Should I buy a 2-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse with potential hock problems?

Question: I am looking at a 16.3 hand 2 yr old appendix quarter horse gelding. His owner is a college student and can’t afford him anymore so she is selling him for a reasonable price. When he was 1 a bone spur was found on his hock. His owner had him injected with hock injections and has kept up on proper shoeing and neither her nor the trainer have seen any signs of the problem since. He is now 2 and is broken. He has been shown (hunter under saddle, equitation, and showmanship) and has won a good bit of money, and is ridden/worked everyday and hasn’t been injected since. I’m wondering if he could’ve grown out of this or if it is going to give me any future problems, i already have a horse with a badly injured back so i don’t need another hurt horse. I plan to do hunter under saddle, equitation, showmanship, some western pleasure, and some light jumping (around age 5) he will be worked just about everyday and shown almost every weekend. PLEASE HELP!!!!!

Answer from April Reeves: Ouch, there are many things you have written that suggest to me to look somewhere else for a horse. I’m not a vet but after all these years there are certain training methods that show up in physical problems down the road, and riding before the age of 3 is the most prominent.

Regardless of the bone spur, anyone who has started a horse that young and works it every day is setting the horse up for back issues down the road. No, there is never a guarantee of this, but your odds right now of having a horse with back issues are 50% and in my books, that’s 50% too much.

There are so many great appendix quarter horses for sale right now. In fact, there are many show quality horses for almost free it would be worth your while to investigate this. I know a real hot appendix in Missouri that stands 17HH that I would love to have in my barn. Not sure where you live but it’s my ‘strong’ suggestion to search further.

The hock may never show signs of damage again, but with the riding history, I’m betting money on it. If he was such an amazing horse at such an amazing price, I would put him out to pasture for 1 year with buddies. I use to put my OTTB’s on 30 acres together to run and play and eat all day and night. After one year, you knew if there were any injuries to worry about. Horses that run free tend to heal much faster and strengthen their bones, ligaments and tendons properly.

‘Movement’ is the key to horse health and healing. Confinement is the key to problems. Horses feet are much like ours, with ‘zones’ that create stimulation to organs. Taking this young horse home and putting him in confinement will increase your chances of many problems.

Try to find a horse that has less ‘odds’ of being a possible problem down the road. Paying for the horse is cheap; keeping it is the expensive part. It costs the same to feed a good horse as it does a bad horse. I don’t want to see anyone with 2 problem pets.

I’m curious about the back issues of your other horse?

Thank you for emailing me, and thank you for visiting the site. You can email any time with your questions.

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7 responses to “Should I buy a 2-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse with potential hock problems?

  1. thanks for your advice and that is what ive been thinking. i was going to have my vet look at his x-rays anyway to see what he thought. could you possibly send me a way to get in contact with the owner of the 17 hand appendix, i am in desperate need of a new show horse for the upcoming show season.
    in regards to my other horse with the back problem. she is a 15.3 hand 9yr old OTTB. she came off the track due to not being fast enought but she had no injuries. i have had her since see was 5 and she is the sweetest thing. we started her lightly in training and we connected right away. she was in training for about a year till we went to our first shows she was placing 1st-3rd up against congress quarter horses. one day we were at a small show at the barn where we trained and we had already won our first 2 flat classes we then came to our hunter hack class (2 small jumps in a straight line) and on the practice round she refused the first jump (not sure why she had jumped those very jumps many times and been fine, i think something spooked her)i flew over her head but got back on and was fine. we reapprouched the same jump and she jumped it fine. we went to the second jump and she refused again i once again flew off but this time her reins flew over her head and my hand got stuck she started moving backward and pulled me under her, she reared in order to not step on me and her back legs slipped out from under her, she completly fell straight back on to the saddle hard! there was a vet there and he checked her back and said he didnt think there was any damage that he could see but minutes later her back started to swell, it was so swollen that her wither was almost hidden, we iced it and didnt work her for weeks, a vet checked her after the swelling went down and confirmed her sound so we started working her slowly. she showed no signs of recovery so we took her to our fair and we went home with grand champion, later after the fair we noticed more swelling so we put her on rest for 6 months. that was 4 years ago and since then she has been to 6 chiropractors and had 8 times, this works for a week but thats it. sadly i have given up with her due to the many vet’s/trainers advice. now i only ride her on short trail rides and even then she buckles her back and throws her head in pain(she also does that if you touch from her withers to her rump…. its sad but i dont want to put her through anymore pain. next year we are going to be breeding her through artifical in semination so the stud doesnt injure her back more(we have heard that sometimes the baby will put pressure on their back and fix it) but if you have any advice please contact me, we are willing to try anything

    • I would not have looked at the mare’s back, but in the neck close to the poll. The horse’s ‘real’ back goes from the poll, down along the back, around the hindquarters and ties in at the gaskin. This is one big ‘chain’ of muscles, and what happens in one area affects all the other areas. Many times after an accident involving rearing, the neck at the poll is often the offender, and this ‘pain energy’ transfers down into the wither and spine. It’s much like whiplash that humans get after a car accident. While your neck never really ‘hit’ anything, it is the area that received the impact of the ‘energy’. Injuries are often chronic because the energy needs to release and go somewhere. While many vets think this is crazy, energy does have these patterns, especially with accidents. Animals in the wild release energy all the time. Watch 2 ducks fight for territory. They flap and peck at each other, then swim away in opposite directions, and stand up and flap their wings quickly to release the negative energy that fighting builds up. Animals know how to do this. Humans have forgotten. This is why I put injured horses out with a small herd to heal. It’s also why I look in the not-so-obvious place for injuries. If you think through an accident, you can follow the ‘pathway’ that the energy flows, and if you get it early enough you can release it. If this was my mare, I would release her on a large acreage with a herd. We have such places where I live, and many retired and injured horses live out their days in peace and freedom. Many return to service again. Whether the foal helps or hinders the mare is only a 50/50 chance. It could go either way. Although there are tons of good horses around, there is nothing like the experience of bringing up a foal with the intention of keeping it. If you do it right, you will have a bond for life with that horse. I had an Arabian stallion from birth, and when we were separated for a long time, he quit eating and died. The vet was beside himself, as there was nothing ‘wrong’ with him other than a broken heart.

      • yes, she has been turned out on 50 acres with 15 other horses since a month after the accident, she lives on a nice flat farm with tons of grass across from my house and is rarely stall kept, she is able to run whereever and has three large ponds that shes loves to swim in. i trail ride her there occationally. she is the boss of the herd and is loving life, its just a shame she isnt like she used to be. but i think we are just gonna go with breeding her because i have always wanted to hand raise a baby. and hopefully we can get a two for one deal, a gorgous baby and a recovered back.

  2. i am located in west virginia, if you know of any nice, tall, hunter under saddle horses that aren’t too young or old please let me know. i am looking for an appendix quarter horse, a full bred quarter horse, or a paint overo. i show in the breed shows and am willing to go APHA or AQHA

    • I will give you the email to a very good breeder (who has the BIG appendix). Her name is Renae Dudley and she breeds some of the best Quarter horses I’ve seen. Tell her April sent you. This gelding is very scopy and long. Renae had him broke and he goes through water and up and down trails and seems very well mannered. Good horse to get on and get going, and should end up being worth quite a bit in the right hands. It’s almost impossible to find an AQHA horse over 16 hands, with bone and feet to match. Renae: info@himarks.net

  3. thanks i just emailed her.

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