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I was sold a broken horse. Sometimes horse people stink. Remember, buyer beware.

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  • I was sold a broken horse. Sometimes horse people stink. Remember, buyer beware.

    In October I bought a horse. Silly, silly me.

    I rode the horse 5 times. First time was wonderful. 2-3 times were a little more of a struggle with him flinging his head around because he wanted me to be so exact in my riding, but hey- he was a little bit of a schoolmaster and I knew if I needed to move up, I needed to bring my A game. I also was pretty sick with an ear infection so I thought it was me. Seller's trainer said it looked like I had developed some performance nerves after offering for him and I wasn't riding as boldly as the first day . I believed her. After all, she was the 4* rider. I was the one wanting to buy an amateur friendly horse to move up with. She said he was so easy and that his owner was a very timid amateur and did just fine. If I ran into any issues just put him in draw reins. She said all the horses in Germany were started that way. I didn't like the sound of that but she's the one who's a 4* trainer. Her family was eventing royalty, really. I had to trust the well-respected pro, right? So on went the draw reins and then things were fine. Horse quieted down and we had a lovely ride. She promised me that after a few weeks in the draw reins, I could take the training wheels off and it would be easy.

    The owner and agent had him pre-PPEed "so they would know if there were any issues in advance". I spoke to that vet at length. She's an FEI vet and I have met her before. I liked her. (Silly me). She assured me the horse was completely sound and comfortable in his body. Got all those x-rays.

    I had the horse PPEed by another well respected vet local to the area. He passed with flying colors. I asked for back and neck x-rays and the PPE vet discouraged me, saying that x-rays in the field weren't all that accurate and sometimes reveal things that don't really affect the horse's performance and if I wanted good images, I should take him to the hospital. That's very discouraging and the seller already had also run down previous buyers saying they had taken too long with all the blood tests and diagnostics. I didn't want to be that person. After all, they were the well-respected experts, right? It all sounds so naive of me in retrospect. It WAS naive of me.

    The horse gets shipped to me. The first day off the trailer he is clearly the same sort of fussy in his back and contact. Again, I assumed it was me. After all, I'm the AA. They were the pros. I backed off how much I asked. Next day, same. Day after that, same. Wouldn't move off the leg, difficulties in contact. Bucking into the canter transition. Inverting. Same day after day.

    During this time I texted pre-PPE FEI vet and ask her again if the horse has had any back or SI issues. She responds: "I will have to review his history but I'm pretty sure he did not have any back or SI issues when X owned him. He has been very sound and comfortable in his body." I assume it's somehow me. I had the chiropractor out. Saddle fitter. Instructor. Another instructor. Myofascial release. Dentist. Get some robaxin for his back. Get another saddle.

    He's sweet for all the practitioners and moves well on the longe but under saddle is problematic. He gives a little rear for the pro who insists on putting him together. And then for another pro. Vet injects SI and deep lumbars and recommends sending him for full training. I send him to the pro and we decide to start from the ground up and send him to the local hospital where vet watches him go and ultrasounds his pelvis, where clear evidence of a previous fracture his shown. Significant atrophy in one side of SI. Lumbar discs are involved, and there's arthritis. Prognosis is poor. He never could have done the job I bought him for and never will. Calls and texts with the trainer/seller start positive, "I will do anything to make this situation right for you, including taking him back." and devolve quickly when I tell her I found out about the broken pelvis: "I never told you I would take him back."

    7 months ago I bought a Bronze medal prospect. I'm now getting names of retirement farms. Worst part is that he's the horse I bought to make me feel better after having to put my OTTB down last August due to a recumbent sleep disorder. I fell in love with his sweet and social personality. So now I am facing another loss- to my heart, my wallet, and my confidence.

    Don't be me. When the scary music is playing in the background, listen to it.




  • #2
    That is a horrifying tale. And people wonder why this "industry" has a bad name...
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, it is also possible that the sellers did not xray the back. I assume the injuries were older and they wouldn't have bought the horse either if they had known. He started showing behavior problems they attributed to the rider and sold him fast.

      I know of one otherwise sweet mare who was passed from pillar to post as a late start, bit chomping, sold to an ammie who got.dumped and injured, started spinning at the canter, and at the age of *17* was found to have impacted wolf teeth that needed to be surgically removed. I last saw her at a clinic two weeks after the surgery. Still not hsppy.

