Are there any sound horses out there for sale?

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I had another horse fail a vetting and I am feeling very disheartened. The horse was sound on flexion and ridden but 2-3/10 lame lunged on hard ground before riding but was then nearly 100% after being ridden. He also tested slightly positive on that leg with hoof tester but vet did say as he was better after exercise usually means a tendon/ligament/muscle.

The vet did say for my budget around (5k) it is more difficult to find a sound horse which got me thinking. I am only looking for a horse to do some low level affiliated show jumping mainly and that will not try and kill me out hacking. I don’t mind if it a bit green, needs schooling and it does not need to be a worldbeater in the slightest. Why are there hardly any sound horses around?

I am thinking about have that part of the vetting repeated in a weeks time after he has been re-shod and had Physio. I am sick of looking at horse adverts, phoning people and then taking half a day going’s to look at horses that are not always as described.
 

Wheels

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You want what everyone wants and with a lower budget than most.

I was at a talk with Sue Dyson a few weeks ago and she said when she does vettings she prefers to do the lunging on hard ground on a lightly gravelled surface that is still very firm but that the horses aren't scared of slipping on - some horses will always look stiff on a tarmac type surface because they're scared they will slip so hold themselves differently.

She also said only about 50% of horses pass vettings but depending on what is wrong, if it's very minor then there is no reason that, with the right care, the horse shouldn't go on to a successful ridden career.

Bit of a gamble though isn't it?
 

SadKen

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My girl was sound when I got her aged 7, and she was £3600. She'd done working hunter to county level.

However, she is only 14.2 and I think the ponies are tougher than the horses. If the horse has been jumping as a career there is the likelihood that it'll have caused more damage and injury than a horse that's had a quieter life. At 12, mine does have arthritic hocks.

I would expect to find something either good to hack or good at jumping for your budget, but maybe not both because as another poster has said, that's what everyone wants. In your shoes with soundness as a priority I would either:

1. look for something smaller
2. go for something younger with potential to bring on in both areas
3. find something that hacks well that you can bring on at jumping

Finding the right horse can feel rather soul destroying at times. Whilst you don't want to buy a problem (and I'd stay away from ligament and tendon damage), I think most horses are going to be slightly unsound when put into situations for a vetting that they will never encounter when in everyday life. It may even be something that can be used to negotiate price. Good luck :)
 

Bernster

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Urgh nightmare. My rate was about 50% pass on vettings for a while, small sample size obv! This makes me think of two things - 1 are there loads of horses who are actually lame and the owner doesn’t realise - 2 maybe vettings are too harsh and many would still be totally fine doing what you want them to do eg lunging on hard ground, no one rides that, like the above poster, maybe sometimes it’s still ok? But for the majority of us, we’ve got to rely on the vetting surely or what’s the point.

One vetting I had, horse was a bit off on the hard ground on one rein but still passed.

Other thing is I would think better results are likely with a younger horse? If they fail young then I’d be more inclined to think it’s for a major issue.
 

Polos Mum

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I feel your pain and I honestly thing there are very few - I saw a good number I didn't even get on because they were hopping around the school for the owners.

I also couldn't bring myself to spend £8-9k on low level riding club type - that just seems mad !

I cut down how far I was prepared to travel - I am sure I missed out on some but also saved myself loads of time with timewasting vendors.

I ended up with barely broken and smaller that will hopefully be the horse I was looking for in 6 months time
 

oldie48

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Oh dear, I am now starting to worry about the vetting next week! TBH I have been incredibly lucky and despite buying and selling very many horses over the years, I've only had one fail the vet and that was with an eye problem. this has been a mixture of horses in their teens (for me) and 5/6 yr olds (for my daughter) My vets are notorious for spinning horses!
 

