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.
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.
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.
The airway of the horse can be checked for any abnormalities which may affect the horses ability to breath effectively at high exercise intensity.
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.
Shotter and Byers have been amazing over the years with my yard and my own horses. Nothing is ever too much trouble they are always at the end of the phone. They are fast to the yard in an emergency and the equipment is fantastic. Not only are they amazing with our horses, they are all so brilliant with us as clients! The Office staff and the vets are all friendly and professional!Kimberly Smith, Livery Yard Manager and Dressage Rider
I have used the services of Shotter & Byers since I first started training racehorses in 2001. They offer a superb service, including out of hours and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.JIM BOYLE MRCVS, EPSOM FLAT TRAINER
We have used Shotter & Byers as our Veterinary Practice for over 12 years now. They have always offered us an excellent veterinary service to our dressage horses and our clients based with us. Their advice and response time is second to none and I would not hesitate recommending them to anyone who owns a horse.Andrew Gould, International Dressage Rider & Trainer
I don't often find the time to give people the credit and thanks they deserve but David and the team at Shotter & Byers have been my rock for the past few months up until we could do no more to save my gorgeous mare Honey - who had already come so far in the time I had her. It is the small things that make a difference in any difficult situation and David and the rest of the team were always efficient and supportive and did all they could for me and Honey.....I am so grateful to all of you.Louise Fisher, Leisure Rider
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.