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PPE

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  • PPE

    Hi everyone, long time COTH lurker over here!

    Trying to find a horse that can eventually get me into the 3’6” ring; is this a unicorn?!

    I have been looking for a few months and have vetted 2 horses. Scenarios below:

    Horse 1: 5 y/o, unproven, just started real training work. Was initially lame during first prepurchase. Examined a few weeks later to see if shoes helped; still lame and radiographs showed some discouraging findings. Pass.

    Horse 2: 7.5 y/o, been in light work, coursing 2’6”-2’9” with plenty of scope for more. Loved riding him!Flexions were gray area, not horrible. Had horse on trial. But then trotted lame on a circle on hard ground, and even worse on soft ground.ETA: head bobbing was a bit of an exaggeration (probably in my emotional state, he was bobbing up and down). Horse sound during trial, lightly worked, supervised turnout. Sound during initial trot up and things went down hill after the flexions. I think this horse responded negatively to the flexion testing; maybe they were too firm? Will take a second look at this one; maybe a second vetting?

    Is it so much to ask for that a horse, at the minimum, doesn’t present lame during the prepurchase? Especially ones that are young and unproven? These horses do exist, right?!

    Horse shopping is humbling, emotional, but I’m still hoping that “the one” is out there for me!

    Thanks for your support and reading this. ETA: edited for length
    Last edited by HunterJumperLoverCA; Nov. 9, 2019, 12:27 PM.

  • #2
    Hard pass on soft tissue injuries!!! Can take a long time to heal and depending on what it is can be reinjured.

    Horse shopping is never as fun as it seems like it should be -- I tried 23 horses and had 3 failed PPE's before buying one the last time I did a big search, so I feel your pain! Just remind yourself you do NOT want to buy a problem, it is worth waiting for the right one.

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    • #3
      Horse shopping stinks It sounds all fun in theory, but reality is, its not. So sorry you've had two failed PPE's. They are out there, just keep swimming!

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      • #4
        Sorry! I'm right there with you. I just started shopping again this month and forgot how much I hate it. A few years back, I spent a year and half shopping. 7 or 8 horses failed PPEs before I bought one. Of that group, I believe all or almost all failed during the clinical. I don't remember getting to x-rays on a single one of them.

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        • #5
          I'm confused. You trialed the horse for a week, so presumably rode it during that time and it was sound, but then it was suddenly dead lame during PPE?
          Heat/swelling anywhere?
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          • #6
            Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post
            I'm confused. You trialed the horse for a week, so presumably rode it during that time and it was sound, but then it was suddenly dead lame during PPE?
            Heat/swelling anywhere?
            Also was presumably sound for the flexions? I would consider revisiting this horse if the owner will work with you. Did the flexions trigger something? Did you possibly overwork the horse during the trial?
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by HunterJumperLoverCA View Post
              Is it so much to ask for that a horse, at the minimum, doesn’t present lame during the prepurchase? Especially ones that are young and unproven? These horses do exist, right?!
              I can commiserate. I vetted a 4yo as well as a 5yo that showed signs of lameness in the PPE. It really sucks!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by HunterJumperLoverCA View Post
                Hi everyone, long time COTH lurker over here!

                I am in the middle of *attempting* to purchase my first horse as an amateur after a life time of riding. I have a healthy budget, great trainers looking with me, and am looking for a horse on the younger side that can eventually get me into the 3’6” AO Hunter/Eq ring.

                I have been looking for a few months and have vetted 2 horses. Scenarios below:

                Horse 1: 5 y/o, unproven, just started real training work. Was initially lame during first prepurchase. Examined a few weeks later to see if shoes helped; still lame and radiographs showed some discouraging findings. Pass.

                Horse 2: 7.5 y/o, been in light work, coursing 2’6”-2’9” with plenty of scope for more. Loved riding him, even took him in on a 1-week trial, loved him more! Just had the vetting last night. Flexions were gray area, not horrible. But then trotted head bobbing lame on a circle on hard ground, and even worse on soft ground. Suspected soft tissue injury. Pass again.

                Is it so much to ask for that a horse, at the minimum, doesn’t present lame during the prepurchase? Especially ones that are young and unproven? These horses do exist, right?!

                And then I find myself thinking, “Well, even a horse that passes a vet check with flying colors can still ‘xyz’ down the road, so maybe I should just take Horse 2 for practically nothing and see what happens...”

                Horse shopping is humbling, emotional, but I’m still hoping that “the one” is out there for me!

                Thanks for your support and reading this novel.
                Regarding Horse #2, studies show it is possible to produce false positives in most horses if the flexions are "firm" enough. And studies show flexions aren't reliable indicators of current or future lameness in a particular joint. They are a diagnostic tool, but not particularly reliable in predicting future lameness. Point being, take the flexions with a grain of salt.

                Like earlier posters, I would ask if Horse #2 was lame while on trial before the PPE. If he was lame during the trial, there is no point in doing a PPE. If he wasn't lame during the trial, I'd be asking who had custody of the horse between the trial and the PPE and if they can explain what might have occurred to cause the lameness.
                Last edited by OneTwoMany; Nov. 9, 2019, 10:42 PM.

