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What to include in PPE for an under 10k horse

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  • What to include in PPE for an under 10k horse

    What would you include in a PPE for a relatively 'cheap' horse. Thanks!
    "are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn...I can yawn, because I ride better than you, Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn, you, not so much..." George Morris in Camden, SC

  • #2
    normal PPE physical exam (eyes, flexion, simple breathing eval) + hocks/feet, then x-ray add'l joints as indicated by the horse's conformation and or results of the physical exam. For instance I had that exam + ankles on a horse who was sound, flexed sound but was more upright than desirable - he passed but it was a good baseline for him.
    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


    • #3
      I would do whatever you feel comfortable with. Vet bills for a lame $7k horse will cost just as much as a $70k horse!

      I paid less than $10k for my horse. I did a basic PPE (flexions, lunged the horse for the vet etc) and digi radiographs (hocks, front feet, naviculars, vet threw in stifles for free). Didn't pull blood because the seller was a long time friend of the trainers. My thoughts were that I was buying him as a cheap prospect with only 60 days on him so I wanted a) to have a baseline and b) to make sure there were no pre-existing conditions that would rule out his ability to do his intended job.
      "I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"



      • #4
        A PPE is always a good idea. I, however, do not always do them on relatively inexpensive horses because I am willing to take the gamble. I always encourage my customers to do one, and depending on what we find it is not always a deal breaker, but a baseline.

        Depending on the horse, radiographs of the front feet (coffin joint), ankles and hocks. If it is a OTTB you can expect some degree of rotation in the coffin joint, and some arthritic changes in the front ankles. Older horses will show chages in the hocks. A good DVM will explain what is acceptable.

        You will always get flexion tests with a PPE, and you can then radiograph suspicious areas. Keeping in mind, that flexion test that has been really cranked will cause even a sound horse to take a few bad steps.

        Some PPE's will even pull blood, and screen for subtances.

        You can get as in depth, or as basic as you choose.

        Decide what your end-plan is for your specific horse; and what you will live with or not live with.

        I will give you some personal examples:

        10 y.o. old OTTB geld ~ visible calcification equal in both front ankles, slightly positive to flexion done by trainer and groom, worked out of bad step after two strides on both sides. Opted to skip PPE, paid $3500, very carefully brought to work and jumping low fences, have had two years, never a problem. If goes to resale, may not "pass" a PPE, but stays servicably sound and has never missed a day of work. I can live it, others might not.

        6 y.o Hanoverian, imported ~ Clean legged, clean flexion, client asked for PPE, found deviation in R.R. hock. Did not purchase for asking price of $25,000

        5yo OTTB, clean flexion, clean legs. PPE performed, found slight rotation of RF navicular bone. Vet advised should not be a problem. Purchased for $5000, horse went on to be competitive in Childrens, A/A jumpers into late teens with never a bad step.

        Your PPE can only uncover what is there, or structural abnormalities. You could purchase the horse today and tomorrow it breaks it's leg or colics anyway.

        I advise you to be present during your PPE to ask questions and be a part of the decision making process; and do what you feel is warranted and your budget allows.


        • #5
          Someone once suggested pulling blood and having vet save in the event the horse showed marked changes after 30 days--you could then have it tested-- I thought that sounded like a good idea.


          • #6
            I always wondered about the pulling blood and then waiting thing. If you're gonna pull it, why not just get it tested? Seems like it would make more sense to find out if the horse was drugged BEFORE you take it home. Why take the chance that the horse might go bonkers, possibly hurt a few people, and then maybe go through a lot of trouble giving the horse back? I've never really understood that.

            Anyway, my horse was under 5K, and I did the normal full body check, flexions, and then x-rayed front feet, front ankles, knees, and hocks. I didn't do stifles, even though my home vet was really annoyed with me that I didn't. Those x-rays really were starting to add up! I didn't pull blood either. That was taking a chance, since I bought sight unseen, out of state, from someone I didn't know. But it worked out well.

            I wanted as many x-rays as I could get, since the horse is a resale project. So I wanted to make sure I wasn't getting a clunker, and I have those x-rays for buyers to compare to theirs when the time comes.


            • #7
              I assumed the thought is that it would only be small dollars to pull the blood and store as opposed to pull and have tested. It would be like having an insurance policy of sorts plus if things went wrong you would have a better idea what to test for.


              • #8
                Yeah, I was assuming there was a cost factor involved--maybe running the test is expensive? Although you do have a point. You might need to test for tranquillizers, maybe pain killers, maybe uppers. I guess running all those tests might get costly.


                • #9
                  On a 3yo, sub 10k:

                  Trainer (20+ years industry experience, including lots of babies and rehabs) did flexions when we looked at the horse, in case there was anything really obvious. Had the vet do basic exam (which doubled as insurance exam), and hock/stifle/knee xrays. Took blood, but didn't run it (Vet kept on record in case we ran into issues later).

                  Things to consider:
                  - horse was a baby, supposedly 60 days under saddle, but we suspect closer to 30.
                  - local breeder, local stallion known for very sound offspring

                  The x-rays were clean with the exception of a very tiny calcification that was only visible due to brand new technology/equipment.
                  "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                  • #10
                    A client recently bought a horse in that price range. We did a good exam including flexions and lungeing but the buyer opted to not do x-rays (we encouraged at least feet and hocks, as did the vet, despite no real issues on flexion...we wanted them for a baseline). We did not do bloodwork, HOWEVER, we know the trainer extremely well and trust them 110%...it didn't even cross our minds. Most horses, we will do the bloodwork.

