Should you buy?
“LAMENESS following flexion does not necessarily mean that a horse is unsuitable for purchase,” explains Dr Andre Buthe.
“The general expectation is that a young horse will be sound after a flexion test, while an older horse may show more reactivity — but this is not always the case.
“An older competition horse showing reactivity after flexion may still be suitable, especially if the vet performing the PPE is satisfied with the rest of the orthopaedic evaluation. If a horse has a consistent competition record and has proved his ability to withstand the current workload without needing time off for injury, then it may be worth taking this into consideration when making a decision regarding purchase.
“Instead of focusing purely on the positive flexion test, it is important to find out if the examining vet has any other concerns that may prejudice the horse’s chances of performing the job required. As a purchaser, it may be sensible to consider walking away from a horse that has several other major findings. If the flexion test is the primary problem, however, a thorough orthopaedic assessment may be worthwhile and could help the decision-making.
“Buying a horse is always a balance of risks. If you do go ahead with the purchase, be aware that any findings from the PPE may result in exclusions being placed by your insurance company. And you may well have the same problem with flexion tests in future PPEs — although this is less likely to be an issue if the horse in question gains an outstanding performance record by the time you come to sell.”