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Concealing Past Injuries

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  • #21
    True story-- I bought a horse from a dressage rider to be a hunter. It was through an elite-style auction company that did extensive vettings, history, etc. on al the horses they represented, which was a small number hand-picked for the sale. Horse vets and x-rays with flying colors.

    I was online "Googling" the previous owner to see if I could find any photos of him as a dressage horse, since he competed in upper levels and I thought it would be cool to see him in his former life. I stumble across an article written up for a feed company on this horse and how through using a special diet he recovered in extraordinarily quickly from a significant front suspensory injury.

    WHAT?!? I was furious, but what could I do...nothing. Fortunately, he was never lame on it but I was able to get access to his prior records from the vet and sure enough, it was there. If a seller is willing to release the full vet record, I often think this may be a better look into the horse's history than the actual vetting itself!

    Is it dishonest to never disclose these types of injuries...yes, but since it's not law, there is no way to enforce it. Additionally, while it may be important to know, horses do recover. Would I have bought the horse if I knew the injury was there? Probably not at the time, but it never caused him any issue and really in the big picture was not significant. Maybe I got lucky...

    I would be "all for" having to disclose known defects (like you do when selling a house!) but from what I've heard here in VA, that will never happen!

    Until then-- buyer beware!
    http://community.webshots.com/user/greyhoundgal

    Member of the OMFG I got banned clique

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    • #22
      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
      You do know that people use more than one vet and you will never be assured of getting all the vet records, right?
      Yes, but if they refuse I know somethings up, and then generally I know again once a vet check/xrays is done. Some records are better than none, and generally if people are willing to give you their primary vets, they're going to be honest enough to say, "Hey fyi, he had a little injury you can see here, but he's recovered completely."
      Mendokuse

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      • #23
        Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
        I didn't really give any "facts" other than that I was aware the horse had been injured, but that I know it is now showing and therefore must be doing fine now.
        Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
        I guess in the future I will just say "I'd prefer not to comment on that particular horse," although I think that's loaded and much more damaging to a sale than just speaking truthfully about the horse.
        Or you could just say you know the horse is out showing and omit comments on the injury. To say a horse is out showing so it must be doing fine now, would lead me to think the horse had a serious injury in the recent past
        Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
        Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
          I guess I do know that, which is why I wish no one would ever talk to me about anything, ever. Of course, I also said the horse is a really good boy, safe, kind, etc. But for some reason, no one is focusing on that.

          Everyone in the effing world knows my horse pulled a suspensory a few years ago. It's not a secret, I'm not sure how I could ever keep it one, and I would NEVER fail to disclose that if I ever planned to sell him.

          I guess in the future I will just say "I'd prefer not to comment on that particular horse," although I think that's loaded and much more damaging to a sale than just speaking truthfully about the horse.
          No, no, OP!

          Look, if you (or the seller) were *asked* and you told the truth, your nose is clean. And FWIW, if I were the buyer and knew you might be able to answer a question for me, and you said, "No comment," I'd be that much more likely to pass on the horse. I'd be smart to go to the seller with your "no comment," but I'd go proctological on them.

          You can't win if you are asked specifically--saying nothing is as hackles-raising as saying what you know. I think it's better to do that, even for the seller.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


          • #25
            This doesn't just happen in the horse world. This happens any place money is involved. Incentivize the lying (in the form of a higher sales price), and voila! Anyone with loose ethics is perfectly happy to take advantage of the situation. Why do you think companies like Carfax.com were invented?

            All you can do, OP, is try to avoid doing business with those you see that behavior from. I've seen plenty of it around the horse world over the years in the h/j, dressage, eventing, and QH worlds, and there are many trainers you couldn't pay me to take a sales horse from. There are also many trainers I won't ride with because I despise that kind of behavior and think it seeps into the ethics involved in training, even if you don't buy/sell a horse with that person.

