Some of you might remember the thread about the re-training and re-homing of off the track horses of both breeds (TB & STB). Having been involved with mostly the Standardbred I can say without question that the majority of them finish racing with soundness issues...either in the short term or the long term. Concussion injuries, tendons, hocks and knees are the most common. Many of these things manifest themselves slowly and begin with bumble-footing, tripping and poor flexion, moving on to arthritic conditions at an earlier age than normal. Even if a horse didn't have an extensive time on the track, the stresses involved in pre-training and full training have the same effect.....after all a horse does more work and more hours in training than they do in a race. The Thoroughbred has the same issues......they train and work many more hours than they race. While the concussion is slightly different because they race and train on softer tracks (grass as opposed to gravel), the stresses on tendons and early bone is still an issue that affects short term and long term soundness. Articles written by John O'Leary and Dr John Kohnke make great reading. It is these people who contributed to the figures of 7 out of 10 horses being unsound post their racing career. I think the RIRDC actually had higher figures in their studies on wastage in the racing industry. On top of physical conformational issues comes the heart and lungs. Upper respiratory disease or abnormality causes health concerns for even recreational riders in that horses can experience "wind problems" or wheezes or seem to consistently suffer from allergies and broncy episodes. The issue of vet checks are suspect too.......a vet can only assess what he sees on standard tests like flexion or run outs.......those are not valuable or reliable exams. Full x-rays are going to cost a decent amount of money - doing all joints over an interval time frame......this is something that a seller is unlikely to have done as the cost involved compared to a horses selling price means profit margin decreases drastically - even into the negative figures. Vet exams are such that they carry a disclaimer. Even if the horse turns out to be unsound and this was not discovered at the original exam there is very little that an owner/client can do.....other than sue the vets insurer...spending more good money after bad. The fact that thousands of ex-race horses are out in the general public being ridden does not detract from the stats from well-known industry professionals and data collected by places like RIRDC (Rural Industry Research & Development Council).....While rescueing them, re-homing them, re-training them is noble and certainly gives the horses a place to relocate to from a racing stable, the fact remains that its the new owner who ends up with the responsibility of maintenance costs and the emotions that go with that..... How many owners after taking a rescue or buying an OTT end up doing what should have been done earlier - PTS?......not many.........they beat themselves up get on crusades to find answers and some even spend huge amounts of money and STILL don't get the sound horse they wanted. Its a hard call when only 3 out of 10 are going to be of use to the recreational rider or one with performance dreams.....but them is the facts and they are easily verifiable. I urge anyone wanting to re-home, buy or accept an OTT horse to really think about the prospect......as consumers and as horse lovers. Trainers and syndicates aren't going to give out much information either - after all once gone thats it. If you are prepared to spend over a few thousand on a sequence of x-rays then different story at a top notch facility that specialise in race horses (Randwick or similar) then go for it!! But be prepared to go through 10 to find 3!