Pre Purchase Exam AKA I Wish I Liked Alcohol

Trainer is seriously the best person I’ve ever met. Just putting that out there.

Friday was an anxious morning as I awaited the time to leave and go see my little A again. Thankfully Trainer was free to come with me which provided much needed company, distraction and grounding throughout. This was my first ever PPE. Neither Gem nor Pete got one when we bought them which ended up working out just fine. However this guy was off the track, young and had a specific purpose ahead of him. I needed to know before I bought him that he would be able to physically do what I was wanting.

First selfie

The vet was well versed in the world of OTTBs and warned me from the start that by purchasing an OTTB I’m already agreeing to some maintenance and wear and tear. The goal of the exam is to make sure there isn’t anything lurking that would be career ending.

I don’t really have the heart to go into all the details. While he was perfectly sound the week prior and in all his sales videos, he lunged off on the RF and LH right out of the barn. Flexions were 3/5 RF with strongly positive heel compression that made the vet concerned for coffin joint or navicular issues. When we went back inside the plan was to start taking X-rays of the RF and if clean move to the LH.

And we stopped at the RF. The navicular showed pretty advanced changes. The vet told me a dozen times that you can’t diagnose navicular from radiographs but that every red flag was being raised and every box was being checked off.

We had a heart to heart. I called Dusty. I told Trainer to give it to me straight. We discussed the fact that he was overdue for new shoes and his feet were not in balance. We discussed the fact that he was sound a week prior.

Then I made the comment “I can’t have a future lame horse at 8 years old.”

And the vet replied “You have a lame horse now at 6 years old. The question is can he be made sound with shoes, os phos etc..”

That hit home.

With tears in my eyes I made the call to say no. Trainer agreed. Sure he was sound last week and he may be sound next week, but do I need a horse right now with all my hopes and dreams laid out on the table that may be sound one day and not the next?

It was heart breaking to drive home with an empty trailer.

It is heart breaking wondering what will happen to this sweet heart of a gelding at 6 years old with 20 years ahead of him and navicular changes in his foot. I know a lot of you have amazing OTTBs and he made me fall in love with the breed but I hate the industry that runs horses too hard too young and destroys them for life. Horses can live into their 30s sound and happy. Look out in my yard and you’ll see a fat, shiny and 100% sound 28 year old Pete and an equally amazing 20 year old Gem.

I’m sad. I loved that little guy. Trainer fell hard for him too. I tried looking at new ads but they all suck and my heart isn’t in it right now. I was so depressed Saturday that I ate ice cream for dinner. Doesn’t sound so odd except I swore off sugar 3 months ago and haven’t touched it since. I was that down.

I still have my scheduled appointment in MD May 11th/12th. That gives me some hope. There will be another horse. Maybe even better than A. I hope he gets a soft landing. I’d give him a forever home as a pasture pet here if they gave him to me. He was that awesome.

Onward I suppose. The Universe can sure suck at times.

44 thoughts on “Pre Purchase Exam AKA I Wish I Liked Alcohol”

  1. I’m sorry, you’ve been in my thoughts all weekend. Nothing is more discouraging than having to let go of a horse you love like that for that kind of reason. You made the right call tho, and there *will* be another one out there when you’re ready to look again. Hang in there!!


  2. I’m so, so sorry it didn’t work out. That’s painful!

    It’s cliche, and doesn’t really help right now, but I firmly believe that it means something even better is out there for you.

    But, I also hope he ends up in a good home as well. I hate horses being worked too hard too young, and they pay the long-term price.


  3. I honestly felt my hear breaking with yours since Friday. You have been in my thoughts all weekend and still are. And my first thought was I wish they would give him to you. Because with that prognosis he does not have a good shot in life 😦 UGH….

    May 11?? that is right I forgot about that appt. UGH. I know you were in love with him and you looked great on him. At least now you kind of know what you want..

    Big hugs to you all. I am so damn sorry. I hate flex testing anyway as a rule as i feel it is never that accurate. But xrays…they do not lie.



    1. Flexions are iffy to me as well. I mean, Gem has never taken a bad step in her entire life, but I’m positive she would have positive flexions. It gave us a good place to start with xrays tho and that was what killed it off.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Im so sorry, he was so cute and its harder for you to fall in love then feel gut punched by his PPE. Hoping the real right horse comes along fast.


  5. OMG I’m so sorry. I had the same thing happen, if you read my blog a couple years ago, I found this amazing laid back bay gelding and he could not pass a PPE. And I had to pay for two of them: (

    So happy for you that you have Gem right now to comfort you, and a supportive husband.


  6. Hugs to you!!! This is always the worst part about horse shopping 😦 I hope you enjoyed your ice cream on Saturday with guiltless pleasure and sorrows were masked with chocolate (or your flavor of choice) goodness, at least temporarily.


  7. Booo, that really stinks that he didn’t pass the PPE. I hope this means that there is something even better for you out there.

