It can take a long time to find the perfect match when you are searching for a new horse. The process of buying and bringing home your new purchase is very exciting, but can be rather stressful too.
Asking us to vet a horse that you are planning to buy will remove a lot of guesswork and anxiety about the suitability of the animal for the plans that you have for your new partnership.
A vetting is conducted in five main stages:
A thorough physical examination of the horse during which we check the whole animal over, including the skin, eyes, heart, lung sounds, back, limbs, and feet.
The horse is observed walking and trotting in a straight line on a hard surface. Flexion tests may be performed to put a little extra pressure through the joints of the limbs. The horse may be lunged on a hard surface.
Ridden exercise is observed, with walk, trot and canter elements. If space and safety consideration allows, the horse may be galloped. Otherwise, a period of faster work in canter is performed so that the vet may listen to the horse’s wind and heart when working hard.
The horse is allowed to rest and recovery time assessed. Often we use this time to check the horse’s identification and passport.
The horse is observed walking and trotting to check for any alteration after exercise.
If required, additional tests such as X-rays and endoscopy of the airways are performed.
Blood samples are taken and stored for all horses vetted. This is to provide protection for all parties should there be a query after the horse is taken home. The sample can be tested for sedative and painkilling drugs for up to six months after the vetting by an independent laboratory.
Vetting for insurance
If you intend to insure your horse, then many companies require a recent vetting certificate. Requirements vary depending on purchase price and insurance company used, so it is well worth checking with the insurance company that you intend to use.
Limited pre-purchase examination
A full five stage vetting is by far the best way to fully assess a horse for suitability of purpose. However, a restricted examination which includes only stage one and two may be appropriate in some circumstances eg an unbroken youngster.
Requirements when booking a vetting are:
- A clean well-groomed horse (no hoof oil to be applied).
- Well shod or well-trimmed feet.
- A stable or building that can be darkened for the eye examination.
- A hard ”trot up’ area, which is straight and level.
- A rider able to ride the horse at all paces.
- Ideally a level hard surface for lunging.
- The horse’s passport should be present for inspection.
- The horse must be kept in a stable overnight before the day of the vetting.