                    It really, really just depends on what you are comfortable with. Some people don't even think that amount is worth spending the money, but I've known people who have spent less, but done full sets of x-rays, bloodwork, and an EKG!!!!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Seven-up View Post
                      Yeah, I was assuming there was a cost factor involved--maybe running the test is expensive? Although you do have a point. You might need to test for tranquillizers, maybe pain killers, maybe uppers. I guess running all those tests might get costly.
                      Last time I had blood pulled and held for a drug screen, my vet was charging $200 for the test but was willing to hold a sample for 3 weeks without charge -- This was about 4 years ago --
                      "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


                      • #12
                        Neurological reflex tests. Easy to do. Will show up things you definitely do NOT want to deal with in any price of horse.

                        Tail sway, small circles, foot placements at minimum.
                        Ring the bells that still can ring
                        Forget your perfect offering
                        There is a crack in everything
                        That's how the light gets in.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dab View Post
                          Last time I had blood pulled and held for a drug screen, my vet was charging $200 for the test but was willing to hold a sample for 3 weeks without charge -- This was about 4 years ago --
                          And now it all makes sense! Is it just one general test that screens for lots of things or do you have to specify what you want to look for?


                          • #14
                            I think the purchase price is less relevant than the intended use of the horse and the options/loss if he doesn't work out.

                            If you've got a pasture where you can put the horse if he doesn't hold up, or you don't mind putting him back through a sale and you won't miss the cash for the purchase, you may not need much of a PPE.

                            On the other hand, if you're buying a $1500 horse with your life savings and you will be paying $500 or more a month to keep this horse indefinitely, the purchase price is only a small portion of your total cost. A good PPE with x-rays is essential.

                            If you're buying a horse to sell later, having x-rays will tell you if there's something that future buyers will balk at and/or provide a baseline for later sales x-rays. Might as well get those x-rays done before you take ownership.
                            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Seven-up View Post
                              And now it all makes sense! Is it just one general test that screens for lots of things or do you have to specify what you want to look for?
                              Yeah, they don't just put it in the machine and look for everything.

                              Draw and hold 30 days will let you go back and look for heavy NSAIDS if it goes lame on you. If it turns into a lunatic, you can look for tranqs. If it gets deathly ill you can run for various issues. I think last time I just had them look for Reserpine or other long acting tranqs and hold for 30 days.

                              You can take a chance IF the horse is well known to you and has been doing what you want to do with it and staying sound. Even then I would want the vet to give it a once over, watch it move at all gaits and do flexions-use the hoof testers.

                              A good basic PPE with basic x rays is probably going to run you 750 to 850. Up from there if you want more detail. If you are writing a check for anything over a few thousand and/or it's a green horse or one that has not been doing what you intend regularly? It's cheap insurance if not a guarantee.

                              IMO, the best PPE is from a performance horse vet who watches it go at all 3 gaits each direction before touching it. Be amazed how quick they can say no based on a little something they pick up on...save you big time.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                              • #16
                                My last one I bought two years off the track, virtually no work since then. I knew the horse (he'd been boarded at my parents' farm during that time) so I knew his veterinary and behavior history.

                                I had my excellent vet watch him go on the longe, do flexions, and Xray hocks. Total cost was around $300. He has been sound as a dollar, knock on wood.

                                This horse's Xrays were fine, but I am also not one to read too much into Xrays. I have seen a lot of horses with a funny hook here and there that turn out to be sound for decades, and others with great Xrays that can't stay sound for love or money.


                                • #17
                                  For my 1K horse, I still had a PPE done, just because my equine vet stares at horses day in and day out and could catch anything I might miss, especially since i was smitten at first sight. We did a basic exam and flex tests. I skipped the xrays, since from experience I know that just because you find "something" on there, doesn't mean it will cause a problem, and vise versa.
                                  Formally Marinewife91


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Dirty Little Secret View Post
                                    What would you include in a PPE for a relatively 'cheap' horse. Thanks!

                                    The same as an expensive horse. The vet bills are the same for a cheap horse as a million dollar horse.
                                    ... _. ._ .._. .._


                                    • #19
                                      I would let the ongoing PPE guide me with the vets comments during-- but decide in advance what is unacceptable for you BEFORE you start.

                                      i.e. If flexion tests indicate chronic arthritis which would have to be confirmed by X-Ray to see extent- decide before hand-- i.e. if pictures show minimal that could be managed by diet/supplements/adequan/joint injections- I can handle that and get the pictures- if it is more advanced requiring more management OR the horse will never do what I want it to do-don't buy it.

                                      So at a minimum- get regular physical, flexion tests- possibility of Xrays, blood drawn if worried about doping (and I just heard a horror story yesterday about a doped horse severly injuring a naive buyer after the drugs wore off), scoping of lungs etc if indicated. Let the vet tell you how far to go AFTER you've told them the intended use.

                                      I stopped an exam of a 3 years old that flexion indicated a noticible degree of probably arthritis in the hocks. I elected not to take pictures because enough was in there at that young age and it would not get any better with time. I did not buy the horse because of its age and the number of years I would have to be managing the joint inflamation. The horse was for sale for $2000 But that was me.


                                      • #20
                                        Our regular vet came early for a schedualed PPE...the kid was still riding the horse.

                                        He watched for 5 minutes and said "no way".

                                        That was a cheap one-no charge actually. Be sure your PPE vet knows they can stop if they see a disqualifying issue.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.