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Nervous for the farrier, red flag?

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    Nervous for the farrier, red flag?

    So I'm tentatively horse shopping after losing my young horse to Wobblers. More like window shopping but you never know.

    I've talked to a few people about horses and they sound great until I get to one thing. They tell me the horse is nervous for the farrier or bad with his Hinds for the farrier. Personality wise, this isn't a big deal. I'm a very patient and calm person. My farrier is a saint. These horses are mostly green.

    But my two young horses that I had to euthanize to major issues also we're not good for the farrier. They actually started out fine though. My Wobblers horse was always a little tight with the hinds but not bad. It wasn't until later that farrier appointments started getting slowly more difficult.

    So now I'm definitely on high alert as I truly feel even the slightest resistance to the farrier was the start of some minor symptoms or discomfort. But to the outsider, seems like nothing.

    Ami being paranoid? Because my first reaction is to pass on these horses. If I was to pursue them, I'd have to vet them very heavily (which is my plan anyways.)

    Just curious if I'm getting some baggage. Or if I'm learning to go with my gut...

    I would see how they do picking up their hinds in general. Are they nervous for the farrier because they haven't had their feet handled much, or do they have actual balance issues? My farrier was tasked with trimming my two new horses this past week (who had not had their feet worked with before I got them), and she used a rope to lift the hinds off the ground and onto her stand. Both were fine with that method, you could try that and see how comfortable/uncomfortable they are with that. I work with them on picking up their feet almost daily, but I haven't owned either one for very long and the training is still in progress. Meanwhile, they needed trimming. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they behaved with her using the rope, and now I wonder if the whole leaning over to pick it up thing doesn't put them on the defensive at first (think prey animal approach, the NH trainers that do the "lean over and stare at the butt til they move it over" thing), until they learn they are safe?

    Regardless, I read your wobblers thread, learned a ton, and am so, so sorry you had to put your horse down. I'd never heard of wobblers before. So I understand your alarms kicking in when hinds are in question. But for many it's probably just a training/handling issue more than a symptom of something catastrophic. I hope, anyways.


      Original Poster

      PamnReba I could totally see it being just nerves and green horses. I guess seeing how they do in general is a good idea. Doesn't hurt to see them. And if I'm still feeling odd when seeing them in person, I will walk away.

      This experience definitely will make me more paranoid. I think I'll x-ray the neck in a PPE from now on. I don't want to lose another horse


        It's heartbreaking, that's for sure.


          I don't think that would stop me from going to see the horse. How bad is bad? Is the horse just jerking feet away? Nervous? Or does he run backwards and flip over when the farrier is there? There are a whole lot of possibilities. If you are iffy about the horse anyway for other reasons, sure, keep looking. Another one will come along.


            Some owners (sellers) are bad at training basic ground manners. There is less horsemanship generally, it seems, and there are a lot of horses that aren't fully accepting of people handling their hind feet, because no one ever helped them with it in a way that they understood.

            IMO, your PPE should sort out any physical issues. Be clear with your PPE vet about your past experience and the depth of your concerns. Tell them to include the exams for Wobbler's or other such conditions. Don't worry how it looks to the seller, only think about the importance to you.

            One of the hardest things about horse hunting is that we do have to make the initial investigation based on faith, as we don't do the PPE until after we've made a decision that we want to buy. It's hard to feel that "this is the one", only to have the PPE come up with a dealbreaker. But that's the process.

            That behavior can also indicate arthritis. In his final years, my last horse needed some considerate handling of his hind joints, if he had just been standing around and the joint fluids maybe weren't moving as needed. Those joints in farrier position would be painful. Giving him a chance to move the joint around a bit would clear up the handling issue. Farriers that were understanding of that had no problems with him.


              Original Poster

              IPEsq one sounds like he definitely needs drugs to do his feed. The others, slightly nervous.

              I might go see them but if feel funny about it, I'll walk. Nothing good so far has come from me not listening to my gut or taking chances.


                There are so many horses out there, why go with one where you have that niggle? To me it’s not worth the stress on my brain , because if that niggle is there, it will surface each and every time the horse takes a misstep, stumbles, or loses balance when you lift a foot.
                "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig


                  Original Poster

                  KBC kind of thinking that way. At this point I think I should go with whatever I'm comfortable with, even if others would think it's no big deal.


                    Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post
                    KBC kind of thinking that way. At this point I think I should go with whatever I'm comfortable with, even if others would think it's no big deal.
                    Damn straight! It’s your money, and it really doesn’t matter what others think, your money, your emotional investment. Horses have enough ways of driving us crazy with buying something that ‘feels’ wrong
                    "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                    "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig


                      I take on a lot of "project" horses. This is a kind euphemism for "emotional problems ranging from mild to bananas." Most of them are pretty much monsters for hoof care initially (luckily, I do my own, so I'm not at risk of being fired by farriers! ), so for me this would not be an issue. It probably wouldn't even cause me to blink an eye.

