, sandier parts in the corners. However, he was doing the leg jerking thing on the right hind since he arrived. Also, that particular toe was much more scuffed than the others, which leads me to believe the issue was there before his arrival.

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