Vetting - 2 stage/5 stage or not at all?

FestiveFuzz

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So I've always been in the '5 stage everything' camp no matter the value of the horse, however after what happened with Elvis I've been left questioning the value of having a horse vetted. I mean I've always known that a vetting is just a snapshot in time but in my opinion a horse that "most likely won't be able to do the job you're buying him for in 12 months time" should not be a "pass".

I've recently seen a horse that I really like and have seen around the event circuit for the last few years. His current owner purchased him in November and 5 stage vetted him which he passed with flying colours. He was her first horse out of riding school and has turned out to be a bit too much for her so he's now up for sale. Ordinarily I'd discount the vetting in hand and still get my own done but after last time I'm thinking do I really need to and if I do can I get away with just getting a 2 stage done? Either way he'll be insured so aside from potentially flagging something we might have missed or can't see it won't really make much difference either way.

I know there are people who never vet and have no issues and those that 5 stage vetted only to find they have an unfixable horse 3 months down the line and a load of variables in between so it's unlikely this is a simple yes or no question.

I guess I'm just afraid of having another experience like last time where the horse technically passes but then I'm forced to walk away as he won't be up to the job a year down the line. I mean I keep thinking with Elvis had I not vetted him he'd have had no exclusions and I'd have had my dream horse. Yes he may have turned out to be a walking vet bill but equally may just have been a bit stiff on the day.
 

laura_nash

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If your planning to insure for vets bills, you may need a five stage vetting. I think it depends on the company and value of the horse, but this is something to consider. I got caught out on this many years ago when I didn't vet a horse (I'd been riding her for over a year when I bought her and trusted the previous owners) and then years later had a claim refused for arthritis as she wasn't vetted.
 

TickyTavey

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Tricky one. Don't know what the horse is selling for, but might be worth double checking with your insurance first - you might need a 5stage for loss of use or to insure it for over 3k, even with reduced lou percentage?
 

be positive

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LOU is rarely worth insuring for as it is so difficult to claim, as for whether to vet or not for me it would depend on the age, price, what it has done in the past, is the record continuous or may it have had time off due to injury? and what my expectations were, if dropping down a level then I may not bother, if I wanted to move up from where it was in the past then I might as doing more may prove to be too much if it does have an underlying niggle.
Not much help as like you I have known horses pass 5 stages then break very quickly, fail and stay sound then pass years later with no problem and fail because there is something minor that really will not have any bearing on it's future but a vet is trying to cover their back.
I have also known a few pass that when I first saw them had issues that stood out immediately and have been shocked that the vet has not mentioned anything on the vetting certificate, in several of those cases I was correct and they went wrong in some way soon after purchase , 1 seriously with things that should have been seen by a vet, so I remain on the fence as to the value of vettings in many cases.
 

SusieT

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vet it 5 stage - if your not vetting in case it throws up somehting you don't like imagine how stupid you'll feel two months in when something shows up.
sound, happy horses are out there in plenty - if you can't find them you're not paying enough for the level you want or you're not looking in the right places.
 

ycbm

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sound, happy horses are out there in plenty - if you can't find them you're not paying enough for the level you want or you're not looking in the right places.

Can I ask when the last time you bought a horse was?
 

SusieT

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v recently - the cheap ones that seem brilliant but fail the vet are cheaper than they should be for a reason - hence why they fail the vet.
And the 'just a sound safe allrounder that will jump 90/1m with a nervous rider' are more expensive than you think if they are sound because that is what literally everyone wants.
 

ycbm

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v recently - the cheap ones that seem brilliant but fail the vet are cheaper than they should be for a reason - hence why they fail the vet.
And the 'just a sound safe allrounder that will jump 90/1m with a nervous rider' are more expensive than you think if they are sound because that is what literally everyone wants.

Very interesting, thank you. My own experience is that the price of the horse bears no relationship at all to whether it will pass a vetting.
 

chaps89

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I would 5 stage. Purely because based on the last one a bit of stiffness turned out to (likely) be something more sinister (poss shivers/stringhalt if I remember rightly) and I'd wonder why bother vetting the rest if you're now going to buy minus vetting, are you just desperate to get the horse home. (eta, I mean this much more kindly than it reads but I'm full of cold and struggling to be more coherent, apologies)
And I say this because I had 3 failed vettings and a disastrous/returned lwtb and many more viewings when I horse hunted. I eventually bought from a local well known lady and didn't bother vetting. Horse has since cost over £10k in vet fees, the lameness ones, well who knows if vetting might have spotted them or not, but next time I won't just take the horse/owner on trust based on knowing history, mutual friends etc in my desperation for a new horse!
 

