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Would you buy a horse with fused hocks?

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  • Would you buy a horse with fused hocks?

    The horse buying process has been a beating to put it mildly. Out of the 15+ horses I've seen over the past 8 months, I've only liked 3. I vetted one only to find out he had a tendon injury that likely occurred in the field in the days between when I rode him and when I vetted him (think extreme lameness). I took another one on trial only to find out he was just not interested in cross-country.

    Well, here I am with horse number 3...I've fallen absolutely in love. He's everything I want...athletic, incredibly scopey, brave, young, and oh so loveable. His owner even has a full set of x-rays that were forwarded to my vet. Well, as it turns out, one of his hocks is fusing. My vet thinks I should hold off for something with squeaky clean x-rays, but I've often heard fusing hocks are a good thing. So, COTHers, lend me your thoughts - would you consider buying a horse with fused hocks?

  • #2
    Originally posted by ChevalBlanc View Post
    So, COTHers, lend me your thoughts - would you consider buying a horse with fused hocks?
    No, no, and NO. There are SO many other horses out there to choose from without issues, and if he's got one fused hock at a young age, do you really want to know what else is going on in there?

    MAYBE, big maybe, if you are looking for a forever horse and have no care at all for resale value AND he's a bargain basement price. You said only one of the hocks is actively fusing - what about the other one?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      The other one looks fine. He's an OTTB, so I imagine tracking left had something to do with it.

      Everyone keeps saying there are plenty of horses without issues to choose from, but where are they?!? I have literally been actively looking (as in visiting farms and trying horses) for 8 months. I have sat on so many horses, it's hard to remember them all. I haven't found one that doesn't have some issue. Maybe it's because I want an OTTB...

      Comment


      • #4
        I would not buy a horse with "fusing" hocks.

        If the price reflected it, I would consider buying a horse with fully "fused" hocks, if I liked everything else about it, and it was performing, sound, at the level I intend to compete.
        Janet

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

        Comment


        • #5
          My husband had a mare that fused her hocks at 14, and though she was intermittently lame during the year it took, once fused she went on to compete at the lower level until she was 20 with no issues and no maintenance. Her son is 15 this year, and he competed through advanced and he too has fused his hocks, but is competing happily at training level, and could go prelim just fine.

          Neither one moved or jumped exactly the same post fusion, but both were good enough. I would buy a horse with fused hocks, provided I wanted to compete at the lower levels. I would not buy a horse with fusing hocks still in process (because if they don't fuse completely the horse can remain lame), nor would I buy a fused horse that wanted for resale or the upper levels.

          What are you looking for a horse to do? That would affect my answer to this question.
          Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
          Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
          www.phoenixsporthorses.com
          Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Well, I'd like to event through prelim if not higher. I certainly don't want to take a chance on a horse that might be compromised, but I also don't want to pass on a truly exceptional horse if the hock thing isn't that big of a deal. Oh this is so heartbreaking...

            Comment


            • #7
              My horse's RH hock is fusing. He is 7, and the vet describes it as "nasty." When I acquired him he was sound and jumping small courses (2'0-2'3") but when he had to be on stall rest for a soft tissue strain the hock flared up in a major way since he was out of work. Our plan is injecting + work until it fully fuses, and my vet thinks he will be fine once it fully fuses.

              That being said, I am a hunter/jumper rider with modest goals as far as fence height and showing level are concerned. I also didn't pay anything for him. It's May and he's been off almost all of 2013 - only got on to do more rehab within the past few weeks. If I was shopping for an event horse (ie not falling in love with a freebie OTTB) I would not consider a horse unless the hock was already fused.
              My Blog - www.shemovedtotexas.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ChevalBlanc View Post
                Well, I'd like to event through prelim if not higher. I certainly don't want to take a chance on a horse that might be compromised, but I also don't want to pass on a truly exceptional horse if the hock thing isn't that big of a deal. Oh this is so heartbreaking...
                I've known GP jumpers with fused hocks. It is the fusing process that really sucks and is very painful.

