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Hi all...I've always Leased horses and this past year finally started looking at some for sale. I found the experience to be a little overwhelming once we had the first PPE done, mostly in regards to the x-rays. I heard a lot of 'well, it might hold up for now, but maybe not later' and it just didn't seem decisive to me. The experience left me feeling like I need more education around what is normal and what is a bigger risk when things pop up on x-rays for horses.

I feel like I could benefit from some more input from other riders on what they would deem acceptable on a very fabulous, exceptionally trained horse in the age range 8-12...and what they would walk away from. Any thoughts on OTTB xrays is also appreciated, as that is what I predominantly ride.

I'd love to know: for a horse that's intended job is to be a Hunter, primarily in the 2'6"-3'3" range, what are things that could pop up in the Xrays that would make you balk at purchasing the horse?

In addition, what are some you might live with? Any thoughts on a healed bone chip in the front pastern or coffin joint, for example?

Thank you!!
(and yes, I do have a trainer helping me, but I do want to hear some truly un-biased thoughts!:smile:)
 

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Your trainer can help sway you but trainers don't hang a legal shingle to practice medicine that a vet does...trainers truly don't have x-ray eyes or a crystal ball...
Trainers also are getting a cut of the price paid, aka commission or finders fee or just paid up front so take that and think about it..


Your vet should be the one person whose guidance you truly listen to.
I've seen vets hedge, they don't have a crystal ball, but they do have experience of years of animals seen and handled...
A seasoned vet with a known reputation is so very important for PPE work.
Will you get a pass or fail...don't think so, at least I never did.
I did get a explanation of the read film of what is seen, what is a good probability of happening, what is unknown and what is a gut feeling of destiny based on the job you want that horse to continue to do for you...are they falling apart, going to need maintenance or are they on the way out and done...or does all look good to go and no worries at that exact moment in time.

Bone chips...would make a difference where and how large you refer to..
How long ago it happened, how set and healed is it and how much and what kind of intervention has already taken place.
For me... bone chips in joints...to me is a no-go and would be a walk-away for a horse jumping or pounding work of endurance...
Repeated concussions can cause adverse wear, tear and aggravated joint capsules...calcification of a "now-healed" broken bone {that is what a chip is}...what kind of interference with the joint, even minuscule is it doing and for how long.
I think of it this way...every step is a continual eroding of that exact spot on the rest of the joint when in time the likelihood of a similar breakdown is greater than a animal who never had a fracture and heal and all healing is done by calcification of the injury site...
Again, your very knowledgeable vet is the one to guide you with sharing of the pictures taken that are crystal clear to see and understand what they are showing you..
Racetrack vets are some of the best on x-rays and predictions as that is a huge part of their daily work...

Good luck.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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In addition, what are some you might live with? Any thoughts on a healed bone chip in the front pastern or coffin joint, for example?

I would want more info.



How did the horse flex for lameness exam? Did the horse exhibit lameness?


How does the horse ride? Is there anything off about their movements?


I myself would probably walk away from a bone chip; probably. Especially if it was on the coffin joint. Front foot lameness is such a pain in the bum to manage.



Of course, it's harder to walk away if the horse is the perfect candidate and exactly what you are looking for!!



Something that would NOT deter me is fusing hocks. Those can be injected and managed decently.

And remember that xrays are only xrays. They do not give you any info about the soft tissue around. So I, again, would pay more attention to how the horse feels and moves.



I also have a horse with tons of horrible front feet issues, and his xrays are perfect and clean. So that's an example where the xrays do not let on to the issue. So again, they are just another tool to look at the big picture.
 

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regards to the x-rays. I heard a lot of 'well, it might hold up for now, but maybe not later' and it just didn't seem decisive to me. The experience left me feeling like I need more education around what is normal
Don't get me started on 'what is normal' compared to what is no problem - so many pathologies are considered normal... But on your note, it depends first on what you're talking about, why you/the vet felt the need to xray, what you want from a horse... 'might hold up for now' sounds like a pretty poor prognosis, but if it's a cheap horse & you can afford to keep it & retire if needed, then fine, and you might get a fair few years riding from it too, depending on what is 'holding up'.

