The purchase of any horse involves the taking of a risk: no horse is risk free whether it be from its suitability point of view or with regard to its health and wellbeing.
By the time of a prepurchase examination you will have decided on your chosen horse –its colour, age, height and suitability for you and your intended use. It is advisable to consult friends and trainers on suitability.
The veterinary examination is a thorough examination of the chosen horse to identify and assess those factors of a veterinary nature that may affect the horse’s suitability for its intended use. The aim is to identify, assess and quantify the degree of risk so that an informed decision can be made whether or not to proceed with the purchase.
Considerations will need to be given not only to the intended use but also future resale and insurance implications of any findings.
Good communication is key and so ensure that you talk with the veterinary surgeon so that he/she is clear about your intended use and any specific concerns that you may have.
The normal(5 stage) pre-purchase examination (“vetting”) lasts between 1 and 2 hours and involves-
- Stage 1: A full clinical examination, including an assessment of the horse’s age.
- Stage 2: The trot up, an examination of the horse’s gait, carried out by looking at the horse in walk and in trot. Flexion tests are generally carried out at this point.
- Stage 3: The strenuous exercise stage. This is preferably carried out ridden, although unbroken horses can be examined on the lunge.
- Stage 4: A period of rest, including monitoring the horse’s recovery rate.
- Stage 5: A second trot up and final assessment.
After stage 5 a blood sample is taken which is stored at The Horseracing Forensic Laboratories in Newmarket. This sample can be tested for the presence of medication up to 6 months after a vetting if there is a suspicion the horse may have received sedatives or painkillers at the time of the examination.
After the examination the vet will give the purchaser a written report detailing the findings a will give a clear indication of the horse’s suitability for the purpose for which it is being purchased.
A limited pre-purchase examination involving only stages 1 and 2 of the procedure outlined above may be carried out. This can only be done after discussion with one of our equine veterinary team who can discuss the limitations of this shortened procedure. All of our equine vets are experienced in carrying out pre-purchase examinations.
Please call us and speak to one of the team before you purchase. If you decide against the pre-purchase examination, a short discussion will give you a better understanding of all the relevant risks, including potential insurance and resale problems.
Insurance vettings and All risk mortality examinations may be required for insuring of some high value horses. Please discuss this with your insurance company.