When they do FLEXION test...

iluvhorses28

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Jul 29, 2005
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A friend just had a flexion test done to his horse for a pre-purchase exam... I watched and was curious about the process...
Anyway...his mare came up slightly off after her forelimb lest...very slight...and it went away shortly after. Before the exam she was perfectly fine...
The buyer there was a bit curious at the outcome...
When I got home I looked into this online and what I have read was that these things do not necessarily mean one should stop looking into that horse...that that was THAT day's test, and it could not turn into anything more serious... a 50/50 chance so to speak.
Has anyone come across this type of issue?

The horse is in excellent health and is ridden only on trails... so my friend was suprised she came up "off " on her exam... Just the front leg.

The article I read from a Dr. Ramey said that this should not be a sole basis of eliminating interest on a horse...further xrays...etc. should make things clearer. Also heard some horses that do excellent on pre-purchase exams, later after purchases come up with other things not necessarily seen at the time of exam... I guess that's the uncertainty of purchasing one.
 

*Sez*

Salsa & Solstice Twilight
Sep 12, 2003
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To my knowledge the whole purpose of a flexion test is that the vet is putting an unnatural strain on the ligaments and tendons and it's usually NOT a reason not to buy a horse. When we had Salsa done, the vet explained that the majority of horses will be slightly lame for a few strides - afterall, if someone held you leg in the air at an odd angle and asked you to run, you'd probably need a few minutes for your leg to work properly again, too! :D He was very surprised when Salsa was perfectly fine for all of his legs to be done and wasn't even remotely stiff, but apparently this isn't common.

A lot of people dislike flexion tests as it really is an "unnatural" strain and the sort of pressure the vet creates is apparently very unlike anything the horse would encounter in an average workload.
 

april89

previously rhiannon264
Dec 30, 2005
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Hampshire
I knew a stallion once which was always sound unless you did a flexion test and for the next couple of minutes he'd show up slightly lame. This was only because he had very slight arthritis which was exacerbated by the test (he was actually used at a yard to teach the riders how to see if a horse is lame as they knew he'd show slightly). He was kept in medium ridden work (although mainly flatwork) for a number of years and never developed any lameness from his arthritis. :rolleyes:
As has been said above, this test is a useful way to check whether there may be an underlying problem but if it shows something all hope should not be abandoned. Like people perhaps the horse is just having an off day after a vibrant gallop around his field last night! :D
 

april89

previously rhiannon264
Dec 30, 2005
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Replying to Sez - I don't need anyone to hold my leg at a funny angle for me to limp a few strides before I can start moving properly. :eek: Therefore who can blame the horses!:p
 

claire hodgson

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Sep 24, 2005
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i had my very first horse vetted and he failed the flexion test; it didn't matter, he was sound, gave me a few years of good learning before i sold him on to be someone else's first horse. That was about 16 years ago, so he is unlikely to be still around (i heard later that he was in fact a good few years older than he'd been said to be). general consensus, a failed flexion test on its own is no reason not to buy, most will fail it.
 

fiesty_filly

Jockey In Training
I've found that any flexion tests that we have ever done have been a waste of time. Some lame horses have shown sound... and many sound horses have shown lame. Vets cannot even agree how long the flexion should be held, I've had some say 30 sec, some 1 min, some 2 min and another 3 min. So I have personally decided that I will never trust ANY flexion results. If the horse shows itself sound in every other way except the flexion then I will not hesitate to buy it. If any person here was held in an unnatural position for any of those lengths of times they would come out quite lame.
 

iluvhorses28

New Member
Jul 29, 2005
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Thank you all!

Spoke to my friend-- and good news! His buyer DID NOT change their mind solely on this issue!!!
The horse is a wonderful and quite personable horse...and physically sound and healthy...

many people have different opinions of Flexions.. Like most VETS swear by it as a cautionary thing a horse "may" have issues with.... but many disregard it althogether... as it bears no real measure to the horse at a later time... some perfectly great horses even come out with slight limps after flexions.... and I do agree....about the jodhs part:D , ever feel all tangled up after trying to SQEEEEEZE into them contraptions????? Then start trying to run about! :D
 

Scarlett 001

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Sep 16, 2003
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A bit late responding here, but Skeeter did not pass flexion on his front left leg. So we x-rayed and it did show he had some minor arthritis. It was useful to find out that the arthritis was there, but in terms of his soundness at present, he has never shown up lame in that leg due to the arthritis. But it has made me aware it could be a future issue, so not bad information to have, even though it is not affecting him presently - nor did it affect my decision to buy him.
 

cassiejane

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Dec 15, 2005
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If the horse failed the flexion test then does he fail the vetting too.

If he fails the vetting does that mean that you cannot get insurance for him?
 

Skyhuntress

Trying to escape reality
Apr 26, 2005
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Ideally, what you want to see happen is a horse will appear lame for 2-3 strides and then even out. If they fail a flexion test, its usually a good indication that they are weaker in that leg, muscles were damaged, there is arthritis, ect. But it also has to be taken with a grain of salt (depending on how badly they failed the flexion test) because a lot of horses do adapt naturally to differences in their legs. For example, my friend's horse failed. The reason being a splint was putting pressure on some nerves. She bought the horse anyways, gave him 3 months off and is now competing at the 4ft level and 2nd level dressage.

I would not however buy a horse who failed the flexion tests on more then 2 legs. Absolutely not. It's a good indication that something IS definately wrong and may be a problem later on.