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pre purchase examinations..(vetting)

Spending your hard earned money on a horse is a big investment whether it is a pleasure hack or a high level competition animal.The process is fraught with traps for the unwary and should be approached with at least as much caution as the purchase of a second hand car.It is therefore wise to check out your prospective purchase before you part with your money--recouping it if it all goes wrong will not be as easy as spending it.There are two levels of examination,2 stage and 5 stage.

Bear in mind that although a 5 stage is more expensive it affords more opportunity to discover problems as the horse is subjected to a greater level of scrutiny.


A thorough physical examination including eyes, heart, lungs, limbs, feet,teeth and all over the body.

A trot up in a straight line on a hard surface.

Lunging on a hard surface.

Flexion tests.Each limb in turn is held in flexion for about 1 minute before the horse is trotted away.

This is thought to highlight low level lameness problems but seems to cause a little controversy with sellers.

Blood samples are taken and stored for a period of time to help in settling any future disputes between vendor and purchaser.


5 stage examination..

This includes all of the above plus:-

A period of moderate exertion bearing in mind the horses'  level of fitness.

It is carried out preferably ridden or with lunging if the horse is ,say, unbroken.

A period of relaxation to allow the horse to cool down.

A second trot up to detect any lameness initiated by the exercise.

Blood samples are taken as for the 2 stage examination.

The passport is examined and the horse scanned for the presence of a microchip in both 2 stage and 5 stages.

After this the examining veterinary surgeon will provide the purchaser with a certificate and an opinion as to whether the horse is likely to be suitable for the purposes you have in mind.

extended examination..

Some pre-purchase examinations may demand a higher level of scrutiny than is carried out in a 5 stage examination.

Reasons for this may include:-

Value of the animal

Intended use at a higher level

Particular concerns that a perspective purchaser has.

Perhaps the most common proceedure is radiography (xrays) to detect degenerative or congenital abnormalities of the joints and bones.

Less commonly one may examine the respiritory or gastro intestinal system endoscopically.

These procedures are also sometimes required at performance and breed society gradings.

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