Maya wrote...
I've not paid all that much attention to our various TB-specific issues raised in discussion over the past few months...so I'm wondering if everyone could point out anything I'm missing on stuff to ascertain in the pre-purchase about a TB who's raced: 

  • roaring 
  • pin-firing 
  • nerving 
  • "bleeders" (from nostrils) 
  • which tend to be the most crucial xrays? 

Steuart's reply...

Roaring you can hear if you canter or even better gallop for three or four minutes. A vet would do it in a prepurchase as well. If there's a concern they can then scope and see what the obstruction looks like. 

Pin firing is not a concern. Just means they had an old-fashioned jerk as a trainer or vet. I understand it's illegal in England? 

Nerving is unlikely. Vet can prod around enough to uncover it if there's suspicion. You can ask directly, and I've read that courts will uphold your demand for a refund if they lie on this one. I've never worried about it. 

Bleeders are very common. At least in Maryland they have a certificate with their papers saying they're bleeders so they can run on Lasix. Very few race track bleeders bleed in other sports. I ignore it. 

Ankles, hocks, and front feet in that order, I'd say for x-rays. Knees only if there are lumps or swelling. Ultrasound if there's an old bow. If you're buying a horse cheap and it's racing sound and with clean legs when you buy it, and you don't plan to re-sell for big bucks you might want to skip x-rays altogether. I think a horse's ability to walk off a race track with cool, tight legs says a lot more about their likelihood of future soundness than x-rays. 

Get his race record. Call the Jockey Club Information Systems and they'll fax it within a couple of hours. They need a name and year of birth. You can then see if the horse raced consistently. If there are gaps try to find 
out why. If he's been resting for a while, find out why they retired him. If he was winning at the end, he probably retired for soundness reasons. If he was losing, he might have finished sound. Don't rule him out just becasue of an old injury. Most race horses have been lame at some point. Just try to get the history so your vet can evaluate whether he's healed enough. If you're a real Sherlock Holmes, ask to see his papers and contact previous owners. They may or may not be willing to give you some background if they even remember. 

Clean-legged ex race horses are great. They're tough, they've been exposed to a lot, and they know how to go forward. Good luck.

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