Horse lame day of PPE - any advice?

I tried a horse I really like this past weekend and gave the seller a 10% deposit, it’s refundable based on PPE results. Horse is 4 and has only been under saddle for a couple of months. The seller is a professional trainer and horse seller, I don’t know anyone that knows him personally but extensive googling results have been positive and FWIW I didn’t get a bad vibe from him. I am not within driving distance of the horse so I am relying on the seller to arrange the PPE. My vet knows the PPE vet so I am comfortable with him.

PPE was scheduled for Wednesday and the seller texted me that morning and said the horse popped a splint on his left front leg, and he would likely have poor flexion results, but that it wasn’t serious and he should be fine. I asked the PPE vet to take an x-ray of it before doing anything else. He sent the x-ray to my vet who said the popped splint isn’t serious but that I should wait until the horse is sound before doing a full PPE. The PPE vet agreed and said he thinks the horse is sore because his hooves were trimmed poorly, too short, and it would take 2-3 months for his feet to grow out and be sound enough for a PPE. I am not sure why the seller trimmed his feet, they looked fine when I tried him and he was sound.

Basically the seller and both vets think the popped splint isn’t serious, but the seller and PPE vet don’t agree on how long it will take the horse to get sound. How long could I ask the seller to wait for the horse to be sound enough for a PPE? Are there certain things I should ask him to do (e.g., video horse, send me pictures of his feet, etc.)? Or should I walk away? I can’t imagine the seller being willing to hold the horse for 2 months. He told me the day I tried the horse that he had a buyer willing to buy off video, I have no idea if that is true or not. I really like the horse, but I am not willing to buy without a PPE.


I would take it as a sign to keep looking and hope that maybe you can work it out so you get your deposit back since the horse is not sound now. The right one will come along!


I’d ask for a video of a trot up, pics of feet, and send to your vet for their opinion on whether it’s a short trim or something else. Only if I REALLY liked the horse. And it was a steal of a price.

To be honest though this sounds like red flags (though we all know horses can be fun like that). Tell the seller that you’ll wait on a PPE and would like your deposit back - ask him to contact you if horse comes sound and is still available in a month or say you’ll reach back out. I’m inclined to believe the vet on the soundness timeline here since they definitely SHOULD be more qualified in their opinion.


Thank you for the recommendations and that is a really good point about the vet. I do really like the horse, but he is not a steal of a price. Unfortunately, he is the only horse I’ve liked within my budget and I’ve been looking for over a year. I wish I knew someone who knew the seller or some other way to find out if he is not trustworthy.

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Ugh, I feel your pain. I tried one that I really liked about 5 years ago and same thing happened - he popped a splint between my ride and his PPE. We went forward with the PPE and he flexed lame. I called it quits at that point. The seller was understanding at that point but as I tried to work something out with her, things didn’t go that great. I pulled the plug on it.

In some ways, I wonder if it was the right thing to do, but it just crossed the threshold of my risk tolerance.


That’s so frustrating but it’s how the market is right now. I know someone who has been looking for 2 years - her budget didn’t inflate with the cost of the horse she wants (and she started shopping RIGHT as they all went skyrocketing). I’d personally keep looking, and believe that the right horse will show up.

Who knows - maybe he will come sound and still be for sale once his feet grow in too! But, I’d PPE the living daylights out of him; foot and leg rads for SURE. Splints happen, but the combination of that and potentially a short trim can really throw a horse out of whack


I would pull out of the sale for now and tell the seller to call you when the horse is sound. Even if it is a big deal you can’t possibly do a true PPE so there is no logical way to move forward without a big leap of faith. And every seller seems to always have this other buyer waiting to move quicker. Well, they can go ahead and take the risk. In my experience there is hardly ever this other buyer waiting to buy the unsound horse…

If the horse comes sound and you want to still vet him in a few months, I would be very very thorough and also do a blood test. If not, then I guess it was just not meant to be!

I’ve had a similar situation although I had not put down a deposit yet. But horse was definitely trimmed a bit short and didn’t feel like I could move forward at the time. I ended up finding a different horse later.


First of all, can you get your deposit back? I sure hope so.

