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Buying a horse off the track

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  • Buying a horse off the track

    I've purchased 3 tbs off the track, and with each one I did no pre-purchase. They've all worked out great, with no soundness issues. I was wondering what people typically do when buying off the track : pre-purchase or none. What do you include in a prepurchase?

  • #2
    I've never done a pre-purchase on a horse I've gotten off the track, but I've also never gotten a horse from connections I didn't know and who weren't very willing to run-down every injury/issue they've had with the horse.
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    • #3
      I had a vet (I wasn't there) do a basic once-over and watch the horse jog, but no x-rays or blood. For a $600 horse with no history of injury or long layoffs I wasn't going to add on all the bells and whistles. Given I could look up on equibase and see any history oddities, I was less worried than I would be about buying out of some joker around here's backyard where God alone only knows what they horse has been up to, or out of a show barn where who knows what the horse was given before the vet arrived.

      Of course, again, I wasn't there--I never actually saw Lucky until he got off the trailer at my barn. If i were nearby and could come and go, and if I were paying $2500+ for one, I might want the x-rays. Or if there was a huge gap or a 'vanned off' on equibase with no clear explanation.
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      • #4
        I sold on of our horses to a woman who only wanted him scoped...kind of a strange PPE!

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        • #5
          I pick up and give away OTTBs, and have also bought quite a few from people i know at the track. Never had any issues that were not temporary or extremely minor. The key is, as the previous poster said, buy/get only from reputable folks who know the horses from nose to tail.
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          • #6
            I saw my current OTTB run a mile in his 5th race as a 3 year old, coming in dead last. He lightly cantered back to the tunnel under the grandstands and looked happy and sound. No PPE. Came home with me from the backside 3 days later, and I rode him outside the following day.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
              I sold on of our horses to a woman who only wanted him scoped...kind of a strange PPE!
              If she had any goals of hard-riding this horse, (ie: foxhunting, PtP's, distance, or show jumping) getting a basic scope,or even a BAL is a good idea to check for current or past bleeding/its effects, possible throat surgeries, or needed surgeries -- or even to have a baseline.

              Im inclined more often than not now to have a scope over the usual x-rays as those issues are usually pretty obvious.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by brightskyfarm View Post
                If she had any goals of hard-riding this horse, (ie: foxhunting, PtP's, distance, or show jumping) getting a basic scope,or even a BAL is a good idea to check for current or past bleeding/its effects, possible throat surgeries, or needed surgeries -- or even to have a baseline.

                Im inclined more often than not now to have a scope over the usual x-rays as those issues are usually pretty obvious.
                Her goal was to make him a hunter (which she did). He had run 2 days earlier finishing a good 4th, and she was back at the barn to watch him cool out. Thats why I found it strange, he was clean legged which was obvious, and had only run a few times. This horse was priced a little higher than the norm, so I guess she felt like she had to do something.

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                • #9
                  Having gotten an OTTB with a wind problem, I can see the scoping vs. xrays. If they can't breathe, it doesn't matter if they have a chip.
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                  • #10
                    I can't afford to do PPE's on my purchases...but I to only buy from know long standing relationships.

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                    • #11
                      In my opinion, a general look see by the track vet won't turn up much. If you are serious about a PPE, a full work up with blood samples and full ex-rays, scoping, etc, is the way to go. I prefer to take my chances and if the price is right on the horse, and I feel good about it, just hand over the cash and take the animal home. I don't resell, nor do I compete at the upper levels. I've never had any issues as of yet with soundness or suitability.
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                      • #12
                        We don't normally do PPE's on OTTB's, as long as we've seen and evaluated the horse. If we have any questions, we get the track vet to do quick onceover and flexions. If we have any more questions than that, we walk away. There's plenty of horses, and you'll get caught on something, so there's no reason to buy if there's any doubt.

                        If you look hard enough and long enough, you always find something - they're HORSES. We had one buyer do 46 xray views on a (not very expensive) purchase.

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                        • #13
                          I decided not to do a PPE exam on the mare I just bought. The exam was a) likely to cost more then the actual horse and b) probably wouldn't turn up anything I didn't already know (aka, puffy ankles).

