Hunter Equine Vet

Pre-Purchase Examination

A thorough examination is strongly recommended when purchasing a new horse or pony. We undertake numerous 2 and 5 stage pre-purchase examinations, following EVA guidelines, for racehorse, performance and pleasure horses.

What’s involved?:

Two Stage

  • Full clinical examination – listening to the heart, lungs and GI tract, checking the skin, eyes and mouth.
  • Conformation assessment and palpation of joints, tendons, back, pelvis
  • Hoof examination and testing
  • Examination at walk and trot (in hand) in a straight line on a hard surface
  • Flexion testing distal (lower) and proximal (higher) on all 4 limbs
  • Basic neurological assessment
  • Turning in a tight circle, backing
  • Examined on the lunge – ideally tighter circle on a hard surface and larger diameter circle on a softer surface

Five Stage

(in addition to above)

  • Assessment under saddle being ridden for a manner intended by purchaser for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Auscultation of windpipe and heart rate after strenuous exercise

What do I need?

  • Flat, hard and smooth area for trot up (e.g. straight driveway)
  • Arena or safe area to lunge horse (hard and soft surfaces advantageous)
  • Stable or area with reduced light to examine eyes
  • Flat (preferably concrete) and covered area for radiology
  • Between 1-3 hours of your time depending on the depth of the examination and additional tests required
  • Ideally both current owner and buyer to be present (though we understand this is often not possible!)

Additional tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Videoendoscopy (scoping) – assessment of airways
  • Radiography – views as requested
  • Ultrasonography – scanning of tendons 
  • Mare reproductive assessment

It is important to understand that a pre-purchase examination is an assessment of a horse for specific purpose at a point in time. It is not a guarantee of future soundness. It is designed to ensure that the horse is suitable for the intended use and that there are no existing conditions that will hinder it performing at the level the new owner requires.