            IIRC, you do horses in the midst of some big name company (I could be thinking of another poster, so don't quote me on that!), and IME, that gets more rampant the more $$$ you're talking about. I also think that at the higher amateur levels, people often start glossing over details in the name of getting SuzyQ around a big course or winning against big hunter competition. So if you're seeing a lot of it, all I can suggest is that maybe it's time to change the company you're keeping (not necessarily all of the company you're keeping, just the toxic part)?
            __________________________________
            Flying F Sport Horses
            Horses in the NW

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            • #26
              I know some people that give the treating veterinarian pseudonyms/nicknames instead of a horse's real name when a horse is sick or injured, etc. So vet records don't necessarily provide much protection.

              As much as possible when buying horses I prefer to speak to the actual owner of the horse--not just the agent/trainer. I have found trainers and agents to in general be less truthful or to have avoided learning about truths that might interfere with the sale of a horse. Usually if you ask a horse's owner to their face a few questions about soundness/health history, you will get honest answers.

              I think our OP got put in an awkward position by the person who asked her about the horse. I think she did the right thing to say what she knew, but it would have been nice if the person hadn't gone back to the seller and relayed what she heard and from whom.

              As PNW points out, trainers and agents are incentivized to gloss over flaws in sales animals. It is wise to be very careful who you do business with. The situation would be better if more buyers understood that few horses have truly perfect histories. There's no doubt that horses are easier to sell the more separated they are from their history because just about every horse has had some issue in its past.

              Comment


              • #27
                I was just astounded recently when we were vetting out an inexpensive QH mare for a client of mine who would do low-level lessons and pleasure riding. The vet checked for NOT only "nerving" scars on the pasterns, but COLIC SURGERY scar on the midline! I said, Holy Crow, do people try to pass that stuff OFF??!

                She said, "Every Day."

                Comment


                • #28
                  It is indeed a fine line to walk. If its something minor, mentioning it is probably not appropriate. If seller is hiding something that you would want to know, you could always ask them to make disclosure to the customer. If they refuse, I'd use the guideline to put yourself in the buyers place. If you feel they are getting into a mess unawares, then I'd have a quiet chat with them. Basically...do unto others. Most old injuries heal fine but I wouldn't want to see someone hurt ( horse or rider) because I didn't want to get involved. As a community of sorts, we need to encourage everyone to help each other out, in a good way.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                    Or you could just say you know the horse is out showing and omit comments on the injury. To say a horse is out showing so it must be doing fine now, would lead me to think the horse had a serious injury in the recent past
                    And that is lying by omission. If someone asks me if I know whether the horse has had any injuries, and I do know, but say only that I know it is out showing, then I'm as big a liar as the seller.

                    And, sorry, but the horse did have what some would consider to be a serious injury in the recent past.

                    What you don't seem to grasp is that I have no obligation to help the seller lie to anyone.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                      No, no, OP!

                      Look, if you (or the seller) were *asked* and you told the truth, your nose is clean. And FWIW, if I were the buyer and knew you might be able to answer a question for me, and you said, "No comment," I'd be that much more likely to pass on the horse. I'd be smart to go to the seller with your "no comment," but I'd go proctological on them.

                      You can't win if you are asked specifically--saying nothing is as hackles-raising as saying what you know. I think it's better to do that, even for the seller.
                      I agree with you, which is why I answered the questions that were asked honestly. But in the future, I really am just going to take the position that I'm not going to answer anything about anything. Screw it. If that messes up other peoples' sales, I really don't care. If people were not lying sacks of scum, this really would not be a problem in the first place.

                      And for the person who suggested that I go to the seller and encourage them to disclose it, and then tell them I will disclose it if they don't - well, sorry, but THAT is inserting myself into someone else's transaction. No way am I getting involved like that.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I see why caca like this riles you up and makes you want to take a moral stand against lying. But you don't have to do that. Just tell the person who asks what you know and how you know it. They can follow up with their own research. You can then also be "clean" with the seller because you didn't lie in a way that made their side any better or worse than it actually was.

                        ETA: I was taught that if I didn't own the horse, it was not my business to find out what was going on if a vet was treating a horse. Someone once yelled down a barn aisle to me "Hey, what's up the Your Horse? I saw DVM here. Is he ok?"

