Pre-Purchase Exams

When it comes to buying a horse, having a pre-purchase exam performed on a prospective mount can be a very valuable investment. To fully understand the purpose of a pre-purchase exam, it is important to understand what it is NOT: it is not a lameness evaluation, a guarantee or a value assessment. Horses, like humans, have imperfections and the potential to develop problems in the future. What a pre-purchase exam should be viewed as is a "snapshot in time" on a given day of the horse's overall health and serviceability for its intended use. The extent and thoroughness of the pre-purchase exam will depend on the buyer and their requirements of the horse. A basic pre-purchase consists of a complete physical exam and soundness evaluation. During the physical exam, the horse's eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs, feet, legs and skin are evaluated. Hoof testers are applied to all four feet to check for pain. The soundness evaluation consists of the horse being observed as it is walked and trotted in-hand in a straight line on a hard surface. Flexion tests are performed to stress the horse's joints and assess its response. The horse is then lunged in a circle in both directions on soft and hard footing to check for abnormalities in gait or soundness. At this point the veterinarian's findings will be discussed with the buyer and the merits of a more extensive exam will be decided. Further examination may include digital x-rays, ultrasound and/or endoscopy depending on the buyer's needs. Optional tests that may also be requested include blood being collected for drug screening (testing) or a Coggins test if the horse will be traveling to the USA. Upon completion of the pre-purchase exam, Equerry will issue a signed Pre-Purchase Certificate to the buyer indicating the veterinarian's findings and whether or not the horse would be suitable for the buyer's intended use. In some cases, the buyer, or their agent, is not able to be present for the pre-purchase exam. When this circumstance arises, Equerry is pleased to offer the option of viewing an on-line digital video of the lameness portion of the pre-purchase exam through password protected folders on Dropbox. It is also possible for Equerry to e-mail or courier diagnostic images to the buyer's veterinarian for a second opinion if necessary.