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Another failed vetting :(

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15 June 2020
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potential new horse, left me in a big dilemma. She is 4 1/2 and the vetting has failed noting slightly pigeon toed, with the left turning inwards more than the right that could cause problems with soundness. Being slightly pigeon toed surprised me that it would be enough to fail the vetting, especially as the horse is only to be an allrounder, i am not looking to go round Badminton or GP dresage.
 
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deemed as not fit for purpose, horse is perfectly sound, passed all work ups & flexion tests. just worried if I go ahead & purchase the impact on insurance.
 

shortstuff99

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Is she shod? My mare is very pigeon toed and at 12 years old working towards GP dressage is (touch wood!) The soundest horse I know. Wouldn't necessarily put me off. Having them barefoot allows the hoof to be the shape they need for them to be able to land straight.

I will also add Supreme Rock who has won badminton was pigeon toed.
 

Bernster

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Surprising based on what you’ve put. Have had two horses with not perfect fronts. One pigeon toed on both, one slightly unbalanced on one. Not caused an issue for either. I’d explore further with the vet as there may be more to it than that. But if vet says not fit for purpose, I’d move on.
 
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My head is telling me to be sensible and walk away but I really like this horse! the comments note 'fairly mild on the right and more on left which leads to excess stresses on the outside of the limb'. i have bought horses before and never bothered with vetting mainly due to the price they were being sold at, and none have had great confirmation and you could pick fault. I agree with not going against the vet but i do wonder how picky it is being and the comments note its on the basis of probability that she may not be sound in the long term, although no current soundness issues.

She is shod now and my thoughts were to take off.
 

irishdraft

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I would be wary if you want to jump a decent height my hunter who is only just 13 has been written off with a soft tissue hoof injury on his pidgeon toe .
 

honetpot

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I bought a horse that was extremely pigeon-toed on just one leg. It passed a 5 stage vetting, and apart from having a hoof abscess was never lame in his life. I bought him as an all rounder, and he did dressage and PC.
 

Red-1

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I am on the fence, as we don't know how his leg is, how much the toe leads to dishing, where the dishing is placed (as usually they do dish with that conformation)...

Being pigeon toed is a no issue for me on many horses. We have had Police horses with that who have been sound long term despite hours of road work and schooling too. Plus, my first 'proper' horse was pigeon toed and dished like a beggar, but was also sound until he was 19 .

But...

I went to view a potential Police horse, and disliked its conformation with a pigeon toe. It was not the toe so much, it was that the accompanying dish was centered in just one part of the fetlock, and it just looked like it would cause issues. Watching it trotting, it was obvious to me that there was a horrendous weakness.

I turned the horse down (pity, nice horse), much to the owner's chagrin, and moved on. Unusually, the horse was local to where I lived (we usually had to travel miles!) and I got to hear of the horse's fate. It never did sell (to be fair it was on a year for training to sell) before it went lame a good few months later... just where I said it would go lame. It was PTS (and that went horrendously wrong, which is how I heard of the fate as it became local folk law!).

So, if you really like the horse, I would call the vet and have another discussion. If the vet was new to you, it is possible that he/she is just being cautious in case they get sued later down the line. But, maybe they saw something that made them think this horse really would go lame. It sounds like the latter to me, as they have listed the structures that will be under excessive strain. If you can't get the horse out of your mind, have the conversation - but I would not simply ignore the vet.

There is nothing to stop you buying the horse, but I suspect both front legs would be excluded on insurance, which would be fair enough once a vet has said that they think there is undue strain due to a conformation fault.
 

Patterdale

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Wherever I lay my hat.
I’ve just bought a four year old. The vet noted that he had slightly upright pasterns which led to him sometimes being back at the knee when stood. He stated that it was mild, did not cause mechanical issues when moving and that he didn’t think it would impact on him doing my job (eventing up to 100). I bought him, the insurance have excluded and lameness arising from upright pasterns.

I’m surprised the vet ‘failed’ yours on it if it really is mild? Mine also dishes slightly but my reasoning is that nothing has perfect conformation, and that I’d rather slightly upright pasterns than slightly down ones.

But really who knows what will happen in the future.

Were you there at the vetting?

