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What is a deal breaker for you on a PPE?

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  • What is a deal breaker for you on a PPE?

    So, I just had the horse we're considering vetted. 8 yr old QH, currently a 3d/4d barrel horse and trail horse. I don't do barrels and am looking for a trail/ fun horse that the whole family could ride. Horse is walking/ trotting fine, but flexions show the beginnings of arthritis In the right hock.

    I have bought 2 horses before him, one a totally unhandled 3 year old who vetted perfectly and one ( my current horse) who has excellent conformation but a previous injury which limits his athletic abilities some but doesn't prevent him from doing dressage. I bought him despite the injury.

    When you buy a horse, do you require a perfect vet exam? I'm slightly surprised because the seller was selling him as totally sound ( obviously its in the early stages and she didn't know).

  • #2
    A little arthritis in a hock is absolutely not a deal breaker. Particularly not for a flippin' trail horse.

    I bought a 7yo Quarter horse with some minor arthritic changes in one hock. Eight years later he has not taken a lame step in his life. Walks out of the stall a smidge stiff those rare times when he has had to be inside for a few days due to ice. Has had no treatment for it apart from regular turnout. He is a lovely, expressive mover and we school many 2nd level dressage movements. I would have no issue marketing him as "100% sound".


    • #3
      A little hock arthritis wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, especially when he isn't currently lame and no doubt passed flexions, since you went to x-rays. I bought a seven y.o. mare with a hock spur, and she never took a lame step.
      Mystic Owl Sporthorses


      • #4
        I'm a stickler (well, paranoid and crazy might be a better way to put it) but arthritic changes in an 8 year old wouldnt fly with me. It's only going to get worse and may require meds, supplements, injections etc.

        I personally want a clean slate when I buy a horse, since so much can go wrong after you get them.

        Doesnt matter if its a trail horse or a jumper, i'd like to not pay for pain meds, injections etc if I dont have to.
        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


        • #5
          For intense sport like eventing or dressage a hint of soon to come arthritis would definitely give me pause. For a trail horse to play on, to try a little bit of this, a little bit of that, maybe clear a log, maybe some low level fun dressage I don't think what you mentioned is a problem at all. Heck all the retired old schoolmasters that some of us are lucky enough to ride in lessons are chock full of old age issues like arthritis. It's a consequence of age at least.

          I figure if you keep an animal long enough you're going to get introduced to things like Previcox or special hoof trims, or shoes, or special feeds or some darned thing as he ages.

          Go for it.
          JMO of course
          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


          • #6
            There are no perfect horses so you have to look at what the vet finds against what you plan to do with the horse. Mild arthritic changes in a horse to be used for trail riding wouldn't concern me in the least.
            Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


            • #7
              It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me if my intended use was family/trail horse.
              "Aye God, Woodrow..."


              • #8
                My vet once told me that any vet can make any horse flex positive, so to him there is really no perfect PPE. I think you have to take into consideration what your plans for the horse are and if anything on the PPE would prevent him to do those things, only then would I pass.
                Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
                The Barkalicious Bakery
                On Facebook!!!


                • #9
                  I guess it would depend on budget and the other factors that are positives here.... I guess for a trail horse I would try to keep looking since there are a lot available.

                  8 is really young to get this but I know of another QH who is lame from hock arthritis even at just WTC.

                  I have dealt with it and its not the most major issue in the world, but its worrying and expensive. It just hate when the expense starts adding up--extra 100-200 a month adds up fast.

                  for ME personally legs and feet are a deal breaker if the horse is already flexing sore. X-rays being off don't bother me as much.


                  • #10
                    If the horse was the right fit in every way BUT the beginnings of arthritis, I'd still consider it for trails/fun.
                    Owned by a Paint/TB and an OTTB.
                    RIP Scoutin' For Trouble ~ 2011 at 10
                    RIP Tasha's Last Tango ~ 2010 at ~23
                    RIP In Sha' Allah ~ 2009 too young at 5


                    • #11
                      Flexions showed arthritis?

                      Flexions can show an issue, but they can't show WHAT the issue is. Could also be a chip couldn't it? Could also be something higher up in the stifle as it is hard to really flex one without the other flexing at all.

                      Could also be a short term soft tissue issue.

                      With the hock, the severity of the issue also depends on which part of the hock is affected; upper or lower joint.

                      So, I guess I would want more information...and if I didn't want to spend the money to get it, then I would know I was going to pass on the horse. You could also see if the seller was willing to spring for the xrays.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        True. Without films there's now way to know for sure what's really going on in there.

                        And moonriver, that is so true about being able to really nobble the outcome with incorrectly performed flexions.

                        Either way though OP, it wouldn't bother me. You've, of course, got to make your own decision, but if I were in your shoes I'd offer a bit of a lower price (I wouldn't lowball them) and press on.
                        "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                        • Original Poster

                          Well, we still need to get x-rays, but the vet seemed pretty confident that it was in the hock and probably arthritis.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KiraSophia View Post
                            Well, we still need to get x-rays, but the vet seemed pretty confident that it was in the hock and probably arthritis.
                            I'd be going to another vet, cause there is just NO WAY that he can know this is arthritis from a flexion test.
                            Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


                            • #15
                              I would expect that barrel racing is hard on hocks. He may have been hard used which is why he could be showing arthritis at a young age. I suspect he would be fine for his intended use. I guess for me it would depend on how much I liked him otherwise (and the x-rays of course). And how hard it was to find a horse you liked (is he the 3rd horse you've looked at or the 30th?)