You shouldn’t buy a lame horse, no matter what the cause. I mean, what if it’s NOT the popped splint or trim job causing it? You don’t know at this point. My advice is to pull back and keep looking, but have the seller call you when horsey is sound again. Whoever this supposed “other buyer” is, I doubt they want a lame horse either.

Take yourself/your emotions out of this situation. Pretend you were a friend offering yourself advice. You probably wouldn’t advise a friend to move forward with this purchase right now, would you?


Pretend you were a friend offering yourself advice.

a friend not on this board as here the encouragement would be pay in full now while you still have the chance to purchase the lovely beast.

When/If there is the second prepurchased vet exam I would have at least two vials of blood drawn, one tested for pain killers the other held


?? You’re post #9 and no one has said anything like that. The opposite, in fact.


I interpreted to mean don’t ask your horsey friends because they will tell you to buy him right away when your non-horsey friends will ask why the heck you would buy a lame horse. And interestingly, that has proven to be true!


I am a breeder and also sell adult horses on consignment. I have had horses go lame prior to a PPE or come up lame for the PPE. Usually if is something simple like a stone bruise. I’ve also had corneal abrasion. So stuff does happen and I am fine if the buyer wants to walk or the buyer wants to wait. Let’s be honest, if there is something wrong with the horse, there is no way that horse is marketable. So I am going to have to treat it and wait. Some buyers elect to move on and others do not. Oh and I insist that blood is drawn and held at any PPE. My reputation is very important to me.

I generally accept a small refundable deposit. If the horse is unacceptable to the buyer for any reason and I mean ANY reason, like “the tail is not bushy enough” or “the horse is too wide” then there is no sale. It doesn’t have to be a PPE issue. The last thing I want to do is sell a horse to someone who does not want it for whatever reason. The PPE does have to be scheduled in short order, but otherwise I’m happy to refund any deposit. I add on caveat; I only sell a breed that is in short supply and high demand plus I do not make my living selling horses. I have very different motivations than some sellers.


Can the vet not tell if the lameness is truly caused by the sore feet? It should be fairly simple to take a look and x ray the feet?

@IronwoodFarm I think the seller is close to your philosophy. And my first reaction was not that the seller was untrustworthy and these kinds of things happen.

He said he will hold my deposit and wait 2-3 weeks to try the PPE again or he will return my deposit now. He fully believes the horse will be sound again and isn’t concerned at all.

@Jealoushe the PPE vet and I agreed not to move forward with any more x-rays until the horse is sound. I don’t know that the vet is convenient enough for the seller to take him in for foot x-rays.

Would it be offensive if I let the seller know that the PPE will include a blood test for drugs? That way if he is thinking of covering something up, he would know that he can’t (theoretically). The risk would be paying for a full PPE and finding out he was drugged later, my assumption is the blood test results take a while.

RE: blood tests. These days (and going back at least 20 years in my experience), asking for blood to be drawn and then held is common place for all above-board horse sales. No seller worth their salt would object. The blood is held (unless one is looking for a particular syndrome in a particular horse breed) until the horse is at it’s new place of residence long enough for any drugs that might be used to cover up any lameness/personality problems not previously disclosed would be flushed out of the horses system.


Thank you, I did not know this. I’ve bought two horses but I didn’t ask for blood tests because I knew the sellers.

I would not let “knowing the seller” be the reason for not taking a blood sample. My parents were sold a number of sketchy horses when my sister and I were kids but people we know. It is no insult to me if blood ever is drawn at a PPE.


I bought a horse last year from a well-known sporthorse trainer/rider/agent. They encourage buyers to do a blood draw. They stand behind their horses and reputation. This way they can never be blamed for misrepresenting sale horses.


He isn’t going to sell as long as he is lame( at least I hope not) . All you can do is tell the seller that once he is sound then he can schedule the PPE and you will go from there.


I know it’s common practice, but I don’t understand why people HOLD the blood. Why not run a drug screen? It’s a lot easier to never wire however much money than to try to get it back once it is gone.

What’s another $200 on a PPE. There are still things that a seller can give that can help the horse flex better that you can’t detect. Adequan, Legend serapin. However, if that’s all it takes to keep a horse sound it doesn’t bother me. well serapin might be a step too far but as far as I know there is no test for it.

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