Pre Purchase Examinations

When considering the purchase of a new horse or pony, it is advisable to have a pre-purchase examination (vetting) carried out.  There is always an element of risk involved with the purchase of any horse; however as vets we can use our experience and expertise to advise you of the additional risks that may be involved if you buy the horse you have selected.

At Scarsdale Equine we have an experienced equine veterinary team who regularly vet horses from all disciplines from children’s ponies to high level competition horses. The intended use of the animal is an important consideration when the examination is performed. The purpose of a pre purchase exam is to look for any existing medical or lameness problems or any reasons that the horse may not be suitable for the work you require it to do.

We recommend a standard pre-purchase examination which is divided into five stages and includes examination of the horse at exercise and rest.  A limited examination involving only the first 2 stages can be carried out if the horse is unbroken and cannot be lunged however this should not be looked at as a cheap alternative for a five stage vetting as many important stages are not includes.

The Stages

  • Stage 1 – Clinical examination.  This is usually undertaken in the stable and includes a thorough examination of the horse from head to toe, including listening to the heart, chest and looking at the eyes.  Following this the horse will be made to stand square on a flat surface and the horse conformation and limbs will be checked.
  • Stage 2 – Examination in hand. The horse is walked and trotted on a flat hard surface. This stage usually includes flexion tests, turning in tight circles and walking backwards. The horse may be seen on the lunge during this stage.
  • Stage 3 – Exercise phase. The horse will be observed under saddle, and we will ask to see work in all gaits including transitions and circles. At the end of this stage we will ask to see the horse to gallop to get its heart rate and breathing rate up. This can be performed on the lunge if it is not possible to see the horse ridden.
  • Stage 4 – Rest phase.  The horse will be stabled whilst he recovers from the exercise phase. The recovery is monitored and the horse observed for behavioral problems or vices.
  • Stage 5 – final examination in hand. The horse will be seen in walk and trot on a hard surface, flexion tests may be repeated.

Following a vetting we will discuss all findings of the vetting with you.  The findings are also included in the certificate that you will receive after the vetting.  A blood sample collected at the time of the vetting will also be sent off to a central laboratory to be stored for six months.

Insurance vetting

An examination including the first 2 or all 5 stages of the vetting procedure may be required by your insurers prior to changing your animals cover for example, to increase the sum for which the animal is insured or to insure a horse you have bred yourself when they are over 30 days old

Additional tests

In some cases additional tests are requested e.g. endoscopy, radiography (x-rays) or ultrasound. These can be performed by our experienced team. If this is something you require as part of the pre-purchase examination please feel free to discuss your requirements with the team

pre purchase examinations