                              • #16
                                There used to be an official vet "designation" called "Serviceably Sound for the Use Intended." This means, in your case, as a trail horse that hock arthritis is unlikely to bother him. If you were looking to jump 3'6" all day, it would be another story entirely.

                                Look at it this way; few of us would pass the physical for the Navy Seals. But fortunately, most of us don't HAVE to!


                                • #17
                                  Flexions are very user dependent, and I don't think it's a terribly specific test of anything. I think if someone forced me to bent my leg in just the right (or wrong?) way, they could make me take a lame step or two.

                                  I'd get xrays for a baseline if you're still interested in the horse, but keep in mind that xrays are only part of the picture. Some horses have awful, horrible looking films and move sound. Some horses have apparently minimal changes on films and are near crippled. Especially if there are no prior films to compare to, it's hard to say what any one moment in time means. If there are prior films, that could potentially be either reassuring or worrisome. If the same stuff was seen several years ago, hasn't changed and hasn't bothered the horse, I think it's almost a non-issue. On the other hand, if there was nothing a year ago and now the hock looks dramatically worse, I'd be more worried.

                                  My own horse is a case in point: she has mild navicular changes on xrays. The films were taken trying to figure out a mystery heel soreness / lameness that eventually resolved without any real specific treatment. That was almost 5 years ago, and she has yet to require anything, no supplements, injections, meds, special shoes or trimming, NOTHING, despite being worked 4-5 days/week. Watching her on the lounge line or under saddle, you can't see any sign of lameness. So does she have navicular disease? I'd say no, but if I were to sell her (hypothetically, she's got a forever home with me), she wouldn't vet clean.

                                  To me, the more important question is what is the horse doing NOW? Is he being ridden regularly at roughly the intensity level you want to do or higher, or has he sat in the pasture for a year? I'd be more concerned if the horse isn't in regular work now, because you can't tell what will change once you start working him.

                                  The other question is how much maintenance are you willing/able to do, if the horse needed it somewhere down the line? Could you do joint supplements? Adequan? Legend? Joint injections? A good family horse is worth his weight in gold, and lots of people are willing to do the maintenance to keep him going. However, if you know that anything beyond joint supplements is outside your budget, you might want to pass.

                                  It all depends on your tolerance for risk
                                  Good luck
                                  Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
                                  Crayola Posse: sea green
                                  Mighty Rehabbers Clique


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by KiraSophia View Post

                                    When you buy a horse, do you require a perfect vet exam? I'm slightly surprised because the seller was selling him as totally sound ( obviously its in the early stages and she didn't know).
                                    If you ever get a "perfect vet exam" result run, don't walk, to a new vet. Really, there's no such thing. Very occasionally you'll hear of practically perfect x-rays, but otherwise I'd be concerned if the vet said there was absolutely nothing wrong.

                                    Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                                    There used to be an official vet "designation" called "Serviceably Sound for the Use Intended." This means, in your case, as a trail horse that hock arthritis is unlikely to bother him. If you were looking to jump 3'6" all day, it would be another story entirely.

                                    Now I'd be mildly concerned about arthritis at the age of 8...but it might not entirely turn me off either. Like others have said what is the horse currently doing? Are you okay with some maintenance work on him later in life? How about the possibility of not being able to sell him?
                                    If it were me I'd try to look at some comparable horses, and then if you're still thinking of this guy then there's your decision.


                                    • #19
                                      I would not even worry about it!
                                      I bought a 3 YO TB years ago, and X rays showed arthritic changes in the right hock.
                                      He is 11 YO now, has shown in the jumpers (up to 4'), did a full winter at WEF, he is now a foxhunting horse/eventing horse. He has never been lame and all we had to do is inject him once a year... Totally worth it.

                                      I mean come on, we are talking about a trail/family horse here. Most of the horses at the farm where I boardwould not vet 100%... PSG horse has SI issues, dressage mare/hock issues, 2 EPM, one has side bones, one stiffle catching issues, one has metabolic disorder, one needs maintenance, hunter has hock maintenance issues ... I mean if you look long enough, you will find something ...
                                      Hocks are easily managed.


                                      • #20
                                        I agree that its always something on PPEs. It can be hard to decipher what may be an issue and what is not.

                                        It is fine to say "If the horse is sound doing the same or higher level of work" - the problem is that you usually dont know. The owner may consider is sound but not mention its "ouchy days" or that is sometimes seemed balky etc. That might signal that the issue is actually bothering the horse, but it is hard to find out.

                                        It is always a roll of the dice. Signs of arthritis in an 8 yo are a strike against it, but as others have said, you wont find a perfect PPE from a competent vet. And vets generally refuse to use their crystal ball to tell you if this will bother the horse in the future.

                                        If the horse flexes and x-rays with significant arthritis, I would think hard. There are a lot of nice horses for sale. It also depends on your level of "trail riding" People use that to mean everything from a half hour walk-trot on groomed trails to three hour rides up and down mountains! And it depends on your resources for vet care and retirement care. Those who have a trusted vet for maintenance and a back pasture to keep a retiree can afford to gamble more.