      Anyhow that anecdote is to point out that people often don't do the seemingly obvious diagnostics on physical issues because it doesn't occur to them or is too expensive.

      But I completely agree with your larger point which is that we shouldn't be rushed into buying something when our spidey senses say there is a problem.
      Last edited by Scribbler; Apr. 12, 2019, 11:36 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hold on a sec.....did the previous owner/trainer know about the old broken pelvis injury? Did the PPE vet/clinic know about it? They should have done the right thing and retired the horse, not sell him on to a career they knew he couldn't do. Talk about dishonest

        Comment


        • #5
          I would think that the previous owners would know as it would have become obvious while working the horse, just as it became obvious to you that something was wrong.

          Or maybe they thought it was a training issue and unhappily rode him through it.

          I find it hard to believe that a FEI vet 1. Wouldn't notice anything funky at a thorough PPE/in his history. 2. As an FEI vet would put their status on the line and be dishonest.

          Really hard to tell what exactly went on.

          I've gotten decent enough back and neck x-rays "im the field" FWIW, at a PPE nonetheless. With a FEI vet nonetheless one of the back x rays (lower back) wasn't exactly crystal clear but we could see what I was or wasn't looking for. Maybe it depends on their machine?

          Either way it just plain sucks. I know where I am from the seller must take the horse back. But our rules are kind of odd and different from North America I believe.

          If they knew the horse was "broken" and wanted to sell him for money and let someone else handle/foot the bill for retirement, that's just plain sh*tty.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            When I asked previous seller about it, the reply was "Good grief! He was competing fine!". I think a regular person who truly did not know would have been slightly more horrified.

            When I asked the pre-PPE vet about it her carefully worded reply was:

            "I will have to review his history but I'm pretty sure he did not have any back or SI issues when Ms. X owned him. He has been very sound and comfortable in his body."

            Then I mailed my vet's report with the disclosure of the break and they went silent on me.

            The horse was imported 3 years ago and has been in this owner/trainer's care since then.

            X-rays probably wouldn't have shown anything since the pelvis is notorious for being hard to image. He does, however, have a huge asymmetry from right side to left and a very large lumbar roach.


            I am happy to PM names if only to allow others to proceed with extreme caution when using these professionals. Mid-Atlantic area.

            Comment


            • #7
              The SI asymmetry and the lumbar roach are visible to the eye? That to me would be a huge warning sign. Honestly I wouldn't even do a trial ride on a horse showing evidence of SI injuries. Even a hunters bump gives me pause.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm sorry that you are in this situation. However, if the former owner/trainer didn't know about the injury and x-rays wouldn't have shown them the injury at any point in time, I'm not sure how much bashing I would be doing if I were you. They were willing to take the horse back when it seemed like it was a mismatch and would have simply resold, but are now silent because you unearthed a problem that they cannot sell. You admit that x-rays would have likely not found the problem, so if you had done x-rays of the back in the PPE (which may have presented clear) would you still be feeling taken?

                In terms of their reaction, if that's over a text message sounds about right. Sounds like he was actively competing and gave them no indication of the previous injury. It sounds like he never presented lame to you either, just uncooperative (which with horses could generally be any 1 in 1000 reasons) and if a good pro could get him working through it previously they may not have gone crazy looking for a reason for it. Again, sorry you are in this situation, but I personally would chalk this up to bad luck...

                Also, you have previous posts including the vet practice used. Pretty highly esteemed in the area and while nothing really surprises me, I would be surprised if they were hiding something like this from you.

