Monday, 30 March 2015

Why You Should Always Have A Horse Vetted

Meet Tinsel (Passport name: Inagh). A lovely 16hh Thoroughbred mare. No, unfortunately I don't have a new horse; in fact Tinsel was the first horse we properly bought after my loan pony (& before Pea). I owned Tinsel for two months but only rode her for 5 days.

When I went to view Tinsel she seemed like a really sweet mare, lovely to ride and I felt that I could achieve a lot with her. At that time, I was into showjumping as I'd had an awesome little loan pony who jumped anything you pointed him at. Tinsel was similar, having a lovely jump along with a nice approach. I'm not 100% certain but I have a feeling I did go for a second visit... I didn't take an instructor or anyone more knowledgeable along with me, though I did discuss her with my instructor and I didn't get her vetted. Turns out, that was a great mistake!

Tinsel was delivered to us as we didn't have transport and she arrived whilst I was at school. Our yard has a policy that new horses have to be stabled for 48hours before they are allowed turnout (although they are not in isolation). The first day, I just took her in hand for a walk in-hand so that she could get used to her surroundings and the arena. The second day I rode her and she was so well behaved. I rode her a few more times, again always so well behaved, and then on the fifth day of riding her she felt majorly lame. I immediately hopped off her and trotted her up to confirm that she was indeed lame. We kept an eye on her over the next few days only for her to not come sound. Over the next month or two she ended up having numerous tests which all came back inconclusive as to the cause of her lameness with the vets wanting to do more in-depth tests. At that time, I was doing my GCSE's, including one in sport and riding, so I really needed a horse to ride. Tinsel also became rather unmanageable with her rearing and bolting as soon as she was led down the grass stretch towards her field. In the field, she was as good as gold, always looking after the little ponies, and she was fine coming out by the gate for food, it was just when you bought her all the way in to the stables that she would go mad! It resulted that only my dad was able to handle her (even though he'd hardly been around horses) as he was the only one strong enough to hold her. I remember one time when I was taking her out and she bolted off, cantering down the side of the field only to fall over. I'm sure that was one of the worse moments of my life. Luckily she got up fine but we realised that we just couldn't look after her anymore.

During this time, we were going through Trading Standards to try and get our money back as all forms of communication with the old owners were coming to a dead end. Unfortunately, whilst we would get our money back, we would also have to give Tinsel back to her old owners which is something we didn't want to do. Therefore, we decided to advertise her for loan as a broodmare - a risky decision seeing as she'd never foaled before and we didn't know if her leg could take it. Luckily, we received a call from someone who had been to view Tinsel for a client only to find out about her lameness but she put us in contact with a friend who was looking for a broodmare. Tinsel went back to Oxford to a woman and has lived with the same woman ever since having a few foals and being so happy.

If we'd had her vetted then we would have found out about her lameness as she was clearly drugged when she arrived to mask the pain. However, I'm glad that we did buy her as at least she's now happy in a home with people who adore her. I do still wonder what would have happened if she hadn't turned out to be lame but if I'm honest, I'm not really a thoroughbred owner...I much prefer my native breeds!

So, if you're thinking about buying a horse, please always make sure to get them vetted! There are two options - a 2* or 5* and whilst the 5* is more favourable it depends what you're planning on using the horse for. Also make sure that you use your vet or one recommended and not there's as they could still cover a problem up.

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

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