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How much wear and tear would you expect on a jumper?

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  • How much wear and tear would you expect on a jumper?

    I'm trying to get an idea of how much wear and tear is acceptable on an early teen-aged jumper that has been doing 4'+ for a few years. What kind of maintenance would you think is acceptable? Would you purchase a horse that, for example, flexed 2 out of 5 (both hind hocks) but doesn't show signs of lameness and does his job without issue?

  • #2
    I would expect a jumper in it's teens to have some minor issues, that would need some maintenance.
    The first thing I would do is have a full PPE done with xrays.
    I would be skeptical about the flexion test results and would investigate further.


    • #3
      I purchased our jumper when he was 13 years old and he had been doing Level 5 and up. My daughter did Ch/Ad for 2 years at Level 3 and then moved up to Level 4/5. We maintain him on Adequan monthly and MSM & Conquer daily. He is in better shape at 18 than when we got him. He knows his job so we don't jump a lot at home and he only shows away once a month and basically we just flat all winter. If you are careful and take good daily care the good ones last forever!


      • #4
        My jumper is 13, has been doing consistent 3'6+ for years.
        Definitely don't skimp on the PPE with something that has had that type of workload, but the wear and tear really varies depending on what their care has been like over the course of their career.
        Lighter maintenance (adequan once/ usually twice a month, a joint supp) is customary. Ask what the curent owner does.


        • #5
          Yup. Investigate further, figure out exactly what might be causing the positive flexion and ask what the owner uses on him. It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me on a teen aged jumper that has worked hard assuming it is an issue that can be maintained like minor chages that might require hock injections a couple times a year.


          • #6
            I would expect hocks that required injections once in a while (lower joint only), and wouldn't be put off by a history of those.

            I'd also expect some arthritic changes in front. Ideally, these could be managed without injecting these moving joints. That's a different proposition from hock injections. Ask your vet about why and how well these work in the long term.

            But, an older, game jumper probably also knows how to sublimate pain. His decision to do his job, no matter how he flexes, is an important ingredient. If he's tough, happy and stoic, you can reliably tolerate worse radiographic findings than you would with a different horse.

            Be sure you plan on keeping him fit year round. The older ones have a hard time with long periods of time off and rebuilding. Also budget in more time and money for supplements, cold hosing and vet work from time to time.

            If he has been managed well so far, and is competing at the level you plan to do also, just ask the seller lots of questions about how they keep him tip top.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • #7
              I agree that the hocks are usually the first place to look for problems in jumpers with a good bit of mileage on them. My guy started having hock problems by age 10 or 11 that impacted how he jumped. Not flexing as much as before in the hind end gave him more rails behind and eventually led to moving him to lower divisions. He had been doing AO and small GP.

              We've never had a problem with arthritis in the front end. Also check the tendons and ligaments. My guy has had 3 suspensory injuries and a slight bowed tendon. One of the suspensory tears was prior to our getting him and even though we did a pretty thorough PPA we didn't think to ultrasound the legs.


              • #8
                But, an older, game jumper probably also knows how to sublimate pain. His decision to do his job, no matter how he flexes, is an important ingredient. If he's tough, happy and stoic, you can reliably tolerate worse radiographic findings than you would with a different horse.
                This is so true. We bought two older jumpers around the same time. One loved his job and would jump with any rider through any pain. The other just didn't have the same heart and would quit if the distance wasn't just right or his hocks were a little sore.
                Not saying a horse should be expected to jump through pain, but if you find one who will--good as gold.


                • #9
                  I would not be put off by positive hock flexions in a teenaged higher level jumper, provided my veterinarian thought the hock problems could be managed. In that case, I might expect to do hock injections (likely upper and lower) twice a year, and to show on Adequan, Legend and an NSAID. I would expect to spend a fair amount of money on a good joint supplement or injectible as well. Frankly, I would also expect to inject ankles and coffin joints regularly. Unfortunately horses don't often acquire years of solid experience without incurring some joint damage (or at least affordable horses don't!). I would also be prepared to jump less at home and at the shows (this being the problem with the experienced horses - they have less miles left in them, but so much teach).

                  Another consideration is what you plan to do with the horse down the road. A solid, dependable jumper that can show a rider the ropes is certainly saleable even with age, but I would be prepared to take a hit on the sale price.


                  • #10
                    Flexing 2 out of 5 behind on both with a teen aged 4' Jumper is within the norm IF you understand there will be maintainance required and that will need to be done regularly and increase the upkeep costs.

                    One thing that may influence this is answering this question...is this horse now active? If he is currently in a program Jumping at that level, it would bother me alot less then if he had been off for awhile or performing less and lower-that might indicate he was backed off for soundness reasons and raise a yellow flag.

                    Obviously you need a very good PPE. I would also ultrasound to look for signs of previous suspensory issues.

                    DO NOT go by what the seller tells you. Most leave a few things out or flat do not know because whoever they bought it from did not share.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                    • #11
                      The costs to maintain a horse with "wear and tear" issues can get pretty high.

                      My guy started with just oral supps (Cosequin but double or triple doses). Then we added the Adequan every month. Then we got the acupuncturist and massage therapist. Then we added hock injections every 6 months (then 4, then 3). We added Legend before and after every show.

                      We cut out any lunging or jumping at home, added electromagnet therapy, different shoeing...

                      You get the idea. Eventually we just decided to move him down and semi-retire him.

                      It's been 6 years since he did the big fences, his hocks have not fused and still cause him some pain. He can still jump the 4' fences but rarely does.

                      I want him to retire pasture sound and pain free.

                      Really have a trusted vet look the horse over well. Horses like that are especially good for folks who want to compete at a level a bit lower than what the horse has been capable of doing.


                      • #12
                        The two ex-GP jumpers we had in our barn were both sportin' some interesting jewelry. I'd say the mare was probably about 13-15 and she had done the higher level stuff (opens and some smaller GP's) for a good number of years... she was sturdy and sound... but you could tell she had an impeccable maintenance schedule. Her legs were VERY stocky (super wind-puffs) when she came out... and she had a thicker tendon on one-side... but never took a lame step and would march right down to anything you put in front of her.

                        The gelding was an ex-World Cup horse who had definitely seen his fair share of international competition. He was truly magnificient and is probably the best thing I've ever sat on. His legs looked like he stepped on a land-mine and someone found the pieces and put them back together. All sorts of spavens and bumps and lumps. Sound as the day was long... but I think we all knew better than to really flex him and ask too much. Why break what wasn't showing any signs of splintering? I think he was "supposed to be 15".. but we suspected he was closer to 17. He would charge around a 3'6-3'9 course all day long. Those with heart.. just never lose it. You had the perfect eq horse on the flat... but if someone even uttered the word "jump", his ears pricked and he actually would put his eye on every jump in his sight-line... just waiting for the opportunity to attack it. This horse definitely got all sorts of injections and supplements to keep him going.

                        I would expect a horse that's been using his hind-end quite consistently over anything higher than 3'6 since he was 7-8, where he's jumping and turning and twisting on a jumper course, to have a regular schedule of maintenance in terms of joint supplements & hock/ankle/coffin injections in their teen years and for that to be totally acceptable.