Cortez

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Just as there are few completely sound people I suppose....Unless I was competing at a very high level, very tough sport I would be prepared to accept some small niggles. I always say "sound enough" when talking to vets. You are also not obligated to take the vet's word for it and either have another opinion, or take a gamble (which it's always going to be anyway)
 

Polos Mum

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I don't think they write down pass or fail - but most sensible vets will tell you their view - that it's worth a risk or it's best (in their opinion) to walk away

The long list of advisories that they write down is still a complete pain for insurance purposes when the insurance company excludes every little nit and nat
 

FestiveFuzz

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I found this last time I was looking, although admittedly this was for a mid-level dressage prospect. At the £5k mark everything we looked at either had a vice, behavioral issues/quirks or wasn't sound/had sarcoids. Even when we upped the budget to £8k it didn't get much better, as then we were looking at the ones that were overpriced RC level horses, unproven types with good breeding or those that were too quirky to command the big bucks.

In the end we bought a newly backed 5yo, who sadly despite passing a 5 stage vetting suffered a career-ending injury a month into owning her. Which just goes to show even with a clear vetting on the day, things can and will go wrong. I find it's very much a case of deciding what level of risk you're comfortable with and then hoping for the best where horses are concerned.

This time round I've taken a punt on a 7 month old colt, who will hopefully take over from M as my main dressage horse when the time comes to slow things down with M. Currently keeping everything crossed he doesn't grow like a weed in the meantime :p
 
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Being brutally honest (which will not endear me to anyone!) I breed horses. OK show jumpers but to breed even an amateurs horse it still costs. Say a modest stud fee of £500 and £250 for vet, keep of mare for one year till foaling £1000 and keep of foal to 4 @ £1000 per year makes at total of £5750. No vets bill, no farrier no backing or schooling. Thus, any horse under £5000 at 4 years old has lost someone money. Reality has set in and breeding numbers are down so hopefully (for me!) prices are up. When people are paying more for their saddles and rugs than they do for the horse there is something out of balance.

I know you will not like this but it is fact. Open to be shot down - have gone out shopping!!!
 

oldie48

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Actually the one with the eye problem, I bought at a reduced price and we never had a problem with his sight. However, my daughter took him hunting and he was lame the next day, investigations showed a dropped pedal bone almost certainly as a result of laminitis. Not at all what you would expect in a 16.2 TB ex intermediate eventer!
 

Alibear

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This post has made me feel better about how much I paid for my last horse :) Vetting's are never easy, as others have mentioned the ones that I buy who pass tend to still go wrong a couple of years down the line. The comment about sound enough rings very true with me and is now how I deal with it.
 

ihatework

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I find it quite a fascinating subject.

There are, IMO, very few truely sound horses out there. And by that I mean completely uniform in their gait, straight & even, with not a hint of ouch.

Most people who think their horses are completely sound are IMO deluding themselves.

I really like the phrase ‘sound for purpose’, which to me means the horse is sound and happy enough to do the job required of it.

Vettings are quite frankly a nightmare.
You can take one horse, have different vets vet it, and probably come up with a variety of conclusions on the horses soundness! Vets are on the whole becoming increasingly risk averse. Insurance companies are becoming increasingly risk averse in tandem. It makes for a very difficult process for pragmatic horse buying!

Where you get to the grey areas in flexions, small hard circles etc you need to take into account the even-ness of observations across limbs, clinical history, current performance, how horse is ridden/managed etc.

It’s not easy that’s for sure.
 

Polos Mum

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keep of foal to 4 @ £1000 per year

I do agree with the cost vs. value argument to some degree - it's this figure I'm not sure of. My yearling in 12 months has cost £400
(Wormers/ counts -£40, teeth - £50, 4 x trims = £100, jabs £40, hay - generous guestimate 4 round bales at £35 each = £140, bedding (not in often) so 1/6th pallet wood pellets £40)
I've been carefully tracking the cost of him to compare to a just backed 5 y/o in a few years time.
 

blitznbobs

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keep of foal to 4 @ £1000 per year

I do agree with the cost vs. value argument to some degree - it's this figure I'm not sure of. My yearling in 12 months has cost £400
(Wormers/ counts -£40, teeth - £50, 4 x trims = £100, jabs £40, hay - generous guestimate 4 round bales at £35 each = £140, bedding (not in often) so 1/6th pallet wood pellets £40)
I've been carefully tracking the cost of him to compare to a just backed 5 y/o in a few years time.
And then all those little things like upkeep of fencing, electricity, your time in caring for him etc etc they all cost don’t they?
 
