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ISO Opinions - Would you take the gamble on this horse?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Jazzme2305 View Post
    I found out he failed a PPE in the past due to lack of space between proximal and distal intertarsal joint in his hock and bad flexions.
    A bit confused... you mean narrowed joint space in the distal (lower) joint of the hock? And has this horse had his hocks injected?

    It would be interesting to know just how bad the flexions were and why someone took x-rays. And the most important question is whether or not anyone has tried to manage this unsoundness with hock injections and correct riding. Generally speaking, this is not a problem that would cause me to bail on a horse.

    If, OTOH, the horse was having his hocks injected twice a year and was ridden and shod well and still failed a PPE or really never got better with the lead change, I'd say you had a larger problem. But with the information the OP gives here, I'd go forward with a PPE.

    Heck, to be cheap about it, I'd ask the owners if they happened to have those hock x-rays and would they let me show them to my vet. If my vet wasn't worried and the horse had never had any help with those hocks, and I had ridden and jumped him for months where he seemed really sound everywhere else, I might not even do a PPE. History of a horse doing a job and staying sound is very valuable information. That's assuming, of course, that he looked really sound everywhere else. If the hock issue was deemed to make him move in a hinky way at all, I'd have the PPE and check out the rest of his body, prolly x-ray the front feet at a minimum.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

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    • #22
      I bought a horse I loved with BAD conformation. . . I was much more clueless then than I am now, but I am sure my current vet would have told me to run screaming from this horse had I done a PPE at the time. I was 21, it was my first horse, I was working for the breeder and I bought her. I did ride her for almost two years before hand as part of my job, however, so I did know that she was well trained and sane, but she had no show record and no off property experience.

      The first time my vet saw her after I bought her (she didn't know me at all then) she bluntly asked, "is this horse sound?"

      That mare went on to teach me everything and anything I know now about showing and owning a horse. She's also a fantastic mover. She needed some maintenance (Adequan, Legend, Previcox, joint injections, and shod all the way around) but really not anything I wouldn't expect with a horse as they age. She was and still is fantastic in every way, and she is my "heart horse" (I know, cringey). I just retired her from showing and jumping about two months ago at age 18. Younger than horses without her physical challenges, but she gave me 10 awesome years of that and is still sound enough for hacking.

      So I would be another one to vote for taking a chance if you really enjoy this horse and have a budget for some maintenance down the road. I don't regret one second with my mare and she lasted way longer than any vet who ever saw her thought she would. Her x-rays were always better than vets thought they would be, too. Just because on paper something might look really bad, nature can sometimes find a way to overcome it. I think most of us have a story about a horse that had no right being sound, being completely sound.

      You can't discount the emotional connection and enjoyment of a horse when making this decision--heck, that bond with a particular animal is why most of us do this crazy sport/hobby/obsession in the first place!

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Jazzme2305 View Post
        Has some holes in his training but sweet animal that learns quickly. I've been cheaply leasing him for a bit now and have never had a bad ride. I want something I can enjoy riding after work, school around 1.10, and occasionally jump up to 1.20 which he does do currently. No budget for something that doesn't have a quirk somewhere.
        One other thing: would you enjoy riding/owning horse if these training holes/quirks never went away? Riding him "as is", in other words, instead of riding or looking at "potential" if he were better trained/managed/sound(er). Mentioning this because I've also seen horses that were serviceably sound stay serviceably sound in their current work/management, but when asked for more (even just on the flat), that's when they don't hold up (even with more/better vet and farrier work and more correct riding).

        Lack of lead change by itself may not put me off. I would be more cautious with a horse that gets easily off-balanced, pulls or rushes, has a hard time with transitions, travels differently from one direction to the next, spooks easily (running away from pain). Even if they are not limping or otherwise appear stoic. These are not necessarily training issues -- or not just training issues or "quirks" -- but possible indicators also of unsoundness. There's a thread in the health care forum from a few weeks back about seeing subtle lamenesses that might be worth looking through.

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        • #24
          I don't mind a bit of a gamble when a horse is priced really well, so I would go for it. $5k for a horse that's fun to ride and can go around at 1.10- 1.20 seems like a really good deal. I doubt if you could find a 1 year lease on a 1.10 horse for $5k, so I wouldn't worry about the fact he may need maintenance and eventually step down. That said, I have inexpensive board options in my area, so that may be an important factor in your decision.

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          • #25
            FWIW I leased a horse for about 10 years because she wouldn't pass vet. I was able to show her pretty consistently in the AA hunters and side saddle - most local show association stuff. She was a point and shoot so needed minimal schooling at shows and we didn't typically show in more than 1 division.

