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[RC] Pre-Purchase Exam - Roger Rittenhouse

My thoughts are, it depends on the cost of the horse. But then a $1000 horse 
physical issues is a  drain on your resources. Then you are stuck getting rid of
a defective  horse

Over the years of me trying to find a good HW horse for me to compete was 
with many failures.

My initial vet exam is the normal stuff they do at a ride. The add the flexion
test on all 4 ankles, and the hock-stifles joints .

If they trot off with any inconsistent gait, then we wait a few minutes and do 
again, if it gets worse then I would either reject the horse or take xrays of 
suspect leg/joint.

If the horse passed then we considered x-rays... however all the horses I vetted
failed for lameness either  'natural' or after the flexion tests. A few were
'lame' out of the trailer. 
I had a great vet that had a eye for problems.

We only took x-rays of the defective joint to support the vet report and get my
money back. 

This protocol saved me allot of money and future problems.. heartache - pulls 
dealing with lameness.. and vet bills.

I was told by a few sellers that I would NOT be allowed to do a flexion test on
the candidate.. that one never saw a vet. :) Owner said flexion tests cause  a
horse to trot out lame ?? OK  ..next :)

One was in OR, long distance vetting on the phone.. both front ankles of an 8yr
old failed - horse went out G2/3.  No xrays. Should have noted the owner comment
- 'this horse  is really fast going down hill' Horse had 150 miles

If I found one that passed the complete physical exam, we were going to shoot at
least  one xray of each ankle- at least the front.
I never found one that got that far. I must have looked at 8 or more  horses 
4 to 5 years. Had a few at the farm on lease and under vet approval. Even took
one that showed G1 at a ride  DUH.. I let emotion get in the way.
I looked at horses priced from $1000 up to $8500

If you want the horse for many years/miles  and for 100 milers, there is no way 
would NOT get xrays. 

At least you know the horse starts our with clean joints, no spurs no DJD.. 

A PP vet exam may cost $200 to $500.. well worth it if you do not get stuck with
a problem defective horse. Yes no horse is fault free but WHY get one, spend big
$$, IF you can see it has 'suitable for purpose' issues. You cannot fix DJD or
other joint issues. 

I would settle for  confirmation issues over leg/joint issues. Of course you
'may' get problems later but at least start clean then ride accordingly.

I also did video gait analysis. I had sellers send me video tape or DVDs. Then
the vet and I would look at them in slow motion to see how they moved. Many
sellers tried to hide the gait by trotting in high grass and just take shots of
lots running around the round pen.

I would even take video of the local horses I went to look at. Then do the
slow-mo study at home.

The correct or best way to get good gait study is at ground level, walk then 
the horse in a straight line out and back on a hard road with the center line. 
Then cross in front from the side going both ways. You see the gait and HEAR the
foot falls.

I even use to do this before and after shoeing, especially Omni who had hoof and
way of going issues. That education came from Shoer Jaye Perry.

I decided since I was looking for my almost 'last' horse I was not going to take
the chance of getting one with known or observable problems that would limit his
ability and longevity. That never work out for me.

Now it does not matter that much since I am just looking for a good sound trail
horse to play with. It is ironic ? the horse I bought last year with a limited
vet check is sound and has a good way of going good confirmation, great hoofs
goes BF - less the pace-  has a crap attitude. He  will soon be moving on to
another life.

I have a new horse .. more on her later.

Roger R

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