Vetting - 2stage/5stage 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.
 

fathorselover

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All I can say is that if I was buying a horse for a few thousand pounds I would vet for my own peace of mind as its an awful lot of money to lose, imagine if you spent a lot on the horse and it turned out to have an issue that definitely would have been picked up at vetting? You'd never forgive yourself... on the other hand if it's cheap I'd be more liable to take a punt. I paid 800 for my current mare a year ago, didn't vet and she's been sound as a pound, although honestly I do count myself lucky there!
 

dressage_diva

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I think it depends on how much you are planning to spend and how much you can afford to lose if it were to go wrong.

My first horse was £1250 and was not vetted - I'm still riding him almost 17years later!

My new horse was a lot more expensive and did have a 5 stage vetting as I couldn't afford to throw the money away if I'd found out shortly down the road there was something wrong (I appreciate that could still happen even after a vetting). When I was looking for him I had another horse vetted first that had only been vetted about 6weeks before - he failed the flexion test horrendously (absolutely hopping lame!).

Another thing to consider is what your insurance company require (depending on his value). Some require 5stage vetting if you are insuring over a certain amount.
 

be positive

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I think it depends on how much you are planning to spend and how much you can afford to lose if it were to go wrong.

My first horse was £1250 and was not vetted - I'm still riding him almost 17years later!

My new horse was a lot more expensive and did have a 5 stage vetting as I couldn't afford to throw the money away if I'd found out shortly down the road there was something wrong (I appreciate that could still happen even after a vetting). When I was looking for him I had another horse vetted first that had only been vetted about 6weeks before - he failed the flexion test horrendously (absolutely hopping lame!).

Another thing to consider is what your insurance company require (depending on his value). Some require 5stage vetting if you are insuring over a certain amount.

The flexion test fail described above is interesting as in my experience a failed flexion test on it's own would not make me walk away if I loved the horse, I have known several scenarios where fails have been red herrings.
Horse 1 purchased after failing hind flexions, I had seen this horse using itself so well I could not believe it had a real problem, it had some soft tissue damage to the hocks that in my view were the cause of his reaction to flexing, he came here was 100% sound and when sold as a 15 year old flew through his flexion tests with the vet commenting how good he was as she expected to see some response in a horse of his age.
Horse 2 sold from here having had a recent MOT by my own vet and "passed" he got away from me during the trot up and probably kicked himself in the process, he failed the flexion on one hind and the following day had some minor swelling just below the hock, he passed the next vetting and is happily hunting with his new owners.
Horse 3 failed in front, badly, the vet advised purchase as he felt it was due to a splint just below the knee and other than that he was perfect for the job, the buyers went ahead and bought him,
None were cheap, all were above £4k and all went on to do what they were purchased for, general all rounders, so if I had one fail just on flexions I would nearly always want to either go back another day or investigate further if the horse was perfect in every other way, most horses can be crippled by flexing if the vet tries hard enough and it is a rather crude tool in the vetting process, it is not clear cut as to what may show up , many people would prefer just to see them trot on a circle.
 

dressage_diva

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Oh I agree the flexion test is very subjective, but this was on a young horse and it didn't come sound after being lunged after the flexion test and the vetting had to be abandoned as it was so lame! Even if I had wanted to ignore the failed flexion test there is no way my insurers would have insured him with that vet report!
 

LouisCat

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I've never had a horse vetted and **touch wood** never had any issues. However, the most I've spent on a horse is £1500 so perhaps not in the same league!
 
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