                I would be having this discussion with your vet. It is certainly not a low risk to take on a horse with the issue.

                For me it depends on which part of the hock you are talking about. It does make a difference.
                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                Comment


                • #9
                  Are you located somewhere well off the beaten track and/or do you have a very tiny budget. Because if the answer to both of these is no, I'm super surprised you can't find a horse that you like with a reasonably clean vet check. My guy was 6 when I bought him and had raced 17 times, but had very clean x-rays. I know of several for sale now that I would buy in a heartbeat if I weren't on the no.more.horses moratorium. Their prices range from $1000-$7500. I have never had to look for more than 2 months when searching for a horse and while a couple of them have gone on to alternate jobs, I've enjoyed all of them.
                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                    I've known GP jumpers with fused hocks. It is the fusing process that really sucks and is very painful.

                    I would be having this discussion with your vet. It is certainly not a low risk to take on a horse with the issue.

                    For me it depends on which part of the hock you are talking about. It does make a difference.
                    If the hock fully fuses the low motion part of the joint, horse is almost as good as new. If the hock never fully fuses, you've got problems and a lifetime of injections. Ask me how I know. There are chemical treatments that are supposed to speed up the fusion process, but they are somewhat suspect.
                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ChevalBlanc View Post
                      Everyone keeps saying there are plenty of horses without issues to choose from, but where are they?!?
                      Amen! I've decided to take a horse shopping hiatus for a year after three heart-breaking vet checks on "sound" OTTBs. I spent so much time and money looking at horses that were lame or misadvertised. It makes you just want to tear your hair out when you go to a show and see all these happy, sound horses. Where are they coming from?

                      Everyone has a different level of risk tolerance, and you need to figure out what yours is. Mine is pretty low, as I am looking for a forever horse with an eye toward resale value if s*** were ever to hit the fan in life. However, I have several friends and a previous trainer who happily pick up OTTBs from the track with the briefest trot-up, no vet check, and no rads. They often, but not always, work out, at least for low level stuff. If you have an eye toward the upper level, then I think your risk tolerance for issues in the vet check might be lower, especially since it's not like the horse is already competing soundly and successfully at the level you're wishing to compete at. A lot can go wrong along the way, so why start with question marks and issues. It's true, of course, that no horse is perfect, no vet check is perfect, etc. It's all about gambling and risk analysis. Best of luck. My heart goes out to you in the shopping process. Chin up. The right will come along eventually.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My daughter was given a 13 year old, former advanced and USET Intermediate Horse of the Year, with fused hocks. Even with her being free, I was hesitant to take her, as I thought I would have to inject her and have all kinds of issues. After consulting my vet and our trainer, who both urged me to get her, we went for it and I am so glad that we did. They competed for 5 years at the training level and we never had a soundness issue. I had her on a really good joint supplement from day one and if we traveled out of state, she got Legend.
                        Just before we retired her, she was schooling at intermediate and they were preparing to go to their first 1 star and had been asked to join young riders. I thought that she would be good for another 10 years. Three weeks later she was 3 legged lame. It wasn't her hocks, but rather her knee. She had multiple knee chips and fragments and extensive djd. She never, ever gave any clue that there was an issue...even the surgeon was floored that she was jumping at that level only weeks earlier. We were shocked that it wasn't her hocks that did her in, rather her knee. And up to that point, she was never lame or took a bad step.
                        Her story here:
                        http://www.calypsofarmeventers.blogs...s-retired.html
                        http://calypsofarmeventers.blogspot....impulsive.html
                        Lori T
                        www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
                        www.facebook.com/LoriTankelPhotography
                        www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Lori - that is such a lovely story!! It looks like your daughter and Imp had a wonderful partnership.


                          Scubed - I live in VA and have been looking in any and all price ranges below $30,000. I've seen total green beans, packers, you name it. While I would prefer something greener, I'm not ruling out any horse due to experience level. My must-haves are simple: must be fancy enough to do well in dressage (we don't have to win, but I don't want to come in last every time) and a safe (preferably stylish jumper), must be athletic enough for prelim, must be FUN, and must be under 10 years old. Ideally, I'd like a TB or TB cross. That's it...I'm not picking based on color, gender, or even location.

