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Pre-Purchase Veterinary Examination

July 2021

When you feel you have found the horse you want to buy, the BHS strongly recommends that you arrange for a vet to carry out a pre-purchase veterinary examination (vetting). While this may seem costly, it could save you a lot of money in the future and so should be seen as an investment. A vetting reduces the chances of buying a horse that may have underlying health problems. Insurance companies may request a copy of a successful vetting certificate.

Leading horse

Considerations:

  • Explain to the vet for what purpose you are buying the horse e.g., hacking, eventing, dressage.
  • To avoid conflicts of interest ensure you arrange the vetting and use your own or an independent vet. Do not use the seller’s vet.
  • The vetting can only assess the condition of the horse on the day of the vetting. However, it is likely to flag up any major issues that you might otherwise miss.
  • X-rays are not included in the stage 2 or 5 vetting’s; these are often a consideration if purchasing a performance horse.

 

The table below highlights the differences between a Stage 2 and Stage 5 vetting1.


Stage 2


Stage 5


Full physical examination at rest to identify any signs of injury, disease or physical abnormality


Full physical examination at rest to identify any signs of injury, disease or physical abnormality


Assessment at walk and trot, including flexion tests and lungeing on a hard and soft surface (where safe to do so)


Assessment at walk and trot, including flexion tests and lungeing on a hard and soft surface (where safe to do so)


Examination of passport and microchip


Ridden exercise - in order to raise the heart and breathing rate


*Blood sample


A period of rest followed by an assessment of the horse’s recovery


Final trot up and re-evaluation


Examination of passport and microchip


*Blood sample

*A blood sample is usually stored for six months. Should any complaint arise, the sample can be tested to detect any substances that may have been used on the day to hide any health or temperament issues.


References

1) Royal Veterinary College. Pre-Purchase Examinations: https://www.rvc.ac.uk/equine-vet/practice/services-and-facilities/pre-purchase-examinations


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