FestiveFuzz

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vet it 5 stage - if your not vetting in case it throws up somehting you don't like imagine how stupid you'll feel two months in when something shows up.
sound, happy horses are out there in plenty - if you can't find them you're not paying enough for the level you want or you're not looking in the right places.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Budget is £7k and have had 2 fail now on things that weren't apparent from just looking at them.

If you'd read my OP you'd see it's not a case of not vetting for fear of it bringing up something I don't like, more the case that the last vetting I had wasn't worth the paper it was written on with the horse technically passing, yet still being told by the vet it was unlikely to do the job I wanted it for in a year's time. Added to that, I've seen the horse in question out and about regularly over the past 2 years. He has a consistent record, the only break being when he went to his new owner who hasn't competed him. He was 5 stage vetted in November, hence thinking it might be worth just going for a 2 stage vetting now.

Both my trainer and YO are helping with the search. I'm in regular contact with every reputable dealer within a 2 hour radius of us and checking all the usual sites on a daily basis. If I've missed anything do let me know as I've had an empty stable for 2 months now.
 

Spoiled cob

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most insurance companies insist on a 5 stage if the horse is over a certain price. I only 2 stage mine so that they can check their heart/eyes etc like you I had a vetting which raised issues but still passed, there would have been lots of exclusions as it was all listed so wished they had just failed him. Luckily the next passed his 2 stage with flying colours, was tempted not to vet him as likely I would have bought him no matter what but I keep mine at home so it's not as much of a worry.

The only problem is although under a certain amount you don't actually have to vet them if something happens and you need to claim they can decide it was a pre existing condition and exclude it.
 

FfionWinnie

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Depends on the value. For insurance purposes you may need the vetting.

The only 5 stage I've had done was my horse who it turns out has PSSM. She passed. Had my vet look at a pony we had on trial as she had a lumpy leg and we scanned the tendon. It's never been a problem in the 2 years we've owned her. The rest I've bought on the buy em cheap and turn them into what I want principle. I lost out on one I hadn't insured as she died of EGS but otherwise I have not had any soundness issues at all.

If I bought something expensive I would vet it but I think it's unlikely I will because I'm having success at turning out my own and enjoying the process.
 
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xspiralx

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I am on the fence about vettings, so I'll just share with you my experiences.

I've bought four horses in my time - all well under the 5k mark. Only one did I have 5 stage vetted, two I had no vetting on and the last one had a copy of a vetting from 3 months prior to purchase when he went through Goresbridge sales.

Two of mine had no issues at all when I owned them - one who was vetted (and passed with flying colours), and my first pony who wasn't. He did go on to pass a 5 stage when I sold him though, and stayed with his next home until he died of colic many years later.

My horse Taz (the bay in my signature) I didn't have vetted. He was 'special' to say the least, but always sound - when I sold him he passed a 5 stage vetting with no issues, but within 6 months he had been PTS for kissing spine.

And my most recent horse I bought as a 4 year old over from Goresbridge sales. He had the vetting certificate from that so I didn't have him revetted. But he had a catalogue of problems which culminated in him being PTS a week ago as an 8 year old. That said, I'm not certain a vetting would have picked up his problems anyway - he was seen by numerous vets over the last few years and it took a full work up with blocks and a bone scan to actually identify his issues - he always trotted up and flexed sound.

Would I have horses vetted in future? On balance, probably - I definitely would if I was spending over 5k as you need to for insurance purposes. But I also wouldn't put all my stock in them - having seen first hand horses with career ending injuries passing with no problems. If a horse has been doing a job and stayed sound for years then that is a far greater indicator in my view than a pass or a fail on a given day - but it doesn't hurt to have an expert opinion of what you might need to look out for.
 

FlyingCircus

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You're paying for a vet's insight. From that insight, it's up to YOU to work out if you want to continue with the sale or not. It's NOT up to the vet to tell you what to do. It's up to them to advise and tell you what they see on the day. Therefore, a pass/fail is quite irrelevant (aside from for insurance), so your argument about this is a moot point.

Personally, I think you're trying to save yourself some money in a way that is unlikely to be beneficial in the long run. Sorry if that sounds mean, but that's my take.
 

ester

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If it passed a vetting with a decent vet in November I'd be tempted not to bother tbh unless I needed to for insurance. Also dependent on it's confo/age/whether there was anything else that worried me. I'd certainly spend longer checking it over myself.
Frank was vetted (passed with flying colours and he's been pretty sound :p).
Cally had a vetting that was 2 months old when we bought her, picked up a few things that were obvious (small splint in hind leg/scarring from previous accident) she was 5, had been sat in a field since that vetting and had shoes about to fall off (not shod for 10weeks). She was sound for 10 years (then did suspensory).
 

hypopit

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How I look at it, if a horse costs you £50 or £5000 the vet bills are still the same price for both animals. But a 5 stage for one so young would be a bit excessive IMO, just make sure you get the bloods as some vets include it in the price for the vetting and some don't...and some forget to tell you it's not included Grrrrr. There by hangs another tale.
 

be positive

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You're paying for a vet's insight. From that insight, it's up to YOU to work out if you want to continue with the sale or not. It's NOT up to the vet to tell you what to do. It's up to them to advise and tell you what they see on the day. Therefore, a pass/fail is quite irrelevant (aside from for insurance), so your argument about this is a moot point.