                (correction, misread prior post)

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is so nice of you to retire the horse. I would not blame you for putting him down
                  ive been lucky with my choosing 5 of my horses and 2 different uncles choosing my first 2 horses when I was a child once a man I called about his horse in the ga market bulletin told me I was too young to buy his stud. And my farrier when I was a kid said don't buy the great looking horse for sale at the barn across the road cause he was much older than represented. I listened to both those men and didn't buy either horse
                  Best guys ever are Robert Robold who held my check in Florida until he was sure I could handle Cloudy. And to his seller Roger Seitzmeier (sp). I was worried that my German boy would have something wrong with him. Walked into tack shop in Coco where young woman said her friend had bought one of Roger's imports.but when he got home the horse kept tossing him off. Roger sent his asst down and the horse threw her. Roger had her take the horse and the buyer got to choose another horse out of the 30+ imports he had
                  there are honest horse sellers out there. I'm sorry you did not find one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yet another disgraceful horse buying story. OP, I'm sorry that happened to you and I hope that your tale discourages horse shoppers from doing business with those sellers and vets in the future. May you get many PMs asking for names.
                    www.laurienberenson.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It sounds like he may have been imported with the fracture? If nobody knew anything about it they may have just felt he needed pro rides on occasion to stay put together.

                      If some of the injuries are visible to the eye I have to question why it never came up in any of the previous PPEs
                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by scruffy the cat View Post
                        In October I bought a horse. Silly, silly me.





                        Calls and texts with the trainer/seller start positive, "I will do anything to make this situation right for you, including taking him back." and devolve quickly when I tell her I found out about the broken pelvis: "I never told you I would take him back."


                        Do you have this in text form? You most certainly cue at least sue for your money back if she agreed to take the horse back and then recant.

                        "Do what you can't do"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry sounds like you bought a horse you had doubts about to begin with.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So sorry for your financial and personal loss. However, it was your horse's lucky day that you bought him and persevered to find what was wrong. You are a horseman.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scruffy the cat View Post
                              In October I bought a horse. Silly, silly me.

                              I rode the horse 5 times. First time was wonderful. 2-3 times were a little more of a struggle with him flinging his head around because he wanted me to be so exact in my riding, but hey- he was a little bit of a schoolmaster and I knew if I needed to move up, I needed to bring my A game. I also was pretty sick with an ear infection so I thought it was me. Seller's trainer said it looked like I had developed some performance nerves after offering for him and I wasn't riding as boldly as the first day . I believed her. After all, she was the 4* rider. I was the one wanting to buy an amateur friendly horse to move up with. She said he was so easy and that his owner was a very timid amateur and did just fine. If I ran into any issues just put him in draw reins. She said all the horses in Germany were started that way. I didn't like the sound of that but she's the one who's a 4* trainer. Her family was eventing royalty, really. I had to trust the well-respected pro, right? So on went the draw reins and then things were fine. Horse quieted down and we had a lovely ride. She promised me that after a few weeks in the draw reins, I could take the training wheels off and it would be easy.

                              The owner and agent had him pre-PPEed "so they would know if there were any issues in advance". I spoke to that vet at length. She's an FEI vet and I have met her before. I liked her. (Silly me). She assured me the horse was completely sound and comfortable in his body. Got all those x-rays.

                              I had the horse PPEed by another well respected vet local to the area. He passed with flying colors. I asked for back and neck x-rays and the PPE vet discouraged me, saying that x-rays in the field weren't all that accurate and sometimes reveal things that don't really affect the horse's performance and if I wanted good images, I should take him to the hospital. That's very discouraging and the seller already had also run down previous buyers saying they had taken too long with all the blood tests and diagnostics. I didn't want to be that person. After all, they were the well-respected experts, right? It all sounds so naive of me in retrospect. It WAS naive of me.

                              The horse gets shipped to me. The first day off the trailer he is clearly the same sort of fussy in his back and contact. Again, I assumed it was me. After all, I'm the AA. They were the pros. I backed off how much I asked. Next day, same. Day after that, same. Wouldn't move off the leg, difficulties in contact. Bucking into the canter transition. Inverting. Same day after day.

                              During this time I texted pre-PPE FEI vet and ask her again if the horse has had any back or SI issues. She responds: "I will have to review his history but I'm pretty sure he did not have any back or SI issues when X owned him. He has been very sound and comfortable in his body." I assume it's somehow me. I had the chiropractor out. Saddle fitter. Instructor. Another instructor. Myofascial release. Dentist. Get some robaxin for his back. Get another saddle.

