We strongly recommend that before buying a new horse you think about a pre-purchase exam (vetting) in order to detect any abnormalities and determine their suitability for their intended purpose. Our experienced vets perform pre-purchase examinations following the BVA/RCVS guidelines.

If necessary, further diagnostic tests such as X-rays, ultrasonography and endoscopy can be performed.

Both two-stage and five-stage vettings and vettings for insurance can be carried out, please see the questions and answer section below or call 01670 897597 for further details.

If the vet has clinical records on the horse you wish to purchase then before vetting there is an obligation to disclose the information with the permission of the seller. Flexion tests and lunging on a hard circle are a recommended part of a five stage vetting which, if omitted would need explanation.


When do I organise for a horse to be vetted?

Once you have tried the horse, preferably with an experienced friend, and think it is suitable, tell the seller that you are interested and want to organise the vetting as soon as possible.

How do I go about organising the vetting?

Check that the seller has a stable that can be darkened in order to examine the eyes, a stretch of tarmac or concrete that can be used to trot the horse on and, depending on the type of vetting you want, an area to lunge or ride. Then contact an equine veterinary practice that can carry out the vetting, preferably not one used by the seller. We can advise, or research an independent practice with experienced equine practitioners who carry out vettings in different parts of the country if necessary.

Should I be at the vetting?

It is important to speak first with the examining vet so that you can discuss any concerns you have and outline what you want to use the horse/pony for. Then it is not necessary to be present at the vetting. Your absence allows the vet to focus and the findings can be discussed in private by telephone, it also gives some breathing space for decisions.

What is the difference between a two-stage and a five-stage vetting and do I need to get the expensive one done?

The two-stage, as the name suggests, misses out three phases, principally there is no exercise phase, which means that the body systems are not re-examined during and after strenuous exercise. The five-stage vetting is the “gold star” and provides a certificate to this effect. Many insurance companies specify this certificate to insure higher value animals.

You may be asked to sign a disclaimer before a vetting is carried out to ensure that you understand the procedure.

Should I get a cheap horse vetted?

Even cheap horses can develop costly problems and by having a horse vetted you significantly reduce the risk.

Are X-rays needed as part of a vetting?

X-rays provide additional information about a horse’s limbs and back that can be taken into consideration. Insurance companies may request pre-purchase X-rays as part of the vetting for high-value horses. It is essential to let the insurance company see all the veterinary reports and for them to have agreed to insure the horse before purchasing.

Why are horses blood sampled as part of the vetting?

If the seller agrees, a blood sample is taken from the horse and stored securely. Should there be a problem with the new purchase then tests can be carried out on the blood sample for sedatives, bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents. The buyer covers the cost of blood tests.

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