                      But I didn't just lose a young horse to a neuro problem. There is nothing wrong with walking away from a horse who shows a similar behaviour to your neuro guy. Even if it's nothing to do with a neuro issue - if it's going to cause you distress thinking it's "a sign" every time their feet get done, I invite you to leave that stress on the front porch and not bring it into your home!

                      And yes, x-ray those necks. Horses, as you know, will find ways to break our hearts no matter how careful we are. But they teach us every time, so get those neck rads when you find someone worth PPE-ing

                      Oh. And be kind to yourself as you're looking. I swore off buying another horse for a year or two when I lost my big mare last summer - plenty of projects to work on, and every time I did look at something it just didn't feel right. Got to a PPE stage with one and it had mega red flags that my vet wasn't comfortable with. So, decided I was cursed and would just fix other peoples' horses for a while. Til I had lunch with a friend who said "hey, you looking...?" And from there I connected with my new guy who - project though he certainly is - is also turning out to be my absolute best buddy and exactly what I needed.

                      One will come for you.


                        It might be because of the farrier and how they handle the feet. I've used several farriers over the years that my horses just did not like( from visit 1) and they showed that by not being good. It was 100% out of character for them. The farriers appeared ( to my eye) to do nothing beyond normal for a farrier and they were patient and nice guys as well. I am always present to hold them at every visit.

                        the first time I used a new farrier the difference was amazing. I would at least see the horses in person and see how they are about having their feet handled by their normal everyday handler.


                          We all have variations in our wants and risk tolerances, which are influenced by our experiences (for good and bad). These horses might be perfectly fine. Or not. But if they aren't the right ones for you at this moment in time, nothing wrong with continuing to look.


                            If you are looking at horses in the same large area and they are mentioning this without being asked, I would be blaming the farrier not the horses.
                            It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


                              Original Poster

                              I think one I'll pass on. He looks nice and sounds great, but the farrier issue sounds extreme. That coupled with he's a few hours away and the trainer is pressuring for a quick sale. Not a good combination for me.

                              The others are at least local so might be worth a look.

                              I had reservations about my wobblers horse. I don't regret him (he was awesome) but I sure feel dumb for not listening to my gut just because others (professionals) disagreed. My gut feeling was right about too much.

                              I definitely plan on looking for the right one. I'm anxious for a new partner but certainly not in a rush! And I'll be vetting pretty heavily regardless.


                                How many people do you know that have a fully sound horse that's in regular work, competes or at least does some sort of training days or under instruction, that the owner enjoys riding and doesn't have any issues with... and is up for sale? Probably not many. Most people don't sell a good horse that's going well and is meeting their needs.

                                There are a lot of people out there who are having trouble with their horse and sell it rather than getting a vet in to do a workup.
                                There are a lot of people out there who feel they've outgrown their horse's ability because it's struggling to do x/y/z so they feel it's time to move on to a bigger better horse, but not acknowledging there's probably some unsoundness or injury involved which is causing the poor performance. Sometimes not knowing is better than knowing if you want to make it someone else's problem.
                                There are a lot of people who send their horse to a trainer to sell as a pro can often make an unsound horse work better and look sound.
                                There are a lot of people out there with a young horse with a conformational problem and see the writing on the wall that it's going to go unsound, so they offload them before it happens.

                                To summarise, there are a lot of people willing and ready to dump off their horses on to buyers so that someone else can deal with the problem.
                                I'd suggest the number is higher than the amount of people who sell their fully-sound-and-problem-free horse for unrelated reasons like they can't afford its care anymore, or they're going through a divorce or maybe for whatever reason they're just not interested in horses anymore.

                                So best to treat every horse you see for sale as a mystery box where you have to find what's wrong with it. If the owner is being sneaky about it they're not likely to tell you the truth so you can't really trust the words coming out of their mouth. All you have to go on is the horse, its body, its behaviour, its performance.. current and past.

                                A horse that's been in work for a period of time and has issues with the farrier, that's a sign. Whether it's a sign of it being a young horse that's had minimal handling or a sign of neuro issues because it has no other way to communicate, that's up to you to assess, as you know. And you're within your rights to decide it could be an indicator of soundness problems and walk away. Having had a neuro horse you'll now see things that others might just dismiss as young horse behaviour, perhaps still go see them and do a couple of the feet placement and proprioception tests while you're there, and/or ask for a video of what the horse does with the farrier.

                                Incase you haven't heard of her, there's a lady who dissects horses to look at their bones and she's found a malformation in the neck of thoroughbreds which can lead to wobblers. It's interesting reading.


                                  Originally posted by leesa1 View Post
                                  How many people do you know that have a fully sound horse that's in regular work, competes or at least does some sort of training days or under instruction, that the owner enjoys riding and doesn't have any issues with... and is up for sale? Probably not many. Most people don't sell a good horse that's going well and is meeting their needs.
                                  This sort of blanket statement makes it sound like all nice horses for sale have some sort of issue. I couldn't disagree more How about... we can't keep all the nice ponies as much as we might want to... or some make a living at starting and reselling nice horses

                                  Lunabear1988 I would at least want to see what the issue is. I've seen horses behave very different when the barn got a new farrier or a different handler that was not the owner etc. It could be so many things.