                              He's sweet for all the practitioners and moves well on the longe but under saddle is problematic. He gives a little rear for the pro who insists on putting him together. And then for another pro. Vet injects SI and deep lumbars and recommends sending him for full training. I send him to the pro and we decide to start from the ground up and send him to the local hospital where vet watches him go and ultrasounds his pelvis, where clear evidence of a previous fracture his shown. Significant atrophy in one side of SI. Lumbar discs are involved, and there's arthritis. Prognosis is poor. He never could have done the job I bought him for and never will. Calls and texts with the trainer/seller start positive, "I will do anything to make this situation right for you, including taking him back." and devolve quickly when I tell her I found out about the broken pelvis: "I never told you I would take him back."

                              7 months ago I bought a Bronze medal prospect. I'm now getting names of retirement farms. Worst part is that he's the horse I bought to make me feel better after having to put my OTTB down last August due to a recumbent sleep disorder. I fell in love with his sweet and social personality. So now I am facing another loss- to my heart, my wallet, and my confidence.

                              Don't be me. When the scary music is playing in the background, listen to it.


                              I find this very sad, for you and the horse.

                              Though sad I am not sure I am willing to say that everyone was being deceitful along the way.
                              Like some of the posts above, it sounds like people thought this horse simply needed a pro ride from time to time and then it went fine.

                              Does the horse have a successful show record?

                              Originally posted by scruffy the cat
                              X-rays probably wouldn't have shown anything since the pelvis is notorious for being hard to image. He does, however, have a huge asymmetry from right side to left and a very large lumbar roach.
                              This is what confuses me.
                              If there is a left to right symmetry that is "huge" and a large lumbar roach why was this never discussed at any of the exams or by any of your trainers?
                              Did you not notice it when you were trying the horse?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                First off, BTDT, as have many longtime owners on here. Looking back after the fact there were some things I glossed over when buying the horse I shouldn't have, suspect that's how others ended up in the same situation. Not going to beat you over the head with the shoulda woulda coulda for something many of us also learned the hard way.

                                BUT, also not convinced you were deliberately screwed by all parties here. It's an old fracture he likely has had for a long time and many vets don't have the portable equipment to diagnose and many owners don't want to spend $$$$ hauling to a clinic with no specific symptoms to narrow the area to be imaged enough to be affordable.

                                It bothers me there was visible asymmetry in the hind end and a '"jumper bump" which often is indicative of SI issues. If this is the horse you posted about last fall, you also encountered saddle fit trouble and did not have your instructor evaluate the horse for you as she had another sale horse and you felt she would have too much conflict of interest and would therefore lack the professionalism to offer an honest opinion.

                                No idea what was or was not said by the vets or if somebody was trying to screw you but you also did not do some things you should have and might be unfairly implying a rather large conspiracy involving all past owners, agents and vets to knowingly sell you a horse with known career limiting injuries. Dragging them all through the mud might not be the way to proceed here. Seeing an attorney might work better.

                                Oh, did you check to see if the horse had actually been competing recently with the approriate organization? Normally vets do what the owner authorizes and agents go by what they are told, not their job to research all claims. There may be a lie here but very much doubt everybody was in on it or deserves an internet trashing.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It sounds like quite a saga, and I'm sorry that you had to go through this.

                                  I do think it's plausible, as others have said, that the sellers didn't know that there was an underlying medical issue. Now, maybe they *should* have known that some of the horse's issues were not just training issues or temperament. But one question is whether they had actively been showing him? Had he done well? If he had, you can kind of see how they might have thought that really, he's fine physically. (When really he was incredibly stoic).

                                  It seems unlikely to me that a reputable vet would try to cover up a horse's significant physical problem just to allow a sale to go through.

                                  The fact that they've not returned your calls/emails since they learned that the horse does in fact have a significant physical issue is probably because they're worried about being sued. (Just guessing).

                                  Good luck, and once again, I'm so sorry you have had this experience.
                                  "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Until horses come with a diagnostic socket, so we can just plug in and get a read out of everything that is going on, these things are going to happen.

                                    Biggest take from me, always walk away if your gut tells you too, because you never kill that feeling. When it's tapping you in the shoulder there is a reason.
                                    "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                                    "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm mystified by the posts saying the seller probably didn't realize anything was wrong with the horse.

                                      It defies (my) belief that an self-named AA rider would get on a horse and quickly know it had a problem while a 4* rider was unable to feel that anything was amiss.


                                      www.laurienberenson.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I admit I am curious-- was the horse actively competing when/before you purchased it?

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