                          I know it sounds CRAZY that I'm having so much trouble finding a horse, especially with that kind of budget. But, truth be told, I'm finding that most of the horses I've seen don't live up to their advertisements. The one I mentioned in this post is at the lower end of my budget, but he's super-talented and incredibly fun. I want to feel like I have to have the horse after riding it. If that feeling doesn't happen, then I move on. After all, I wouldn't marry a guy I'm just so-so about.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                            If the hock fully fuses the low motion part of the joint, horse is almost as good as new. If the hock never fully fuses, you've got problems and a lifetime of injections. Ask me how I know. There are chemical treatments that are supposed to speed up the fusion process, but they are somewhat suspect.

                            That is also my understanding. And the fusion process can take some time (as in years).
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChevalBlanc View Post
                              Lori - that is such a lovely story!! It looks like your daughter and Imp had a wonderful partnership.


                              Scubed - I live in VA and have been looking in any and all price ranges below $30,000. I've seen total green beans, packers, you name it. While I would prefer something greener, I'm not ruling out any horse due to experience level. My must-haves are simple: must be fancy enough to do well in dressage (we don't have to win, but I don't want to come in last every time) and a safe (preferably stylish jumper), must be athletic enough for prelim, must be FUN, and must be under 10 years old. Ideally, I'd like a TB or TB cross. That's it...I'm not picking based on color, gender, or even location.

                              I know it sounds CRAZY that I'm having so much trouble finding a horse, especially with that kind of budget. But, truth be told, I'm finding that most of the horses I've seen don't live up to their advertisements. The one I mentioned in this post is at the lower end of my budget, but he's super-talented and incredibly fun. I want to feel like I have to have the horse after riding it. If that feeling doesn't happen, then I move on. After all, I wouldn't marry a guy I'm just so-so about.
                              Are you willing to shop out of area? Travel? Buy off video/clean PPE? There are A LOT of horses across the country that are going to fall into your price range. I can think of a nicely bred SUPER fancy 4yo WB (half TB) right now that is started u/s and o/f and going nicely for under your 30K price range, including shipping from OR to VA. If you're willing to shop out of the area, that should open up a HUGE, nearly endless list of possibilities for you.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                With that price range, she could probably afford a flight to try out a few good prospects AND shipping as well.
                                "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                Thread killer Extraordinaire

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  No. I would not buy a young horse for myself with fused or fusing hocks.

                                  OP- you have a very healthy budget. The most I've ever spent on a horse purchase was 4K. I buy very green though. Maybe look at greener horses and spend some of your budget on training board with your trainer (if you don't feel comfortable making it up yourself).
                                  Last edited by Judysmom; May. 7, 2013, 07:58 PM. Reason: clarity!
                                  Unrepentant carb eater

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    NO. my first event horse had fusing hocks and it eventually put her out of action. Fused hocks can also lead to back soreness and other hind end issues. He will most likely not be comfortable for jumping if that is what you want to do.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I wouldn't buy a prospect/greenie with fusing hocks. If it was an older horse who had already fused totally and was sound it would be a different conversation. You can surgically go in and fuse or potentially use ethyl alcohol although it doesn't always work.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Like you, I've had no joy with horse-shopping recently. But I shop for youth, soundness, beautiful conformation, good gaits, and height of 16.2 or higher, all on a budget of less than $1K! I would never in a million years buy a green young horse with fusing hocks if I had a budget of $30K to spend and wanted a horse capable of prelim and above. You might get lucky but the odds would not be in your favor.

                                        Another word of caution for you if the horse appears to be working soundly despite the bad x-rays. I overheard a woman at a horse show this weekend bragging to her friends that she had shockwaved the hocks of her lame horse in order to get it sound for a pre-purchase exam without using medications that would show up on a blood test. Do you know the sellers well enough to be sure that they haven't done the same?

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