ETA - the upright pasterns were something I noted from the pictures and wanted the vets opinion on prior to the vetting. I do wonder if he’d have mentioned it otherwise.
 

TheMule

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Presumably you have seen the front legs yourself?
I dont mind a little pigeon toed, but if it's markedly more on one leg that would put me off
 

Ambers Echo

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Jenny was pigeon toed. Luckily I didnt vet as I may have turned her down if a vet was picky. She is fantastic and still happily jumping 100cm courses.

When we sold buyer did vet. She was sound and happy in her work but very slightly off on flexions on the leg that had the greater strain. 1 buyer turned her down but the next went with my own vet's pragmatic advice that horse was at a slightly greater risk in the future but xrays were clear, the degree of lameness on flexions was minor and had not changed in months and she was happy in her work and functionally sound. He wouldn't have been able to pass her on a formal vetting though. He told me that he was seriously considering buying her himself for his daughters!

I am friends with 2 equine vets. They say some fail for fairly trivial reasons to avoid comeback. It's easier for them to fail than to pass so they look for reasons to fail. My own vet hates doing them because passing them is stressful! But failing them leaves everyone unhappy.

I rarely vet but have done when buying from dealers. My vet/non vet experiences re whether the horse turns out to be fit for purpose seems random. And whether or not a horse I sell passes or fails also seems random. 1 pony failed a vetting on 3 things - foot sore, sore back and flexions. I was mortified and horrified and got my own vet out who couldn't find a thing wrong with her. Put her up for sale and next vetting she passed! That original vet is notorious locally for failing EVERYTHING.

So I am very cynical about vettings. Some vets are sensible and pragmatic. Others are risk averse and fail too readily. Some are too 'by the book's and pass a horse because it technically ticks all the boxes but does not look at the horse holistically and misses things - like my pony that just did not look well or happy from the day she arrived. And never was well or happy till she was PTS 15 months later.

If you go ahead you should have a big chunk off the asking price. That leg will be excluded. (Another reason I rarely vet).

If I were in this situation, I would take video of horse and send to my own vet and ask for his advice rather than automatically turn down an otherwise lovely horse.
 

fusspot

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Pigeon toed is not always an issue,I have known a couple that have been fine and a couple that haven’t stayed sound.My main concern is that horse is very young and as it’s been noted on the vetting,you will have both front legs excluded on your insurance especially as they have stated not fit for purpose.That is a big exclusion at the start when the horse is so young.Insurance companies being who they are and at the moment being even more picky than normal....if you get an issue higher up...ie shoulder...they WILL find a way to relate it to the front legs.If you are not insuring,if the horse a decent price, then only you can decide if you want to take the risk.
 

TheMule

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I actually dnot agree that there should be a big price reduction. This was not a new finding at vetting, pigeon toes are there on view for anyone to see so a price would have been agreed vetting would have been carried out with the full knowledge of what the vet has commented on.
 

Ambers Echo

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The vet has failed the horse and it now has exclusions. That to me means price drop at the very least to make up for the loss of insurance cover. If vet noted it in the comments but passed the horse as fit for intended purposes anyway (as possibly should have happened) then I agree with you.
 

MiniMilton

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31 March 2013
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It depends how much you know your vet and value your vets opinion. My vet of 25 years has twice told me I should buy a horse that has technically failed a vetting (one has broken wind which did minimise with fitness, the horse turned into a brilliant hunter as my vet said he would) (another has a blemish in his eye that was technically a fail but vet didn't think it would turn into something sinister, there was the possibility though, he really liked the horse and told me to buy anyway).

If he told me to walk away from a completely sound horse simply because he didn't like it or he had any concerns then I would. I would be a bit particular about conformation and I would buy a horse with broken wind, sarcoids and a few other fails before buying a one that is pigeon tied, but that's just me and probably unpopular opinion.

The opinion of a vet unknown to me would mean nothing to me, if I'm going to the expense of a vetting it must be done by my own vet and I'd take his opinion as gospel.
 

ycbm

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I actually dnot agree that there should be a big price reduction. This was not a new finding at vetting, pigeon toes are there on view for anyone to see so a price would have been agreed vetting would have been carried out with the full knowledge of what the vet has commented on.
A price reduction would allow the seller a chance to sell the horse with no further bother, no more cost to keep it, and at no risk of it failing a second, third .... vetting. If they want that, it's in their interests. If they don't they just say no. There's no harm in asking.

