Equine Vetting | Pre-Purchase Examinations

Veterinary Services

Vetting a horse is a key part of the buying process, regardless of whether you’re purchasing a high-end competition horse or a happy hacker. Here at Shotter & Byers, we have state of the art equipment available to perform extensive pre-purchase examinations 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 and have the experience to provide you with the additional peace of mind you need to know that you’re purchasing a healthy horse. Our practical vets are on hand to provide a detailed and fair opinion on each horse examined. Whether you opt for a 2 stage or 5 stage vetting will be down to your individual budget and requirements, but having a professional look at a potential new horse is absolutely crucial. Not only can there be underlying health issues that would otherwise go unnoticed, even to an experienced horse owner, but these problems may affect both the horse’s performance and the health and safety of both 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 the purchase.

To perform a pre-purchase examination, the horse’s passport must be present to verify the horse’s identity. Without the presence of a passport, the examination cannot take place.

We will also require access to the horse’s full clinical history.

It would be preferable for the horse to be groomed with clean legs and clean, oil-free feet. To check the horses’ eyes, a dark area or stable will be required. We will also require a firm and flat surface area where the horse can be trotted up and lunged. To perform a full 5 stage pre-purchase examination, a jockey/rider will be required to ride the horse. If the horse is very green or unbroken, the horse can be lunged. This will be noted on the veterinary certificate by the Veterinary Surgeon.
We always recommend a ‘5 stage pre-purchase examination’ as the process is more likely to show any underlying issues which may be exacerbated by exercise. We would particularly recommend a’5 stage vetting’ if the horse is expected to compete or if the horse is of significant value. A ‘5 stage vetting’ takes approximately 2 hours.

We do offer a ‘2 stage pre-purchase examination, (it may be that you only require a 2 stage vetting for insurance purposes) however this is a limited examination and we will require you to sign a disclaimer form to confirm that you acknowledge that the extent of this limited form of examination has been explained to you and that you accept and understand that such limited examination may not reveal certain conditions which may have been discovered during the course of a full 5 stage examination.

If you would like more advice on which vetting to choose and information on the cost, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Equine Vetting Stages

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