I feel like I could benefit from some more input from other riders on what they would deem acceptable on a very fabulous, exceptionally trained horse in the age range 8-12...and what they would walk away from. Any thoughts on OTTB xrays is also appreciated, as that is what I predominantly ride.
You need to provide more info. Firstly, why did the vet feel the need to xray for starters - was the horse lame for the PPE, had some stiffness...?? And what exactly was found & where? Osteo arthritis? Articular(in the joint) damage? Ringbone? ...?? And esp if you're looking only at OT horses, it's pretty much a given that there will be some probs there, damage from being worked very hard, very young for eg. But then, if you're wanting a horse for trail riding, perhaps a little low level dressage & the likes, then it could be fine, whereas you wouldn't consider the level of damage it may have if you were looking for a jumper or some other high impact athletic job.
 

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I've never gotten a PPE. Of course My first horse was $500.00 and the next one was $360. After that we paid $2500 for one and then the most expensive was a 14 year old mare $4500 - we did not get an exam for her but she was being purchased for my mom who was pretty much a walk, minimal trot rider so as long as she could handle that - we didn't worry that much. I bred her to get Riley so he was $350 stud fee and then I bought a pony for $1500 that turned out to be crazy so traded her for a Walking horse and then bought Cloud for $2000 as a 6 month old.

All of the horses I bought were green or not trained except Beauty but she was only going to be used for walk trot anyway.

If I were to purchase an OTTB and the cost was under $2500 I don't know if I would bother with the X-rays. If the price was any higher than I would get them. (Of course this is ME - this is not me telling anyone what I think they should do). As for what would be a second thought. Any signs of Navicular or coffin bone issues would have me reconsidering. signs of arthritis would have me thinking and discussing with the vet but not necessarily a no for me BUT I'm not a huge hunter jumper - I do some smaller stuff local level if and when I do ride english, which isn't as often anymore.

existing injuries would be a discussion with the vet, lesions, signs of fractures that may have healed, bone spurs, etc. All up for discussion. If you are planning to do a lot of jumping then you really want to look for a horse that wasn't run as much. Maybe one that didn't qualify at the gate or lost a bunch of races because it's just not a runner... Not one that's been run to the ground and back....

Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited by Moderator)
Your trainer can help sway you but trainers don't hang a legal shingle to practice medicine that a vet does...trainers truly don't have x-ray eyes or a crystal ball...
Trainers also are getting a cut of the price paid, aka commission or finders fee or just paid up front so take that and think about it..
This is why I wanted to ask on here...I love my trainer, but when she sees a fabulous horse she wants me to get...well, she's not the one who has to pay the bills for the horse. I'm more reserved and careful.

I would want more info.
How did the horse flex for lameness exam? Did the horse exhibit lameness?
How does the horse ride? Is there anything off about their movements?
I myself would probably walk away from a bone chip; probably. Especially if it was on the coffin joint. Front foot lameness is such a pain in the bum to manage.

Of course, it's harder to walk away if the horse is the perfect candidate and exactly what you are looking for!!

Something that would NOT deter me is fusing hocks. Those can be injected and managed decently.

And remember that xrays are only xrays. They do not give you any info about the soft tissue around. So I, again, would pay more attention to how the horse feels and moves.

I also have a horse with tons of horrible front feet issues, and his xrays are perfect and clean. So that's an example where the xrays do not let on to the issue. So again, they are just another tool to look at the big picture.
Positive on the flexion test, which is why I had a deeper xray on the leg in question. The horse was a dream to ride, smooth as can be, so it was a shock. The deep sand must have hidden any lameness, which became apparent on the cement after the flexion test.

The vet said it is considered re-attached, but the vet also said it likely was a huge deal back in the day for this horse and could be an issue in the future. The bone chip does make me nervous, because the vet said she couldn't be sure how long it would hold out after competing.

My trainer is more lax on it...her view is that any horse can have an issue, which is true, but I think the issue can change things IMO. There was also arthritis present in the joint in question. The horse is also not exactly a low cost horse (which is relative depending on the person) but it isn't a horse under $20K, so I am more wary of buying something with a 'known big risk'.

