FAO: those of you with negative/guarded views of flexion tests

How many cigs do you smoke a day?


  • Total voters
    0

Sal_E

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 January 2002
Messages
2,483
Location
Kent
Visit site
A close friend of mine has had a horse vetted with view to buy today (horse introduced by me, owned by another good friend of mine - so quite awkward).

Anyway, it's a green/young EXTREMELY well-bred competition horse who got most way through the vetting (including lunging on hard surface) with flying colours. Then came the flexion test - it failed on one forelimb, suspected lower limb, unknown cause.


The vet (our vet, well trusted/respected) said, give the horse is fabulous in every other way, so consider giving it 10/14 days rest & trying again - it could just have tweaked something. Owner is saying that flexion tests are crap & ignore it - horse is clearly sound to be ridden, so ignore it. Potential new owner is (quite rightly, IMO) saying that's not the answer.

I know flexion tests are contraversial BUT (& here's comes the question...) - bearing in mind the vet used a stop watch to time the flexion (i.e. treated all 4 legs the same) & 3 legs reacted the same (i.e. sound) & one reacted badly differently (head-nodding lame away from the vet AND on return) surely there is SOMETHING wrong, regardless of your views of flexion tests. It might well be something minor that never gets any worse (or goes away completely), but it could also be the start of something, yes?

So, even if you are not a fan of flexion tests (as owner-friend), do you agree that today has shown that there is clearly SOMETHING & it needs further investigation before writing off/ignoring...
 

ihatework

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 September 2004
Messages
21,809
Visit site
Vet sounds like he has given the buyer sensible advice.
wait a fortnight and re-examine, if it still fails walk away unless the owner is willing to seriously negotiate on price.
 

Gingernags

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 August 2004
Messages
5,787
Location
She's behind you... heh heh heh!!!
Visit site
The only way I'd totally disregard a flexion test would be if the vet was a bit harsh and overzealous and flexed too long or hard and made the horse lame in say both fronts and you could see it was otherwise fine.

If this vet was so careful to treat each leg the same and only one came up lame, then yes I'd check it out further.

I'd gather if this is a young but good horse it will be a decent amount of money - I'd not risk it if its going to be a competition horse, without knowing more.

If it was just to be a cheap and quiet hack, then that is different entirely.
 

Sal_E

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 January 2002
Messages
2,483
Location
Kent
Visit site
Yup, totally agree. Yes, this is a valuable horse to be used for proper BSJA - i.e. Foxhunter and above. We've already said that if it was for hacking etc it would probably be a different story.

Owner has totally dismissed the flexion test & is saying she will continue to work the horse & sell it through H&H in a few weeks... (presumably being honest about the flexion test - it's a mare with top breeding so perhaps she plans to sell it with breeding potential..?)
 

Patches

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 February 2005
Messages
10,028
Visit site
I agree GM, certainly wouldn't risk it for a horse that is detined to compete. The odd lame step can sometimes be "normal" if the horse does it on all legs as it's common to get a positive when there is infact nothing wrong.

However to be lame when trotting away and still lame when trotting back, that indicates something underlying going on and I would walk away if it was me I think.
 

spaniel

Well-Known Member
Joined
21 March 2002
Messages
8,277
Visit site
Id be walking away too. And as the owner I would definitely be looking further into this.

Im the worlds biggest cynic when it comes to FT's but this is very obviously showing up something .
 

GTs

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 March 2005
Messages
5,070
Visit site
How old is the horse? Is it jumping? What heights?

If it is young, has not done much work then I would be very concerned.
 

meandmyself

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 February 2006
Messages
13,186
Visit site
I'd wait and see.

Mind you, if someone held one of my legs up like that, i'd walk away lame somedays too!
 

kayleigh_and_rocky

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 December 2005
Messages
5,542
Location
Hampshire
www.kayleigh-nicholls.piczo.com
Wait and see but dont write the horse off completely. Personally i dont go on flexion tests....you can make anything lame with a flexion test and i know that from personal experience. My old warmblood failed his flexion first time round, got it done a week later by a different vet and he passed with flying colours, concluded he'd tweaked something travelling over from Dutchland lol
 

seabiscuit

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 July 2005
Messages
6,228
Visit site
I really dont know what to make of flexion tests, because I have had two horses that have failed on flexion tests by one vet, then a few weeks later, passed the flexion with flying colours on all four legs by even more 'higher up' vets.....

Do you know exactly how hard this vet is cranking the leg up? Because some vets hold the leg up SO lightly, other vets crank it up so tight the poor leg pratically snaps!!
 

Sal_E

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 January 2002
Messages
2,483
Location
Kent
Visit site
Errr, I would say firmly but not excessively. He was certainly equal in his approach on all 4 legs, so my issue is more about the fact that whatever your feelings on flexions, the 4th leg reacted differently to the other 3 if you know what I mean...
 

BethH

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 January 2006
Messages
1,132
Location
Kent
Visit site
Having bought a horse whose problems only started showing up a few weeks after I bought him when I put him into regular light work I would say investigate thoroughly (i had a 5 star vet). Vets don't want to find something wrong but if you trust your vet, my feeling is that they are more knowledgeable than the owner given their training!!! If you want a horse vetted it is so you can feel safe about your purchase I would agree give horse a couple of weeks and get the vet to re-check, no horse is perfect but this sounds like it is showing up something to think carefully about.
 

