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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Question for those in the know...

This is off topic, but my dad is looking at a horse and I have some deep misgivings about it, even before seeing it myself. Dad has a high "ferret factor" as I like to call it (Ooh, shiny, I want it.). It is an 8 year old reining gelding who has competed fairly successfully. My issue is this, the people selling the horse have owned him for about a year and he has been out to pasture for several months. They told my dad that he has spurs in his hocks, that all reining horses have them, and if they make it past 6 without lameness issues, then they are fine (huh?). Dad rode him and said he was not lame, but then again, the horse has not been ridden in months. If he goes back into training, he could show up lame at any point. I told dad not to buy him without a full pre-purchase exam, and a set of hock x-rays. I am really hesitant for him to get this horse and have it come up lame when he starts riding it regularly. What do you guys think?


  1. Did they see him coming or what? Full pre-purchase exam with x-rays. If he wants a reining horse to compete on, he needs to do that. If he just wants a periodic ride, pasture potato then it is not that much of an issue other than to know what can occur down the road. Tell him to not be blinded by the pretty and the dollars. You get what you pay for; a crippled horse is no bargain.

  2. X-rays!!!! Why why WHY would you take their word on it? They want to sell the horse!

  3. That is a big fat lie. Get a full set of xrays and a thorough PPE if he still wants to buy it. If some seller tried to feed me a line like that though, I'd already be running the other way.

  4. I agree with Phaedra but my other issue is they've already lied to him about the spurs (all reiners have spurs, they are fine if they are sound past six) - what else are they lying about?

    Vets don't know everything and can't guarantee a horse sound even with full pictures.

    When I find someone to have lied to me, I keep shopping.

  5. Keep shopping. They are either lying to him (spurs at all are bullcrap) or don't know much at all.

  6. I read here often, but haven't posted before, but I'd like to play devil's advocate for a minute. It sounds to me like the people who are selling this horse are simply parroting what they have been told, probably by the trainer or previous owner that sold them the horse. Actually it sounds like they are trying to be quite honest about the horse having hock issues.

    Knowing that, I would definitely get those hocks x-rayed and have a vet give an opinion.

    Whether this horse would be suitable for your dad or not depends really on what he wants to do with him. If he wants to put him back into full-time training(which a finished and winning reining horse really wouldn't need), the horse probably won't hold up to that and will go lame pretty quickly.

    If your dad wants to get into reining and is looking for a solid horse that can help him learn, won't be riding the horse heavily and might be taking the occasional lesson and a few shows, the horse may very well hold up quite well. As he most likely would as a trail or casual riding horse.

    Depending on what the vet finds on the x-rays, all it may take is a good supplement program, regular light riding and possibly hock injections to keep the horse sound. I'm sure there are surgeries available as well to remove the spurs.

    As stupid as the comment the sellers made sounds, there is truth to it. Most reining horse's hocks are shot. Too much training and competition at a young age(before 5) does wreck a vast majority of them. But, honestly, we see it in working cowhorses, barrel horses and even western pleasure horses that have been trained for futurities. The current mentality of the "show" world is if they have not accomplished something by the time they are 5y/os, they are washed up has led to the physical destruction of many a fine horse by the time they have actually hit their prime years.

    Obviously the selling price would be a consideration as well. This is a horse who is technically compromised and it is going to cost more day to day to keep him functioning and his longevity will not be the same as a horse who does not suffer from hock damage.

  7. everything about this is fishy
    i say wait for one that doesn't give you guys any doubts about soundness or temperment.
    as my trainer once said "if in doubt....don't"

  8. My neighbor has a gorgeous buckskin gelding in her pasture. He will be there for the rest of his life. His is now sixteen. If he does not have a low dose of bannamine every day; he gimps. Why? He was a roping horse. When he was around ten; his shoulders/legs were sore. He was buted up and run anyway. He was in my neighbor's pasture at twelve, never to be ridden again. He probably will still be there at twenty-five. He is lucky. Most are not.

  9. The people already disclosed that the horse has a problem with his hocks which is very common in reining horses that are put into hard training and competeting too young. They are often saddled before they are 2 and in hard training at 2 and 3 :( I will never again purchase a former reiner without a full pre-purchase exam including x-rays unless I want a pasture ornament. Been there done that.

    I agree with other posters who think that the people are only repeating something that they were told. I would guess that 6 years old is the magic number because that is when a horses' skeletal system is mature and if his hocks haven't been damaged by then then he stands a good chance of remaining sound.

  10. Why not take him on a trial? Really, the only way to find out if he'll be sound with regular riding is to ride him on a regular basis.
    X rays are not a be all end all. They might show something, they might not. Maybe he's sound but has something that shows up on the x ray, but he can still be lame with clean x rays. Maybe he's fine for light work. It all depends.
    Personally, if I liked the horse, I would take him on a trial basis or even lease him for 1-3 months. Ride him like I planned to ride him, making an allowance for his long vacation. I don't get the impression that the owner is trying to pull a fast one or hoodwink your dad. Some people honestly believe things like this. All reining horses have spurs. All Arabians are crazy, all TBs should look like skeletons...etc.

  11. To me, it's 1 of 2 things. They don't know horses too much and are just repeating things. Or they're trying to look honest by telling a problem but not telling the whole truth. I've learned the hard way when buying my 1st horse that a seller will tell you what they think you want to hear in order to make the sale. I ended up selling that mare because she was more than I could handle. I am now very fearful of even trying to purchase another horse.

    I'd definately get a vet to look at the horse and possibly get 2 opinions. A lease or trial period would be a great option too. At the very least, he could tell if the horse was given some type of pain-reducing meds prior to his test ride.

  12. I have reining horses and they do NOT all have spurs in their hocks. I have no problem buying reiners that need a little extra TLC to stay sound, but I go into the purchase AWARE of that. I would never try to pass that crap off on someone.

  13. Unfortunately a PPE and Xrays will still not be conclusive. Some horses fail PPEs/Xrays miserably and continue competing successfully for many years, while others get the okay and are gimped within six months.

    The worst part is, he'll be adding the cost of that exam (unless for some reason they decide to pay for it.. doubtful) onto his purchase price. Surely he could find another horse for a similar price that doesn't have this issue?

    Remind him that most top horses aren't pretty colors, and everyone's favorite pony is so ugly it's cute.

  14. ^^ Agreed. When I was selling my old gelding, my vet told me that he would not do a PPE for buyers. The reason? My gelding was older (17 or 18) and the vet swore up and down that he would not pass a soundness exam (ookay, I owned him for 5 years and he was unsound ONCE, after becoming cast in his stall, but whatever.)

    At 26 he's still going strong. From what I hear, he has minor unsoundess in his hocks due to arthritis, which is treatable if one wishes to pay for hock injections.

  15. I would ask them to take him on as a trial for a week and ride him for a good three to four hours each day and see if he comes up lame and also have the vet take a gander at him and ask him for his or her opinion on the horse. I would heed the vet if he or she says the horse either okay or not.