Thank you for the thoughts on hocks! It is helpful to hear of other things that may pop up in a PPE. I just don't have much experience with it, seeing as I've always leased and never owned (and luckily my leases were rather healthy, sound horses that remained happy and healthy).
 

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I would take a hard pass on a bone chip. For a jumper, definite pass and not passing the flexion test, absolutely not. You are not even talking about a $1,500 gamble either.

For an OTTB I'd look for one without overly long pasterns, and without a straight hind end. Good hooves and great movement. No crooked legs. It can be very difficult to find any OTTB with these attributes that also can pass a PPE.

Most have good shoulders and neck, so don't let those features sell you. Otherwise, if you want to get a horse with some possible issue, you can find these gambles for far cheaper.
 

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My trainer is more lax on it...her view is that any horse can have an issue,
Absolutely. And any horse can also develop issues after you get them, depending on how they're managed and worked. Especially if you're asking for high impact athletic stuff like 'real' jumping. That is hard on a horse anyway & they should be carefully managed & great consideration given to ensure they remain sound for as long as(tends to eventually catch up eventually...). So while they might be fine with certain issues for trail riding or such, best to at least start out with someone strong & sound if you want an athlete.
The horse is also not exactly a low cost horse (which is relative depending on the person) but it isn't a horse under $20K, so I
:eek: :eek: and for that kind of money I'd be not only wanting perfect in every way, but Pegasus!
 

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Just curious but for that price - is it an already re-trained and proven OTTB? I'm assuming a TB is your breed of choice and that's why you are looking that direction? (just curious - no judgment)
 

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The vet said it is considered re-attached, but the vet also said it likely was a huge deal back in the day for this horse and could be an issue in the future. The bone chip does make me nervous, because the vet said she couldn't be sure how long it would hold out after competing.

And vets can never be sure; of course, they just go off their experience.



As another example, one of my horses got a joint infection in the hock over a year ago (puncture his hock on something; never found it). We all didn't think he was going to make it and would have to put him down. Thanks to the efforts of my mother (he was at her place), he pulled through. Vet was shocked to find out he is running around in the pasture with the other horses. She didn't think he would ever be weight bearing on that leg. I basically kept him turned out all year (no riding) to let that hock do what it is going to do, and next year I will start lightly riding him and see if he stays sound enough for the kids. And of course, take him back to the vet to see how horrendous his xrays look, LOL. So I guess there is an example of a horse healing to a point they shouldn't have, based on what happens.


So doesn't mean the horse won't hold out for competing, but of course the trouble is that you have to decide how much you trust your vet's judgement considering all the information.


What do the current owners have to say about the bone chip?




My trainer is more lax on it...her view is that any horse can have an issue, which is true, but I think the issue can change things IMO. There was also arthritis present in the joint in question. The horse is also not exactly a low cost horse (which is relative depending on the person) but it isn't a horse under $20K, so I am more wary of buying something with a 'known big risk'.

You can buy said horse and the next day the severely injure themselves, LOL. I think it is pretty rare for the PPE not to find something; you'll always find something.



But for a horse over $20,000 ? I myself would walk away from a chip on the coffin.
 

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Just curious but for that price - is it an already re-trained and proven OTTB? I'm assuming a TB is your breed of choice and that's why you are looking that direction? (just curious - no judgment)
Ah, yes...I myself get skeptical on OTTB pricing, but in my area they seem to command a crazy price tag once a hunter/jumper barn with a professional program gets ahold of them after the track. There are so many that go for more than $40K just because they have flash or scope...each to their own! As it is...I'm open to warmbloods and OTTBs, it just really matters on how well we get along!

The OTTB I've been waffling on has a beautiful temperament, walks the lines calmly, flashy, auto-leads, all trained in. Frankly, I found the horse to be a bit easier than some of the warmbloods I've tried, the kind who could jump the moon and spook at the same time :D

But...it sounds like bone chips can be more serious than my trainer likes to admit to me, considering she loves this horse. The horse hasn't been to shows yet, he's been in training only, so it makes me fear that after the first big show, the bone chip will finally flare up after jumping 3'3" all weekend...because there is no proof the horse has gone through a whole 3-4 days jumping like that in competition. It just seems a little 'more' risky than a horse that maybe just has arthritis or needs special shoeing...
 