    Also, for the volunteer challenge, I was the timer for a CTR on Saturday, 8a-4pm, 8 hours total! Thanks!


  8. Man, I had a feeling it had not gone well when you didn’t post all weekend. BUMMER!! It will take time, but you will find something else that is just as perfect for you and SOUND! *hugs*


      1. i compare this to when we made an offer and got a contract on our farm. And then it fell thru cause of crazy owner. THE SAME THING. I didnt want to look at any other stinking houses by then. SO i know how you feel. And just take a break for now. And ICE CREAM IS GOOD FOR YOU:)


  9. I’m so sorry Sara. It’s hard right now, but there will be something better for you out there. I’m glad you did the PPE!!! Why a pro is jumping a horse with such severe navicular is beyond me though, and knowing this now means that he might have been given pain meds for his sales videos: this can and does happen with horses for sale.

    Do you read The Jumping Percheron? Stacey has a POA with navicular that she has thrown everything including the kitchen sink at (she’s gone the high-end, high-tech route with her, including university workups, special shoes, hoof boots, injections, os phos, all of it), trying to get her sound enough to do even the lowest level of eventing, with the knowledge that Mocha might end up just being a pasture pet (which Stacey is fine with). It’s taken her *two years* to figure out something that is working for now…and Moch’s navicular is not as severe as what this gelding’s sounds like. You can read about her journey if you go to the posts labelled “Mochs”, “Mochi,” and “Navicular.” This was the original diagnosis: http://jumpingpercheron.blogspot.com/search/label/lameness

    Given your goals, I think passing up this guy after his PPE was a very wise decision. Crossing my fingers that everything goes amazingly for your appointment in MD in May!


    1. Thanks! I’m not sure if he was drugged for the videos or not. I’m doubtful he was when I tried him as he wasn’t even on my list of horses to try, but you never know. I was fir sure going to pull blood to hold and do a drug test during the PPE. It never got that far.

      I have followed her, but hadn’t recalled that that was her diagnosis. If Gem had this I would throw everything at her, but this guy was only 6. Trainer and I kept going back to that fact and wondering how long all those things would keep him sound. 2 years? 4? While I have the room and would love to keep him as a pasture pet due to his wonderful personality, he wasn’t free and I have no interest in horse shopping again in 4 years.

      It was sad, but hopefully things go better the next time.


  10. Ugh, I’ve been thinking about ya all weekend and keeping an eye out for horses online. So disappointing, I know. Before P, I had a similar experience. Tried a great horse in Raleigh, about 2.5 hours away, and loved him. Came back the next week with my trailer to take him home after the PPE and he came out and immediately jogged lame. We didn’t even get to x-rays. I liked him so much I considered the same thing as you- he had just been sound the week before after all. It was hard to drive home with the empty trailer, and I didn’t even look at other ads for awhile. A month or so later, P was on his way to NC from FL! The right horse is definitely out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh dear, I am very sorry to hear this☹️ I have had my fair share of failed PPEs and they are heartbreaking but also so much better than the alternative.

    You’ll find your horse, they’re just waiting for you.


      1. I’ve found the number one thing is to always ask for video. You can find a good still shot of almost any horse, but video footage doesn’t lie.

        It culled my “to view” list significantly!


  12. So sorry to hear this. Something I’ve found really true in my life though is that all these things really do happen for a reason. Every time I’ve felt like crap about and closed door another better wide open door comes along. I’m sure that will happen for you too 🙂


  13. Well horse shit. I’m sorry it was too good to be true, I was hoping even as I read that it would somehow turn out differently. I’ve never been through this process, so know you’re at least teaching and helping others by sharing this. Sending good vibes and thoughts going forward!


  14. That sucks majorly. It is the unfortunate part of having to think about using a horse as a competition horse. Having an on and off lame horse just isn’t an easy thing. I think you made the right decision, though it was a tough one. Seems like you’ve had to make a lot of tough decisions lately. 😦


    1. Yeah…life builds up every once and a while to a pile of adult crap. Thankfully, I still have my main squeeze Gem to tote my butt around and adventure with so it isn’t the end of the world. I just wish some magical horse ad would pop up soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Adult stuff is crap. Everything was so much more awesome when we didnt have to think about the future or problems.

        Your unicorn ad will come soon.


  15. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. As someone who had an OTTB with navicular changes that were very bad at 14 to the point I put him down, I can tell you that walking away from a 6yo with bad changes was the right decision. I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the racing industry (the actual running part) for what was going on with that horses foot, a lot of it is genetic (and then after that it’s about whether or not they are properly managed and cared for) so the blame should be on the breeding side as well. Carlos was never PPE’d at 5/6 when we brought him home so I have nothing to compare his feet against other than it was always weird and we managed it the best we could.

    Horse shopping sucks, it took me months to get Dante, but i hope you have some success soon!


  16. Oh no 😦 This is not what I wanted to read. I’m so glad you found out before you bought him though! PPE is so important. Dodged that bullet, I guess 😦


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