.
 

Errin Paddywack

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The old mare that I look after is very pigeon toed on one leg, slightly on the other. Her deviation seems to come from the knee. She is 19 yrs old. I don't know what she did for her first seven years, but she then had 2 foals then went to a ridden home for about 5 yrs before sustaining a hind injury. She has never had a problem with the pigeon toes to my knowledge and only has now due to being chased by a dog and getting caught up in something. Leg is scarred back and front now and very slight tendon thickening. Apart from this she has the cleanest legs. I would have expected splints but there are none.
My first appaloosa filly was born with both front feet turning in. I was horrified but I had no need to be, they corrected by themselves to a certain extent, never caused any problems in her long life (29 yrs) and didn't stop her winning in the show ring.
I really don't know if I would buy a horse that was badly pigeon toed. Would depend on age and whether they were still young enough for corrective trimming. I don't insure so insurance exclusions wouldn't worry me.
I assume you have seen and ridden this horse. Did you notice the pigeon toes?
 

Ambers Echo

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The dealer who sold us Dolly always gets 5 stage vettings in the ponies she buys to sell. Plus she has an excellent eye and feel for how a horse is. I sent Max to her on sales livery after a vet and a Lameness Locator said he was sound but she refused to sell him on my behalf saying he felt 'not quite right'. Weeks before the lameness showed up. Anyway she knows her ponies are sound and also knows some vets just fail them anyway. She just accepts it, readvertises and they pass next time with a different vet. No skin off her nose - she doesn't pay for the vettings! But I feel very sorry for buyers who miss out on fantastic ponies because of over zealous vettings.
 
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15 June 2020
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thanks for the comments,its certainly giving me a lot to think about. All I ever read is 'always have the horse vetted' and whilst i accept it is unlikely that i will find something that flies through with no issues, i was really surprised that this horse has been marked as not fit for purpose, i could understand more if i wanted a jumping horse or something that was in hard work. The vet is not my vet as the horse is over 200 miles away from me, so it was a bit of trek to go and see and i wasnt present for the vetting but the vet has come across as doing a very thorough job which also makes me wonder if it is just being cautious. i consider the horse to be reasonably priced, given the current situation with prices going through the roof so the selling price isn't really the issue.
This horse ticks all my boxes and more! i half wished i hadn't bothered with a vetting which will now give me insurance exclusions if i did buy but i also feel silly to go against the vet advice! If she hadn't been marked not fit for purpose but with the same comments, i think i would be taking the risk.

I have asked for some more photographs as the ones i have from the viewing are not on an even surface so its difficult to properly evaluate.
 

AdorableAlice

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24 October 2011
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11,493
The pigeon toe is a conformational observation, the forces placed on everything above the foot conformation is the big issue and most likely to be the problem In the future as the joints and ligaments come under pressure with age, work and weight.

For me it would be a deal breaker because I keep my horses for life and I hope they have a long life. If you are not concerned about longevity you could take the risk and have the right horse for your job.
 

sport horse

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Was it vetted by your own vet? If not gets some photos and videos and show them plus the vetting to your own vet for a second opinion?
 

ihatework

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It’s difficult to comment because there are subtle differences to pigeon toed that may or may not impact the suitability if the horse.

Id be surprised if a vet failure on mild pigeon toes if the horse was landing square and flat. It might be a comment noted but I wouldn’t expect it to be a ‘not suitable’ tick box. There are competition horses all over the world doing hard work on pigeon toes and doing a great job. But that doesn’t mean that happens without good farrier and training. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t equivalent horses that have an early sicknote through related lameness.

I can only imagine what the vet was seeing was a mismatch between the two forelimbs and noticeable uneven loading, which would imo really increase the risk of significant unsoundness.

What I would say is have the horse trimmed/balanced then get some good photos and video from in front of the horse moving. Show your vet & farrier. If they aren’t unduly concerned you could get another vetting done. I’d want a clean vetting for insurance purposes. It could be that a different vet has a different opinion
 
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