                        The yelling down the barn aisle surprised me. If this were a horse I wanted to sell, I might be bummed. I'm good with the way I care for horses I own and I'd be happy to tell anyone what treatment he had and why. Then again, I have known people who thought that joint injections of the lower hock joint were bad news (and also didn't differentiate between those injections and steroids put into a high-motion joint). So it can be tough to do PR when all people are spectators.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                          This doesn't just happen in the horse world. This happens any place money is involved. Incentivize the lying (in the form of a higher sales price), and voila! Anyone with loose ethics is perfectly happy to take advantage of the situation. Why do you think companies like Carfax.com were invented?

                          All you can do, OP, is try to avoid doing business with those you see that behavior from. I've seen plenty of it around the horse world over the years in the h/j, dressage, eventing, and QH worlds, and there are many trainers you couldn't pay me to take a sales horse from. There are also many trainers I won't ride with because I despise that kind of behavior and think it seeps into the ethics involved in training, even if you don't buy/sell a horse with that person.

                          IIRC, you do horses in the midst of some big name company (I could be thinking of another poster, so don't quote me on that!), and IME, that gets more rampant the more $$$ you're talking about. I also think that at the higher amateur levels, people often start glossing over details in the name of getting SuzyQ around a big course or winning against big hunter competition. So if you're seeing a lot of it, all I can suggest is that maybe it's time to change the company you're keeping (not necessarily all of the company you're keeping, just the toxic part)?
                          I think you might have me mixed up with someone else. I don't really "do" horses anymore (and never did in any professional capacity), except that I own my one horse. I don't show anymore, and I just do my own thing with him. One reason for this is that, hey, guess what - he's got a lot of physical problems...some of which I believe were concealed when I bought him, but I love him and I'm not willing to shuffle him along down the road to an uncertain fate.

                          I was formerly in/involved with big A show barns in the area, but not in a professional capacity. In short, I know a lot of people, but I don't really "do business" with any of them. Not anymore, anyway. But yeah, the agent for this particular seller is on the short list of people I would never buy from again, for a number of reasons.

                          I pulled my horse out of professional training and took him to a place where I can do my own thing. This was in part so that I could avoid this kind of nonsense from the den of theives in the h/j barns around here. But, alas, there is one hunter trainer at my barn (a really great person, honestly) and I was honest with her about a horse her client was trying.

                          Ugh. So, I hear you on the "changing the company I keep" thing. I really do. I really HAVE changed the company I keep, because they really sucked. But here it is again, dropped like a load of dog crap on my doorstep!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I think adding agents (though good in other ways) encourages this. Seller's agent doesn't want to know the whole history, so they can honestly tell the buyer's agent they know of no past issues, then later blame it on the seller (whose identity may be unkown to buyer/buyer's agent) not telling them.

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                            • Original Poster

                              #34
                              Originally posted by mvp View Post
                              I see why caca like this riles you up and makes you want to take a moral stand against lying. But you don't have to do that. Just tell the person who asks what you know and how you know it. They can follow up with their own research. You can then also be "clean" with the seller because you didn't lie in a way that made their side any better or worse than it actually was.
                              And I agree with this too. I really *didn't* take a moral stand until I found out that the seller and other related parties are angry with me for being honest about the horse. And this wasn't, like, some secret told to me in confidence. The number of people who know about this injury is fairly large, and, as it turns out, the information was provided to the buyer by more than one party (just not by the seller). But I'm the "fall guy," likely because I left the show scene and wasn't really very quiet about how I feel about the ethics of the industry in general when I left it.

                              It doesn't really matter, I suppose, but it is frustrating.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                I think you might have me mixed up with someone else.
                                I did. I realized who I was thinking of after I typed it out. That person wasn't a pro either, just had a horse with a big name.