                          I was buying her from somebody I knew very well. Her race owners had disclosed everything - I had ridden horses previously owned by them so I knew they were honest. I also had a bunch of horse people who I knew and respected look her over and check her legs out.

                          I did phone a vet to inquire about pricing. He basically told me it wasn't worth doing the exam.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                            Her goal was to make him a hunter (which she did). He had run 2 days earlier finishing a good 4th, and she was back at the barn to watch him cool out. Thats why I found it strange, he was clean legged which was obvious, and had only run a few times. This horse was priced a little higher than the norm, so I guess she felt like she had to do something.
                            If a horse has no other obvious reason for not running well, then a scoping is in order; just as any other diagnostic to find reason/cause. Sure, everyone says "just too slow", but there are cases when theres no reason this should apply. If a horse is in good breeding and seemingly capable ability, then one has to ask? Perhaps theres an old surgery in there no one is disclosing or one thats failed ..or a few other senarios to choose from.--bleeding, breathing.
                            For a minimal cost, and only minutes to look -- Im encouraging this as part of the PPE's on the track horses I sell and definitely on the ones I buy. (Yes, I know these trainers like family --- good fences make good neighbors theory)
                            A horse can bleed at any time, best checked directly after a race, so your woman took her best shot, that was really great --- I wish more people would be willing to purchse in this manner.
                            Each good solid sale of an Off-track increases the chances for another person to consider one too.
                            IN GOD WE TRUST
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                            • #15
                              I have come across alot of OTTB's including the one that I just purchased. In every case I found that the track people that had the horses willingly disclosed anything that to their knowledge was wrong with the horses including vices. Definitly check out who you are buying from but most track people, especially the smaller barns, love thier horses and want to see them go to a good home. My geldng that I purchased from a dealer no less had had any injuries fully disclosed to me, which was basically a pulled suspensory a year and a half previous and all of the details on his care during recovery. I highly reccomend OTTB's. Most have a been there\ done that attitude and they make great trail horses.

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                              • #16
                                I guess I have a different philosophy. I have vetted all of the OTTBs with films (front feet/ankles/hocks) except for my current horse. I fostered him for six months, he was in regular work and I had his full medical records from his owner. In his case I had my vet do a once over knowing that my horse had tweaked a suspensory.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by brightskyfarm View Post
                                  If a horse has no other obvious reason for not running well, then a scoping is in order; just as any other diagnostic to find reason/cause. Sure, everyone says "just too slow", but there are cases when theres no reason this should apply. If a horse is in good breeding and seemingly capable ability, then one has to ask? Perhaps theres an old surgery in there no one is disclosing or one thats failed ..or a few other senarios to choose from.--bleeding, breathing.
                                  For a minimal cost, and only minutes to look -- Im encouraging this as part of the PPE's on the track horses I sell and definitely on the ones I buy. (Yes, I know these trainers like family --- good fences make good neighbors theory)
                                  A horse can bleed at any time, best checked directly after a race, so your woman took her best shot, that was really great --- I wish more people would be willing to purchse in this manner.
                                  Each good solid sale of an Off-track increases the chances for another person to consider one too.
                                  I see your point, and the horse was just really slow. We also had him scoped after he ran, with zero bleeding which was disclosed. She was really trying to buy his half brother and I talked her out of it, way to much horse for this woman. She thanked me later!

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                                  • #18
                                    We only place horses that come from reputable folks we have long standing relationships with. The trainer sees these horses every day, does all the maintenance on them, scrutinizes their every step. We don't do any vetting before taking them simply because if there is any reason to have a vet look them over, it has already been done by the trainer. And some are slow simply because they don't want to run, period. Not because there is anything physical wrong with them. It's such a misconception that they are automatically thought to have issues if they don't win.
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                                    • #19
                                      Didn't vet either of mine. One came as a 3 year old with only 6 starts and never in the money. He's a tiny little guy, onl 15.1, but built like a tank and just plain LAZY. Found him through an exercise rider friend with a good trainer contact.

                                      The other, I bought on the strength of his conformation and connections with the FL Finest.

                                      Both of mine have really good bone.

                                      The biggest disaster I've ever had was the mare that I paid the most for and vetted to the hilt.
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