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seems a little 'more' risky than a horse that maybe just has arthritis or needs special shoeing...
Spose its all relative & depends what you want to do with the horse. I wouldn't class arthritis or 'special shoeing(why??) as a 'just' for either a job like you want them for, or that kind of money.
 

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I'm sorry, but to me you are being played with...
So the horse is a OTTB that broke a foot bone....a pretty important bone too.
That ended the racing career because she/he can no longer take the pound going down the track...
6 months of stall rest minimum to "heal"...
Then the animal was taken to be trained as a H/J...
So, the bottom line is.............
The horse broke down as a racer.
The horse has a "chip" of the coffin bone...the fact it showed in a x-ray would concern me..the trainer "disclosing" is troubling to me!

The horse has had training, more "pounding" in actuality to be that accomplished a animal at home...
The horse has gone no place, has no show record or experience so you are referring to a total unknown of what this "spectacular" animal is going to be like at a show venue...
Put a animal in a exciting environment and you could have not what you think too...
All for the price of $20,000 + dollars...

Sorry....
This horse has done nothing but be jumped and a lot at home to train and be such a machine under saddle.
No show record...
A bad race record with the breakdown occurring.
I would not buy this horse and if this is the kind of price-tag for OTTB you pay, then it is time to do some road trips and look in other states for stock. :|
This horse was a most likely a freebie, thrown away and cost whoever nothing...
How long have they had and worked with this horse...
That is one enormous profit margin for your trainer, period.

I popped onto https://www.equinenow.com/horse-ad-1331829
That link is for a 8 year old papered OTTB gelding who has the training, the exposure and no mention...no "healed" fractured bone.
A record of wins in tough competition...his listing price is $20,000.
That would be what I would expect for a show record, a bloodline and paperwork to go with the animal..and the pictures of the animal out, about and doing his thing in several areas of the country.

My answer for this mare would be no...
No chips on a fetlock nor a broken coffin bone, "healed" claims or not.

I would if you really want a OTTB look at "CANTERUSA" as they take ex-racers to find them new homes and are very picky and said to disclose issues up front.
For less than $3,000 you can have a clean slate to start training.
If you are looking to jump a horse at the heights you are you can do a lot of that training yourself...
The biggest part of the equation you haven't mentioned is if you require a made animal or will you take the extra year to work together, building the team together,...go slow, go low and then in another year you have left pre-green status and are now doing working hunters cause working hunters to me means 4' fence height plus some...like 4' - 4'6".


This animal they are presenting is not made and is a total unknown how they are going to respond...let no one tell you otherwise. :|
Sorry, pass...​
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I really like what @horselovinguy said above and agree.

Personally I am not afraid of a little affordable maintenance on a seasoned proven horse. That comes with being where they are at if it is any kind of athletic.

I'm not in the Hunter/Jumper world, so with a big lick of salt, a price tag that high for an unproven horse that is not show ready (and one career ending injury behind them) is steep. For the prices we are talking about I like a green prospect loaded up with potential with some of the cost factored in to train seriously for showing or a solid veteran. I always say though that horses are worth whatever someone is willing to pay, and have yet to be proven wrong.

I'm sure the trainer is a nice person, just keep in mind that if they are a horse pro this is a money making business conversation for them as well as seeing a client work on their horse goals.
 

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Spose its all relative & depends what you want to do with the horse. I wouldn't class arthritis or 'special shoeing(why??) as a 'just' for either a job like you want them for, or that kind of money.
I always heard their were 2 kinds of horses.... The ones that have arthritis - and the ones that will eventually have arthritis...

I would think special shoes would go to a more serious issue than arthritis... yes?
 
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Discussion Starter #18
I'm sorry, but to me you are being played with...
So the horse is a OTTB that broke a foot bone....a pretty important bone too.
That ended the racing career because she/he can no longer take the pound going down the track...
6 months of stall rest minimum to "heal"...
Then the animal was taken to be trained as a H/J...
So, the bottom line is.............
The horse broke down as a racer.
The horse has a "chip" of the coffin bone...the fact it showed in a x-ray would concern me..the trainer "disclosing" is troubling to me!