                                  It would not bother me, but then I haven't been in your shoes
                                  Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                                  Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
                                  "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                                    Originally posted by leesa1 View Post
                                    How many people do you know that have a fully sound horse that's in regular work, competes or at least does some sort of training days or under instruction, that the owner enjoys riding and doesn't have any issues with... and is up for sale? Probably not many. Most people don't sell a good horse that's going well and is meeting their needs.
                                    And this is an important part of your quote. My trainer has gotten 5 different horses to sell for their owners since the horses were purchased as A/AA hunters and didn't want to play that game consistently. They were fine at the lower levels but either had a little too much expression or wasn't tight enough over the fences to consistently place. When you are spending that kind of money you want the chance to place. They all became dressage horses.

                                    One she sold since the owner's hours were reduced from full time to part time and she couldn't afford 2 horses in training. Another horse the owner sold because she was not going to have time to ride as she was a new vet. Both horses were fully sound and meeting the owners needs but their circumstances changed.

                                    I sold my QH Snidely many years ago. He was sound and going well. But I had outgrown his ability. It was time for me to move onto a different horse that was a little fancier. Nothing wrong with him. He was no longer meeting my needs.

                                    I knew one woman that sold her horse because she just never really clicked with him. She liked him, he did his job but she didn't love him and didn't look forward to riding him. Didn't dread it. When you board a horse and pay for lessons and show that is a lot of money to spend to not LOVE your horse. The new owners loved him and she loved her new horse.

                                    There are also plenty of people that buy green horses train them up and bit and flip them. They may be OTTBs or a horse from Europe. That is just their business model. Nothing wrong with the horses.

                                    OP- I would pass on a horse that needs drugs to shoe. The other one I would at least go look at. I agree that sometimes owners don't really work with the horse well for handling feet. Or it is a personality conflict with the horse. Or maybe the horse had a bad experience with a farrier and carries that with them. There is one local farrier that I would never let touch my horse. He is abrupt and is quick to overly discipline a horse. I have seen him make a horse tense just walking up to them. His motions are abrupt and off-putting to some horses.
                                    My last horse cross tied- sorta. But he would occasionally sit back. He was only ever groomed or shod in either the grooming stall or wash stall where there was a wall behind him and then he was fine. He was never cross tied in the aisle. That was a mental thing for him. Not sure why.

                                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                                      FWIW, I totally understand where you’re coming from! There are certain things I’m paranoid about due to past experiences with unsound horses. I would also be leery of a horse that’s difficult for the farrier. My young DSLD horse had an increasingly hard time having his hind feet done near the end, and I also had a TB who was terrible for two different farriers and was also randomly explosive (I suspect neck issues). It’s your money and your peace of mind, so I say listen to your gut and have whatever dealbreakers make you comfortable!
                                      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


                                        To be fair to myself, I did say "not many", not none, and people who make a living starting and selling horses obviously don't fit into the scenario that I'm describing.

                                        Perhaps unsoundness is more rampant in my country than others but here you'll see a decent amount of horses that are struggling with work because of physical issues or training/riding that leads to physical issues. People ride a horse for a while, it starts to struggle to do x/y/z and rather than get a workup and some xrays they'll put it up for sale because they think they've outgrown it.

                                        Kissing spines, neck arthritis, arthritic facets, torn sacrums, neuro issues, old tendon injuries, no attention paid to the bony column in the lower leg and angles in the feet, navicular, ringbone, bad hocks, etc.. all of those things will cause some degree of poor performance if not visible lameness. How many riders would bother to consider it might be a physical issue as opposed to just outgrowing the horse? In my country, a lot of people don't want to spend the money when they can go get another horse for a similar amount of money.

                                        I'm just saying that it's unlikely a horse is going to be 100% perfect so rather than assume the horse is fine until proven otherwise, work the other way around, assume the horse has a problem (as 99.99% of horses do) and narrow down to see if you can find it and then decide if it's a dealbreaker or not.

                                        Owner who does dressage has a horse up for sale because they feel they've outgrown it, how come? what work is the horse not progressing with? is it lateral work? make a mental note to check how well/poorly he flexes through his spine. is it because he can't collect and sit? make a mental note on his hocks and sacrum. Are they unwilling to say? There's poor performance because of not ideal conformation but there's also poor performance from wear and tear or old injury, and there are plenty of people out there who are prepared to hide old injury so as to move their horse on.

                                        Just protect yourself is all I'm saying, you don't want to buy someone else's problem. If the horse has issues with having a back foot picked up for the farrier and there's isn't much reasonable reason for it, something is probably up. You're right to think that poor performance or behaviour can be an indicator of problems as it's the only way for a horse to communicate when something is up.