                                It stinks to get involved in situations like this. And it really stinks when someone expects you to lie for them. You were in the right, so I would erase it from your mind and go on as seemingly obliviously as you can.
                                __________________________________
                                Flying F Sport Horses
                                Horses in the NW

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post

                                  It stinks to get involved in situations like this. And it really stinks when someone expects you to lie for them. You were in the right, so I would erase it from your mind and go on as seemingly obliviously as you can.
                                  Solid advice, which I am going to take. Thank you.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Trust me I feel your frustration. I had to rehome my TB after years of sinking every penny into him trying to fix his physical issues. It broke my heart so when I went horse shopping again my number one requirement was no health problems pre-existing. I did vet checks and passed on a number of horses. Finally bought my guy. Asked the trainer who was selling him for the owner outright if he had any health problems in the past was told no. He did pass the vet exam fine. I took him to a smaller barn with no indoor so my ability to ride during winter was low. I specifically bought an easy going horse that could sit if I couldn't get out to ride. Suddenly he was lame. Had the vet out...suprise suprise he has muscle/SI problems. I talked with the owner later on when we became friends and she asked if it was his hind right that yea he always had soundness issues when he was out of work in that leg. I was FUMING. The trainer knew that information and specifically hid it from me when I asked. Knock on wood my guy is finally sound now but if I go on vacation/get sick/he gets a stone bruise etc etc anything where he has time off from riding I am back to square one. Have paid for chiro, massage, osteopathy work. I have to pay for a barn with an indoor and go out to ride at least 4 times a week. Not that I don't love riding but sometimes it's nice to have a brek. He also now needs Pentosan for maintenance. I love him to death but I am dealing with everything I feared and wanted to avoid. I wish there was a law that required sellers to disclose any previous injuries. I don't think you were wrong at all answering the prospective buyers questions and the sellers have no right to be mad at you.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      It also doesn't always happen on purpose. I sold a horse through a sale barn. They knew his vet history. He had colic surgery a few years earlier (just a displacement) but healed beautifully and hadn't had any other issues with colic before or after for several years. He was insurable for colic and everything else by the time I went to sell him. I personally never talked to the buyer as he was at a sales barn. They took the horse on trial and ended up buying him. I don't know if they ever did a PPE. He ended up colicing a very short time later and was put down on the table. I felt horrible....the agent had never told them about the colic surgery and they had never asked. The agent didn't intend to not disclose it, it just never came up and since it hadn't been a problem for the horse (he wasn't on a special diet or anything) they plain forgot. I don't know if things would have been different if they had known but will always wonder. He was a very sweet horse.


                                      But otherwise...OP I hear you and you were in the right.
                                      ** 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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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by stargzng386 View Post
                                        Trust me I feel your frustration. I had to rehome my TB after years of sinking every penny into him trying to fix his physical issues. It broke my heart so when I went horse shopping again my number one requirement was no health problems pre-existing. I did vet checks and passed on a number of horses. Finally bought my guy. Asked the trainer who was selling him for the owner outright if he had any health problems in the past was told no. He did pass the vet exam fine. I took him to a smaller barn with no indoor so my ability to ride during winter was low. I specifically bought an easy going horse that could sit if I couldn't get out to ride. Suddenly he was lame. Had the vet out...suprise suprise he has muscle/SI problems. I talked with the owner later on when we became friends and she asked if it was his hind right that yea he always had soundness issues when he was out of work in that leg. I was FUMING. The trainer knew that information and specifically hid it from me when I asked. Knock on wood my guy is finally sound now but if I go on vacation/get sick/he gets a stone bruise etc etc anything where he has time off from riding I am back to square one. Have paid for chiro, massage, osteopathy work. I have to pay for a barn with an indoor and go out to ride at least 4 times a week. Not that I don't love riding but sometimes it's nice to have a brek. He also now needs Pentosan for maintenance. I love him to death but I am dealing with everything I feared and wanted to avoid. I wish there was a law that required sellers to disclose any previous injuries. I don't think you were wrong at all answering the prospective buyers questions and the sellers have no right to be mad at you.
                                        Yeah, it really hurts when you try so hard to avoid the heartbreak of purchasing a horse with major issues and end up with one anyway because some people are liars, doesn't it?

                                        Really, it's the same as theft.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          When you ask directly about an issue, for example "has this horse suffered any soft tissue injuries that required time off?," and are answered dishonestly, that is fraud. Of course you'd have to be able to prove that the issue was preexisting, and there is the question of whether the matter is worth pursuing (price of horse, cost of treatment, does the seller or agent have any assets), but those who commit fraud can be pursued.

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