Personally, I think you're trying to save yourself some money in a way that is unlikely to be beneficial in the long run. Sorry if that sounds mean, but that's my take.

In theory you are correct the horse does not pass or fail and the vet is not there to do any more than offer advice based on the findings but in reality many vets do offer strong opinions, sometimes these opinions are based on no more than supposition, they will sometimes give advice on the price which in reality has nothing to do with the vet many of whom are not even horse owners/ riders and will have no real idea of the value placed on certain traits that for the purchaser may be a priority and add value to an otherwise ordinary horse.
Many vets do seem to step over the boundary between vet and expert adviser / trainer who will have already given their opinion as to it's suitability and ability to do the job required, the vet should be ensuring it is physically capable and no more.
 

FlyingCircus

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In theory you are correct the horse does not pass or fail and the vet is not there to do any more than offer advice based on the findings but in reality many vets do offer strong opinions, sometimes these opinions are based on no more than supposition, they will sometimes give advice on the price which in reality has nothing to do with the vet many of whom are not even horse owners/ riders and will have no real idea of the value placed on certain traits that for the purchaser may be a priority and add value to an otherwise ordinary horse.
Many vets do seem to step over the boundary between vet and expert adviser / trainer who will have already given their opinion as to it's suitability and ability to do the job required, the vet should be ensuring it is physically capable and no more.

Agreed, many vets do tend to give a definite "yes you should" or "no you shouldn't", along with various other commentary that is outside their remit! However, if you're clear with the reason you're getting the horse vetted, you can disregard the rest of the fluff that comes with the vetting and consider only their advice regarding horses movement/soundness/conformation/health/etc.
 

SusieT

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apologies I thought your budget was half that but that is a good budget - what I really mean is that you shouldnt expect every horse to have a lurking problem - we hear a lot of them on here because we hear the bad ones so there are plenty out there that pass. last 4 I've vetted ( 5 stage- all competition horses) have passed with nothing to be concerned about. 1 failed before that - on a lameness that may or may not have been something but if only one leg is involved I didn't see the point in risking it and worrying about that leg forever more.
 

SusieT

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ps= also bear in mind the possiblity of the horse being for sale due to an undiagnosed issue making him too much for a novice owner. I wouldn't use your last vet as I think she gave you bad advice- very wishy washy but I would vet with a good vet - good luck
 

FestiveFuzz

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apologies I thought your budget was half that but that is a good budget - what I really mean is that you shouldnt expect every horse to have a lurking problem - we hear a lot of them on here because we hear the bad ones so there are plenty out there that pass. last 4 I've vetted ( 5 stage- all competition horses) have passed with nothing to be concerned about. 1 failed before that - on a lameness that may or may not have been something but if only one leg is involved I didn't see the point in risking it and worrying about that leg forever more.

I think the trouble is there has been something wrong with all the horses I've gone as far as getting vetted and so I'm now looking for problems whenever we view anything and expecting the worst. Perhaps I've just been incredibly unlucky but it is making the whole horse buying experience rather stressful.

Last time I was looking I bought the third horse I saw and he flew through a 5 stage vetting so I guess I just didn't expect it to be so difficult this time around, particularly as I have more than twice as much to spend.

As it happens I've now been sent the 5 stage vetting from last year which mentions a suspected sarcoid on the inner thigh and collagen necrotic granulomas on the back (although there didn't appear to be any lumps or bumps when I saw him) so not quite passing with flying colours. He's £5k and given he was bought so recently I doubt she'll reduce his price so in all honesty I'll probably have to walk away as sarcoids are a dealbreaker for me.
 

SusieT

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how annoying - it's amazing what half truths or small omissions people tell you when selling horses isn't it!
 

FestiveFuzz

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how annoying - it's amazing what half truths or small omissions people tell you when selling horses isn't it!

I just don't understand it as they've said all along they'd be happy to share the vetting certificate with me so they must have known. And even with being a first time owner you'd think the vet or someone would have explained what it meant.
 

FlyingCircus

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Don't get too disheartened. I know you've had some rubbish luck. I also went to see a bunch before I bought mine, more than a few were lame, some nuts and others no where near the height advertised.

How big is the radius you're looking?
Hopefully now it's coming into summer, there will be more horses on the market too.
 
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