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Pre Purchase Examinations (Vettings)

What is involved in a 2 or 5 Stage Vetting ?



The standard 5 Stage Vetting is a thorough examination of the horse at rest, in hand and during and after strenuous exercise. The Vetting doesn’t aim to pass or fail a horse but is more of a ‘risk assessment’ of horse’s current and likely future soundness by identifying pre-existing conditions, current health status and fitness for intended use. These risks are then discussed in full with you the purchaser.

The stages are as follows:

  • Examination at Rest (Passport examined)
  • Examination of the horse at in hand trot up possibly to include flexion tests
  • Examination of the horse performing strenuous exercise
  • Examination of the horse during recovery
  • Final examination at rest and a further trot up with flexion tests and possibly lunge on hard circle.

A blood sample is routinely taken and sent away to be stored for 6 months. This can be tested at a cost if it is suspected that the horse had received any sedation or painkilling drugs at the time of the vetting.

Horse blood tests

Extra diagnostic tests such as endoscopy and x-rays may be carried out if the horse is being bought for a particular use or if certain areas for concern are highlighted. If the value of the horse is high an insurance company may request additional diagnostic tests such as x rays.

The 2 Stage Vetting encompasses the first two elements of the 5 Stage Vetting. It may also include lunging on a hard and/or soft surface and takes between half an hour to an hour to complete. If you decide to have a 2 stage vetting you must be aware that problems associated with exercise will not be detected.

It is important that the area where the vetting is to take place is suitable. In general for a 5 stage vetting the following is required:

  • a dark stable is required to facilitate examination of the eyes
  • a straight hard level area for in hand trot up
  • an area where strenuous ridden exercise (that reflects the likely use of the horse) can occur
  • areas for lunging on a hard level surface and on a soft surface

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