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Horse was lunged on gravely area and not concrete.

Horse in question is only 6 and has not been competed since end of May and light work since June due to owners lack of time. He is still a bit green and has only jumped to British Novice with 1 pole in most classes. So I am making comprimises.

I cannot decide if to repeat that part of vetting next week after he has been shod/physio. What are peoples views?
 

ihatework

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keep of foal to 4 @ £1000 per year

I do agree with the cost vs. value argument to some degree - it's this figure I'm not sure of. My yearling in 12 months has cost £400
(Wormers/ counts -£40, teeth - £50, 4 x trims = £100, jabs £40, hay - generous guestimate 4 round bales at £35 each = £140, bedding (not in often) so 1/6th pallet wood pellets £40)
I've been carefully tracking the cost of him to compare to a just backed 5 y/o in a few years time.
And if you are reliant on livery 🙈
I’ve fallen on my feet and have embarrassingly cheap stud livery, but even then mine will cost approx £1500 / year assuming nothing major very wise.

So add that to a £1500 stud fee, £1000 of vets fees pre & post foaling, £1200 foaling down at stud

And you have yourself an £8000 ish unbacked 3yo.

The bugger is small and sharp too so 6 months pro fees to start it off will take it to a 14k backed & ridden away.

Let’s hope he isn’t a donkey 🤣
 

be positive

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keep of foal to 4 @ £1000 per year

I do agree with the cost vs. value argument to some degree - it's this figure I'm not sure of. My yearling in 12 months has cost £400
(Wormers/ counts -£40, teeth - £50, 4 x trims = £100, jabs £40, hay - generous guestimate 4 round bales at £35 each = £140, bedding (not in often) so 1/6th pallet wood pellets £40)
I've been carefully tracking the cost of him to compare to a just backed 5 y/o in a few years time.
The cost of keeping the grazing in good condition, the "cost" of not having a different equine in the field or stable, your time, insurance, if you have to pay for livery or the youngster is taking the place of a livery then it will be well in excess of £1k, as for value many will be worth far less than they cost to produce to 4 for various reasons, other will be worth far more but they are the rarity not the norm.
 

ihatework

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Horse was lunged on gravely area and not concrete.

Horse in question is only 6 and has not been competed since end of May and light work since June due to owners lack of time. He is still a bit green and has only jumped to British Novice with 1 pole in most classes. So I am making comprimises.

I cannot decide if to repeat that part of vetting next week after he has been shod/physio. What are peoples views?
If you really liked him then yes I would re-vet (but would try and get owner to pay for it if possible!).
 

milliepops

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And then all those little things like upkeep of fencing, electricity, your time in caring for him etc etc they all cost don’t they?
yes, I'm glad you added that! For those of us who have to rent fieldspace or pay livery, the cost of getting a foal to the point of riding it costs additional ££££££.

I have 2 that I consider sound, they are *not* straight though - one has a hindleg that has always tended to have a flight slightly to the outside and the other is coming straighter from a fairly significant wonkiness of unknown cause, probably a trailer accident. I don't know if either would pass a vetting as a result. I'm not remotely worried, tbh, neither are for sale and both are happy in their work. But I buy ones that have already gone wrong at the bottom end of the market, someone else has already lost the money on them. And as a result I don't vet them, I ask my experienced physio and my OH farrier for their opinion instead and then take a punt.
It must be exhausting to be looking at "proper" horses and hoping they are going to pass the vet!
 

be positive

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If you really liked him then yes I would re-vet (but would try and get owner to pay for it if possible!).
If he needs shoeing it could be a simple case of being unbalanced so I would redo it if I liked him enough and believed the story of why he was not out competing on the hard ground, not that BS is likely to have been on grass but it would be possible he was not quite right so they slowed down..
 

