As I mentioned in my last post, I had a very strange experience with Ernie’s pre-purchase exam.
First though, let’s back up to my decision making process regarding buying Ernie. If you remember back in December when he came on lease, I was concerned he was too small for me. He no longer feels small to me when I’m riding him. I admit I am still a bit self conscious about my size on him, but my trainer and friends have disagreed with me and I’ve gotten good ribbons in the couple shows we have done which tells me judges aren’t bothered either by our look together. I just need to face the fact that Stampede was huge and I’m not going to look like that on most horses, lol.
While I wish Ernie was a couple years younger (he just turned 11 in May) as well, he has so many positive points that I can’t hold it against him. Positives list as follows:
- Forgiveness. I can miss to the same fence twice and come back around and he rides just the same like nothing happened.
- Attitude. Kind of goes along with forgiveness, but Ernie is just a happy guy and enjoyable to be around. He doesn’t require warm up classes or lunging to go in the show ring. He loves to jump. He is pretty sure my every time currying is excessive though and lets me know.
- Riding alone. I can ride this horse alone out in the grass field without an issue. The other day a mom and baby deer popped out of the woods and he just looked at them curiously and we continued on.
- Lead changes. As long as I don’t do weird things to mess him up on the left to right one he has great changes. This issue is a leftover from Maestro I’ve been getting over that only seems to appear in shows when I’m a bit anxious in a rollback at this point. I didn’t miss any last show, woot!
Of course every horse has some quirks too. Ernie spooks at shadows at times, particularly his shadow on the indoor wall! He is totally irritated by things on his face when you are riding – bugs, cottonwood, rain – so most of the time he wears a nose net outside.
So basically I fell in love.
Due to a missed issue on Maestro’s pre-purchase exam, I knew going into Ernie’s exam I wanted to use someone else. Many calls later, it turns out very few vets come to my area. I did however find a vet that goes to the barn next door a lot and was willing to come over after she finished there one evening. So we had an appointment set for 5pm. She pushed it back to 530, then said she was coming over…only to arrive after 7pm. So that alone was weird and frustrating, but I pushed it aside. She wanted to see him under saddle so I got him ready. By then my trainer had to leave and pretty much no one else was around so it was just me and this new to me vet.
She had me just start trotting Ernie around. I told her I generally let him walk longer and then do a couple laps with no contact to loosen up before getting to work. Due to the time I got about a half lap of walk in then she had me start trotting. She tells me to keep trotting like I was, despite the fact it was a crappy trot not on contact. She then tells me he is lame. Okay, except no one has ever told me he’s lame before (we won a couple classes at the barn schooling show not long before) and he just feels super lazy in this trot she has me doing. Vet says flexions were fine except the right hind – I couldn’t see since she did them with me on him. We go in and she takes a couple x-rays of his hind ankle and proceeds to tell me that he has a hind suspensory or deep digital flexor issue in that leg.
I assume many of you are, like me, quite confused as to how you can diagnose a soft tissue problem via x-rays. It’s a good question. The vet then suggests an ultrasound to check the extent of the damage if I want to continue or we can stop there. So I call my trainer and have the vet explain to her and we stop.
Obviously I’m upset and quite confused at this point. It’s a few days before I can talk with my trainer because she’s at an away show but finally we sit down and decide to have the regular barn vet ultrasound the leg the next day when he’s out because that’s the only way to really figure out what’s going on.
As you can guess at this point, the ultrasound was perfectly fine. So I just scheduled a pre-purchase exam with the regular barn vet for his next available appointment. Thankfully I also have a vet friend who reads equine x-rays for a living so I knew she would be willing to check everything out as well. Actually she was nice enough to come out with her ultrasound machine and ultrasound him a second time just because she wanted to see for herself. If only she had an x-ray machine too!
Of course from my last post you know I bought Ernie so the second pre-purchase obviously went much better than the first attempt! How do vets like the first one exist?