Buying a new horse can be a very exciting, but also a very nerve-wracking process. At Donnington Grove, we have the expertise and experience of all equine disciplines to help you through the minefield. We will assess the risks of any findings and discuss with you their potential to affect the horse’s suitability for its intended purpose.
There is a standard pre-purchase examination which is conducted in five stages along with blood sampling. At the time of the vetting further examinations with specialised equipment may also be carried out. These may be recommended by the vet to confirm or eliminate issues arising from the vetting or, given the potential use or value of the horse, and will be agreed upon with you beforehand as part of the examination.
For horses that are to be insured above a certain value radiographs may be a requirement. If you intend to insure the horse you should speak with the prospective insurance company prior to the vetting being carried out to find out their requirements.
Pre-Purchase Examination Protocol
Stage 1: Preliminary Examination
This is a thorough clinical examination of the horse at rest.
Stage 2: Walk and trot, in-hand
The horse is walked and trotted in a straight line on a hard level surface to detect abnormalities of gait and action. Flexion tests of all four limbs and trotting in a circle on a firm surface may be carried out at this stage.
Stage 3: Exercise phase
The horse is usually ridden for this phase, but it may be conducted on a lunge if ridden exercise is not possible for some reason. This is to further assess the horse’s movement and to assess the heart and respiratory system’s response to exercise.
Stage 4: Period of rest and re-examination
The horse is allowed to stand quietly for a period.
Stage 5: Second trot up
The horse is trotted in-hand again to look for any signs of strains or injuries made evident by the exercise and rest stages. Flexion tests or trotting on a small diameter circle may be repeated at this stage.
A blood sample will be taken which is stored for six months. It can be used if concerns arise after purchase, to test for substances such as sedatives, pain killers and anti-inflammatories that may have masked certain conditions at the time of the vetting. Immediate screening can be arranged if desired.
Limited Pre-Purchase Examination
We always recommend a full five stage vetting prior to purchase, but on request we will carry out limited ‘Two Stage’ examinations which involve Stages 1 and 2 as detailed above. Prior to carrying out such examinations we require the signing of an indemnity form recognising the limitations of such an examination.