I went with Margaret today to the vets for a standard vet check. It made me think about what to look for in vet checks.
Buying a new horse can be so exciting but fraught with pitfalls and disappointments. I was SO disappointed that Butterbean and Shiloh didn't work out for me. I had Butterbean's shots, teeth floated, etc. expecting him to be "The One". I rode him one weekend up at Ebenezer with no problems but 2 days later he was LAME. I hauled him to Doc's and he said that I could probably turn him out and in a month he'd be fine for another trail ride but would be lame again...he said he wasn't sound for trail riding the way I wanted to trail ride. (considering Biscuit and I have logged over 400 miles this year it was a good choice) I hauled him back to Archie. Archie had him shod all the way around ($100 + tranquilizers!) and finally gave him to someone to trail ride with. I hope they treat The Butters well as he was a very sweet horse.
Shilow actually was popping out with an abscess which made her somewhat lame but the farrier said his opinion was her feet would be a serious problem with trail riding. He said lots of maintenance. What a shame. I really liked that horse. I think I would have become very attached to her.
So, what are you looking for when a horse is vetted? Part of that depends on what the horse is going to do! I am interested in trail riding and trail riding is not really for sissies. Up and down hills, crossing creeks, rivers, bogs, mud holes, going through deep sand, going over rocks. You need a horse with tough hooves - barefoot is great - but in lou of that - good strong hooves and no thrush, contracted heels, etc. (I am still fighting thrush in Biscuit's feet).
Make sure there is not evidence of foundering, fever rings, (poor Shilow had fever rings) no limping when taking off, stiffness coming out of a trailer, etc. Have a qualified vet check the horse - yes, it is expensive but not near as expensive as a horse with problems!!! If you are going to do heavy duty rodeoing, jumping, eventing, endurance, showing etc. get x-rays. Have them evaluated by the vet with your particular needs in mind. Horses can be like humans with arthritis - their hooves and hocks can be injected to make them more comfortable while working. Right now I couldn't pass a vet check with my own bum knee!!! The vet will check for hock, hip, stifle issues. Many TW horses end up with stifle issues due to built up shoes in the ring. Stifle issues can be a total deal breaker.
I spoke with a lady at the vet's today about a former horse of hers. Excellent horse with great potential that her daughter was showing. Poor guy had ulcers that they were treating - he finally ruptured a gut and had to be put down. Poor thing. I have heard of horses having ulcers but rupturing a gut was horrible for the horse and the people.
Some issues can be controlled and managed. But to be informed is to be forewarned. The more information you have the better decision you can make about the purchase of a horse or the work you expect your horse to be able to handle.
I did go out and visit the horses. I got to hug them up a little, being very careful of my leg. Hopefully it will be better soon and I will be riding again!