We have state of the art equipment to perform extensive vettings anywhere in the UK or abroad.

Pre-purchase examinations can be performed at your request both nationally and internationally. Our team undertake the vetting of several hundred horses each year from International competition horses to children’s ponies and happy hackers. Our vets are very practical and provide a detailed and fair opinion on every horse.  Vetting a horse is a very important aspect of buying a horse, there can potentially be issues which do not just affect performance but can also affect the safety of the horse and rider.

The purchase of any horse always involves an element of risk but the pre-purchase examination aims to identify and quantify that risk in order to help you decide whether you wish to proceed with purchase.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Equine Veterinary Association has divided the vetting process into five stages which are detailed below.

Vetting Stages

You can choose to stop after two stages (‘2-stage vetting’) or go on to complete the full five stages (‘5 stage vetting’). We suggest that the 5-stage process is more likely to show any underlying issues which may be exacerbated by exercise. This would always be recommended if the horse is expected to compete even at a low level, or if the horse is of significant value. If you would like more advice on which vetting to choose and information on the cost, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Stage 1 – Clinical examination
Full and detailed clinical examination to include heart, lungs, eyes, identification of any abnormalities of the skin, limbs, tendons, feet, shoeing etc.  We will also examine all documentation and check microchip (passport MUST be present).

Stage 2 – ‘Trot-up’
The horse will be walked, trotted and lunged on hard and soft level surfaces and its gait assessed. This will be followed by flexion tests of all four limbs. Flexion tests aim to assess any underlying lameness that has not been revealed by standard trot-up techniques.

Stage 3 – Strenuous Exercise
The horse will be subjected to strenuous exercise at a level appropriate to the fitness and required job of the horse (e.g. a 4* eventer will be subjected to heavier work than a child’s pony). This test, which is preferably performed ridden, will allow the heart, lungs and airway to be checked when in work, also any underlying lameness issues that exist under saddle or during exercise will be noted.

Stage 4 –Period of Rest
The horse will be allowed to recover to resting levels. Breathing and heart rate will be assessed to check normal recovery as well as any post-exercise stiffness.

Stage 5 – The second trot and foot exam
The horse will be trotted up again, in some cases flexion tests and lunging will be repeated. This purpose of this is to identify any issues that may have been exacerbated by exercise.

Additional Procedures

Blood Sample
A blood sample is always taken from the horse. This is stored by a 3rd party and can be tested for painkillers, sedatives etc. should a dispute arise. It is not tested routinely.
Horse radiographs can be taken on request. These may be done as standard within the racing industry. A full series of radiographs are advised for high value horses expected to compete to a high standard. Additionally specific areas can be x-rayed if they are flagged as an area of concern during the vetting.
Endoscopic Evaluation
The airway of the horse can be checked for any abnormalities which may affect the horses ability to breath effectively at high exercise intensity.
Ultrasound Examination
Scanning of the tendons and ligaments within the limbs is offered if an abnormality is identified within the vetting. Alternatively this procedure can be performed as standard if required.

Please note: If you do not wish to incur the expense of a full five stage vetting, we do ask that you acknowledge that the extent of this limited form of examination may not reveal certain conditions which may have been discovered during the course of a full 5 stage vetting. With this in mind, we do ask that you sign a disclaimer form to acknowledge that this has been explained to you.

Equine HealthRelated


We’d be happy to talk to you if you need advice regarding any horse, related problem or requirement you have, or if you would like more information about any of our services.


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