            The thing is make sure the horse passes for what YOU want to do with the horse now and in the future. If you say you might want to jump 1.20m you need to vet him at that, not for just riding after work type of thing. Seems like a lot of people vet and buy a horse based on and knowing it's limitations and then decide later they want to do more than horse may be physically capable of. Once in awhile okay but not long term. So you need to be extremely honest with yourself about what your goals might be long term with this horse. He's young, you might not want to do A shows now but you might change your mind in a year or two. You have this agreeable horse who's capable but for how long?

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            • #26
              I'd do it

              The fact that he CAN do the lead change would indicate to me that with some better maintenance and care, it may end up being there more reliably. To me it's also not so uncommon for a horse to have a change that's easy one direction and harder the other direction. That can be due to soundness issues, but it can also be due to the horse's natural one-sidedness, crookedness or weakness.

              There definitely a risk here, but there's a risk with any horse, and it sounds like the price properly reflects the risk. I think you do need to make sure you're okay with the idea that he is what he is right now and don't expect him to improve. That way if he does improve it's a happy surprise but if he stays just as he is, then you're okay with that. Conceivably with better maintenance, farriery, appropriate supplements, etc., he should improve, but you just never know. Also consider that as a younger horse, if he ended up not being sound enough for you, what would your plan be? There can be other options to keeping them indefinitely; some of these horses make excellent beginner school horses. But you should think through those questions to know what you'll do if that situation happens.

              I would be inclined to do a basic PPE with your own vet just so you know what's going on and to make sure there isn't a major issue the owner has conveniently left out. My favorite vet back home always vetted horses with their intended purpose in mind, and I think that's key. He would give you a different answer about a horse if your goal was to be showing in the A shows at 1.20m vs. if your goal was to ride and enjoy at home with occasional schooling shows and clinics. Managing soundness issues has a lot to do with what the horse's job is supposed to be. It's possible that he failed the prior PPE because his existing issues were incompatible with the level of performance that the prospective buyers needed from him.

              One last thing to keep in mind is his future saleability. If there are known issues, it can impact his future sale or sale price. Just keep your expectations in check there. If you ever decide to end up selling him - even if you can't imagine ever doing so, life is a funny thing! - you'll need to be realistic about that and not expect to make back what you've invested in him.
              It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

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              • #27
                I'd suggest trying to negotiate a lease with an option to buy. That way you can nail down a purchase price now. You can have your vet go over the horse, and you can manage its farrier, vet and riding program to see if it thrives under your care. And if he doesn't then you have your answer. I also think it is worth reiterating what others have said; enjoying the horse is a huge factor in the decision making process and is not overly emotional. This is why we have horses and spend a fortune on them!

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                • #28
                  Just depends how much you want the horse and whether you mind rolling the dice. My horse didn’t pass his ppe years and years ago but I was young and in love. Now he’s 16ish and pretty much been retired for a couple years because he can’t hold up to much. I love him but I miss riding and jumping. It’s not ideal to have to scrounge for rides on other horses but I can’t afford a second horse especially when the one I have is quite a lot of maintenance. Horses...you just never know. I feel like people are sharing their “I risked it and got lucky stories” so I figured I’d share my story on the opposite side of the spectrum.

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                  • #29
                    If you think about it, there are PLENTY of people that buy horses never getting a PPE done. Yes, planning is good, and if you know that he has some issues, it may be helpful to have a vet that you trust giving you the story and their prognosis, as well as chatting with you about their thoughts on his suitability for your future plans.

                    You can plan for the worst and still not have it happen. You can buy a sound horse and it can step in a gopher hole. Animals are a gamble ALWAYSSSSS. If you like him, and you aren't planning a huge show career with him and can step down if you need to for his comfort, *IF* you had to, I'd say go for it.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                      I'm with ladyj, as usual. And maybe that's because I'm also more of a gambler than most, but short story is horse that you really enjoy riding who does what you want him to do. Cheap price and you have the money, which means that if you need to do hock injections or some regular maintenance you can afford it.

                      I think you can ask for a long term lease if you want, but I think you need to purchase a "deal" horse the moment it's offered to you. Can't count the number of times I've seen someone lease a "deal" horse to really feel out the issue and when they have it going better due to different or increased maintenance.....surprise! Suddenly the owner wants more money for it.
                      I will say when I did a lease of a horse for sale not knowing if I would buy or not in the lease contract we had an agreed upon purchase price for the horse. Nonnegotiable. In my instance I didn’t buy him but he improved significantly when with me and was sold for a lot more than the agreed upon value. For her above reason. My trainer didn’t want me to put in the work and money and then have owner want me to buy at new price when I got him there.

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