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                • #9
                  A little something will show up on most PPEs. It sounds like the two you’ve vetted have more serious issues and you’re right to pass. You want a horse to be as sound as possible going into your partnership. Keep the faith and keep looking. You’ll find your unicorn.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks everyone!

                    Horse was sound during trial, lightly and carefully worked. I think the flexions must have triggered something. Was sound during initial trot up, but following the flexions, that’s where things went down hill. So I’ll see where to go from here. Thanks so much again.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HunterJumperLoverCA View Post
                      Horse was sound during trial, lightly and carefully worked. I think the flexions must have triggered something. Was sound during initial trot up, but following the flexions, that’s where things went down hill. So I’ll see where to go from here. Thanks so much again.
                      Unfortunately, this is a great example of why sellers dislike trials. Sound horse went out to trial. Lame horse is being sent back with suspected soft tissue injury. Each party is likely to blame the other. Buyer is out the cost of a PPE. HO has to diagnose and then rehab a lame horse. Bad news for everyone all the way around. Jingles for the horse.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
                        Unfortunately, this is a great example of why sellers dislike trials. Sound horse went out to trial. Lame horse is being sent back with suspected soft tissue injury. Each party is likely to blame the other. Buyer is out the cost of a PPE. HO has to diagnose and then rehab a lame horse. Bad news for everyone all the way around. Jingles for the horse.
                        Agreed. IME the PPE must be done before the horse leaves for a trial. I have had a seller (consignment horse) allow the PPE to be done at their place during a trial if they wanted to use their vet, but it had to be done within 24 hours of the horse's arrival and no riding first.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
                          Regarding Horse #2, flexions are tests wherein the joints are hyperextended and the horse is asked to trot off..
                          Flexion tests are where the joints are flexed past the normal range of motion, not extended. That's why they're called flexions.
                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post

                            Flexion tests are where the joints are flexed past the normal range of motion, not extended. That's why they're called flexions.
                            Good catch. Error on my part. Correcting for accuracy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Was horse 2 not trotted on a circle before flexions? Mid soft tissue injuries could look fine on a straight line but will present worse on a circle, especially on soft ground.

                              The usual order is walk and trot straight, trot in circles on different surfaces. If that’s good then go to flexing.

                              While a flexion test may induce a false positive if done too firm, especially on certain joints, the horse should get over it and if you put him on the longe later should be sound. Unless there is a real injury (highly unlikely a flexion test caused an injury). I would pass on horse 2.

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                              • #16
                                Keep looking. The time to compromise is X-ray time, not clinical time. And maybe look at some older horses that are still sound, they are proven to do the job and will come with maintenance instructions.
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                                • #17
                                  It's important to look past the "maybes" when buying a horse.

                                  "Maybe something weird happened with the flexions"
                                  "Well maybe it's nothing major and he'll be sound"
                                  "Maybe shoes will help"
                                  "Maybe gymnastics will help his front end"
                                  "Maybe he'll get quieter as he gets older"

                                  Nope nope nope nope. We already have to live with "Maybe he'll go try to kill himself in the field the day after I buy him" and "Maybe he'll go lame for absolutely no reason". Horses are too expensive to take on any extra maybes.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If you're looking for a horse that will take you to the 3'6 ring, you should buy a horse that is working in the 3'6" ring.

                                    As a total project-addict/bargain shopper/shoestring budget gal personally, I have learned the hard way that buying anything that is not currently doing the job you want it to do for you is always some degree of a crapshoot. I've learned a whole lot of other incredible things along the way, too - so it's not to say that that route is without value or joy. But it is very much to say that it is absolutely not the path to tread if you have very specific goals in mind.

                                    On the lower end of risk would be buying a young, fit horse who is successfully out in the 3' ring and showing aptitude to go higher. Your own experience both at 3'6 and in bringing a horse along to that level will likely be the strongest "controllable" factor in whether or not the plan will work out (non controllable factors being, like OnDeck mentioned, all horses' general atavistic tendencies, plus the fact that apparent aptitude doesn't always translate to real success).

                                    On the much higher end of risk (i.e. less likely to work the way you want it to) is to buy something like the first horse you mentioned, even if it weren't lame during the initial vetting. Any lameness is a big giant red flag - yes, Murphy's Law dictates that even the most iron-footed, tight legged horse can and will get the one and only abscess of its life on the day someone has come to view it for sale - but let that be the seller's bad luck, not yours. Beyond the lameness, it's not only unproven in the sport you want to pursue, but sounds like it has not done enough work to demonstrate its aptitude for any particular activity.

                                    When it comes to PPEs, my vet has always maintained that what should loom largest in our consideration is the horse's history of working soundly. Next is the clinical eval, and last are rads or any other imaging. Of course, there's a whole slew of caveats that go along with that, but in general it helps me to remember that a PPE isn't something to "pass" or "fail" but just one (albeit important) tool in looking at the whole horse.

                                    Good luck in your search! And if any of this came across as holier-than-thou, please know that I, preacher of buying a horse who is doing the job you want, currently have an impulse project purchase turned early retirement pasture ornament happily taking up space on my feed bill Not only that, but I am vetting a weanling this week, which is about as unproven as one can get.

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