The horse has had training, more "pounding" in actuality to be that accomplished a animal at home...
The horse has gone no place, has no show record or experience so you are referring to a total unknown of what this "spectacular" animal is going to be like at a show venue...
Put a animal in a exciting environment and you could have not what you think too...
All for the price of $20,000 + dollars...

Sorry....
This horse has done nothing but be jumped and a lot at home to train and be such a machine under saddle.
No show record...
A bad race record with the breakdown occurring.
I would not buy this horse and if this is the kind of price-tag for OTTB you pay, then it is time to do some road trips and look in other states for stock. :|
This horse was a most likely a freebie, thrown away and cost whoever nothing...
How long have they had and worked with this horse...
That is one enormous profit margin for your trainer, period.

I popped onto https://www.equinenow.com/horse-ad-1331829
That link is for a 8 year old papered OTTB gelding who has the training, the exposure and no mention...no "healed" fractured bone.
A record of wins in tough competition...his listing price is $20,000.
That would be what I would expect for a show record, a bloodline and paperwork to go with the animal..and the pictures of the animal out, about and doing his thing in several areas of the country.

My answer for this mare would be no...
No chips on a fetlock nor a broken coffin bone, "healed" claims or not.

I would if you really want a OTTB look at "CANTERUSA" as they take ex-racers to find them new homes and are very picky and said to disclose issues up front.
For less than $3,000 you can have a clean slate to start training.
If you are looking to jump a horse at the heights you are you can do a lot of that training yourself...
The biggest part of the equation you haven't mentioned is if you require a made animal or will you take the extra year to work together, building the team together,...go slow, go low and then in another year you have left pre-green status and are now doing working hunters cause working hunters to me means 4' fence height plus some...like 4' - 4'6".


This animal they are presenting is not made and is a total unknown how they are going to respond...let no one tell you otherwise. :|
Sorry, pass...​
:runninghorse2:...
I enjoy strong opinions, so thank you for that! The indecisiveness of people around me never helps, so when someone has an opinion, 5 stars. (and thank you all for your inputs!!)

This horse doesn't have the chip in the coffin(I was curious what people would say about a coffin chip), but it is in the fetlock and I'm sure it would need surgery eventually, which is a big risk in my book. The horse is considered green, but I have taken him off property a few times, jumped courses on him in new places, solid citizen everywhere, which is why this has been such a tough pill to swallow.

The thing that I keep getting told is that all OTTBs that raced a lot are going to have bone chips (not sure how realistic that is, I suppose I should poll the people in my barn who just bought OTTBs for jumping and see if they have bone chips too) This horse had a massive racing career, so all I hear is 'well, duh, he raced a long time, he's got a bone chip for being fast enough'.

We've been looking at horses for a few months...so I'll just put this one on the 'I'll keep him in mind' list and move on.

I'll keep looking for something with less wear and tear and hopefully no bone chips. I'm not looking for a 'made' horse, I am actually looking at green horses....but none of them go for less than $20K in my area, not for something relatively competitive. Heck, my budget is apparently considered 'pennies'. There are warmbloods that are barely broke in our area that are above my price range (no joke).
 

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I'll keep looking for something with less wear and tear and hopefully no bone chips. I'm not looking for a 'made' horse, I am actually looking at green horses....but none of them go for less than $20K in my area, not for something relatively competitive. Heck, my budget is apparently considered 'pennies'. There are warmbloods that are barely broke in our area that are above my price range (no joke).

With your budget, have you considered looking further away?

You could get a OTTB fresh off the track in Kentucky for $2-5k, ship it to you for however much, and put it in a training program for a few months, with money still remaining. Even if you wanted to fly/drive to Kentucky, spend the weekend looking at a lot of horses, and fly/drive home, I would think you would still have money remaining.

$20k for a green OTTB with a bone chip that will likely require surgery someday is a huge rip-off, heck no.

Or, if you are willing to wait until after the Thoroughbred Makeover next year, I bet you could get a really great horse from there for much less. Or you could even look for those horses that were supposed to compete in the Makeover this year, and find a real deal.
 

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I liked @ClearDonkey's post, but I just wanted to make it clear that I REALLY like it. You can get a horse like this for well under $10k in parts of the country.
 
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