Tia

Well-Known Member
Joined
21 January 2004
Messages
26,100
Visit site
Interesting discussion - particularly so for me as the same thing happened to a horse I was selling a month ago. I have owned the horse since he was a yearling, he is now a 3 year old and is not broken and has only had basic ground training.

Anyway the horse had a vetting - all was well until flexion tests. Passed on 3 legs but not on 4th. The choice was to wait a couple of weeks and try again or to have the legs x-rayed....the purchaser decided to have legs x-rayed there and then as she really wanted this horse.

I received a call from the vet the following morning to say there was absolutely nothing wrong; everything was where it should be and that it was likely that as the horse has been in a field for 3 years that he must have stood on a stone when brought out for the trot-up which made him slightly sensitive.

The buyer had left the money for the horse before finding out whether there was a problem - so when she called me just after the vet she told me to deposit the money.

I've always been a cynic of flexions - and this is yet another experience of how totally unreliable they are!

As to the comment about vets knowing more than owners - well all I can say is I have owned this horse for quite some time now and I KNEW there was nothing wrong with him; had there been, I would have seen it a long time ago.
smirk.gif
 

Tia

Well-Known Member
Joined
21 January 2004
Messages
26,100
Visit site
Seriously busy!! I daren't even go into Soap or Lounge LOL!! Over 15,000 posts in each......way to scary to contemplate
blush.gif
.

Have to zip off now but hope all is well with you. Lots been going on here; will try to update you all at some point in the next month.

Take care
smile.gif
.
 

no_no_nanette

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 July 2005
Messages
1,377
Visit site
Had similar experience with my daughter's horse which we were selling to a friend of a friend ... also stuningly well-bred showjumper who we knew at the time that we bought him from a well-known competitor had some "undefined" stiffness in one hindlimb when he was first worked. He had been x-rayed, scanned, nerve-blocked by the showjumper he belonged to, without any clear diagnosis. She decided that she couldn't risk continuing to compete him, so sold him to us with the "unknown" stiffness being very clearly communicated, so we knew what we were getting. He was with us for three years, and did not have one day's unsoundness. We told the potential purchaser about the "question-mark" over his hindlimb, but she chose to go for a 5-stage vetting, which, like your example, he passed with flying colours EXCEPT the flexion test. (Very predictable). The vet was very fair - he said given the history,he thought that the likelihood was that he would remain sound - at least if he was not over-competed, and not competed on hard ground. BUT that there would always be an element of doubt ... He also said that flexion tests can often throw up questions which, without lots of very expensive further investigations, can not be answered.
I think in the case of the horse that you write about, it does throw up a risk ... what we ended up doing was offering the buyer a 6 week trial, with very strict rules about what she could/couldn't do with him, so that she could see for herself that he did seem to remain sound, and after the trail she did buy him. Would this work for your friend?
smirk.gif
 

Sal_E

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 January 2002
Messages
2,483
Location
Kent
Visit site
That makes perfect sense, apart from the fact that this is a green horse who will be brought on by new owner-friend to compete at a fairly high level - the horse has never worked at this higher level & isn't ready to do so yet. The worry is whether she will continue sound for years to come once she's much fitter with greater demands on her - you could say that about any horse of course but it seems daft going in to it KNOWING there could be a problem... If it were my call, they'd be having scans - but it's not & they're not!
 

jess_asterix

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 August 2005
Messages
4,313
Location
Shropshire
Visit site
had the same thing with my pony who was vetted yesterday he failed on the flexion test on one hind leg.
we are leaving him for a week and then he is being examined and x-rayed next week.
 

TURBOBERT

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 July 2001
Messages
670
Location
Northern England
Visit site
Interesting that Xrays were relied upon! They often dont reveal the early stages of what can be a serious problem. As this horse was lame on the trot back I would certainly walk away unless the reason was self evident
 

dixie

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 August 2005
Messages
4,911
Location
Devon
Visit site
I ticked the first box as my horse failed the Flexion test 6 years ago and despite continually show jumping and eventing ever since, he has never been lame. Having said that he failed the flexion on the first vetting so I had a second opinion and he didn't fail it until the vet tried several times. I don't think he would have tried as many times if it wasn't a second opinion.

I think your case is slightly different in that the test is showing marked differences and therefore I would be a bit more cautious.
 

pootler

Well-Known Member
Joined
10 October 2004
Messages
1,050
Location
Oxfordshire
Visit site
My horse passed a 5 stage vetting 2 years ago, he has also passed 2 sets of flexion tests in the last month. Although he has since been xrayed and diagnosed with bone spavins in both hinds. If I was a dishonest person I could sell him knowing he would pass a 5 stage flexion test! I think the only way to be truely sure is to xray if you are buying an expensive horse.
 

Lynz25

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 July 2006
Messages
296
Location
Beds
Visit site
The trouble with flexion tests is that they are held in an unnatural position (ie end of joint range) for what would be a longer than normal time. However they are a useful diagnostic tool which must be used in conjunction with other tools in order to obtain a full diagnosis. Personally I would wait for a couple of weeks and then re-test. If they sell it on I would personally just put it down to the fact that it was not ment to be and keep looking. X-rays only show bony changes or the general outline of a large amount of soft tissue in an area. For example with women on chest x-rays you can often see the outline of the breast tissue.
 
Top