Polos Mum

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I have honestly no idea why anyone breeds/ produces horse then if on average the cost is £14k for a very average mid level riding club type - most riders at that level (me absolutely included) don't have anywhere near that to spend on a horse. I can't justify spending a figure I'm not prepared to lose because LOU insurance is off the scale and comes with all the vetting exclusions !!

Why does anyone breed if they lose £5-9k for every 5 y/o that's produced?
 

Cortez

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Ha ha! There is a reason I gave up the stud farm.....I looked at my accounts every year :)


I don't vet either, and I must be extremely lucky, or in league with the Devil (you decide...), because so far nothing has gone really spectacularly wrong. I don't insure either, but I am prepared to make tough decisions when required. I am also prepared to work each horse according to his limitations, and I don't do tough, jumpy-gallopy stuff.

And I don't buy expensive horses (two I have here were free; one was lame, heading for the factory. Once we got him right he's been sound for 6 years).
 
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Polos Mum

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OP - how did the vendor react? If they wanted to call their own vet to get investigated that says one thing vs. instantly offering you a discount on the price.

the 'lack of time' always rings warning bells for me - not many people don't ride nice sound horses in the summer with 'lack of time'

I would see if they are willing to pay for the re-vetting
I would ask them for a copy of their vets history (printed out) for the horse - for you to share with your vet

I would do a lot of facebook digging / internet googling and see if you uncover anything with a bit of detective work
 

ihatework

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I have honestly no idea why anyone breeds/ produces horse then if on average the cost is £14k for a very average mid level riding club type - most riders at that level (me absolutely included) don't have anywhere near that to spend on a horse. I can't justify spending a figure I'm not prepared to lose because LOU insurance is off the scale and comes with all the vetting exclusions !!

Why does anyone breed if they lose £5-9k for every 5 y/o that's produced?
For me it was about the experience, and I’m glad I’ve done it. But there is no denying it’s financial suicide. Unless I won the lottery and was able to just do it for fun I wouldn’t be in a rush to do another. I’ll be gutted if it’s a mid-level RC horse, but let’s face it it’s always a possibility.
 

milliepops

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Why does anyone breed if they lose £5-9k for every 5 y/o that's produced?
I personally would love to have had a foal from my now retired mare... entirely for sentimental reasons. To carry on a memory and try to improve on what already was a pretty good horse. The outrageously sentimental side of me would love to breed from my little advanced horse now! I think she'd make a nice mum and I'd love to see what we could produce. I know it'd be madness, so it will never happen ;) But at a hobby breeder level I can see the appeal. I know someone who bred a load of partbreds that she evented over the years, it was a really nice set of horses from a well loved mare.
 

be positive

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I have honestly no idea why anyone breeds/ produces horse then if on average the cost is £14k for a very average mid level riding club type - most riders at that level (me absolutely included) don't have anywhere near that to spend on a horse. I can't justify spending a figure I'm not prepared to lose because LOU insurance is off the scale and comes with all the vetting exclusions !!

Why does anyone breed if they lose £5-9k for every 5 y/o that's produced?
I don't think ihatework's youngster is destined to be a "mid level RC type", even if that is where he ends up it will not be the aim for him so the expense can be justified unless he "fails" to follow the path he was bred for.
Not every horse will cost £14k to produce and for a bigger breeder there is less risk of a failure wiping out the "profit" of the rest, that said most breeders will struggle to make sensible money, they do it for the pleasure of producing lovely horses for the rest of us to enjoy, or so I am lead to believe!
 
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