The Pre-Purchase Exam

A pre-purchase examination is one way to reduce the risk that you are NOT buying a healthy horse. A pre-purchase examination is carried out by your veterinarian on the horse that you are thinking of buying.

It is done on your behalf as the prospective buyer, to help determine that the horse is both healthy and sound at the time of sale. A physical examination is performed, which might include blood work. The horse’s gait is evaluated to determine its soundness and to look for any signs of lameness.

To help confirm soundness, radiographs or other tests might also be carried out. At the end of the process, you want the veterinarian to be able to tell you if the horse is “sound” for the purpose for which you are purchasing him. This is an important point: certain faults might prevent a horse from achieving success at the Grand Prix level of dressage whereas he may be fully capable of performing as a trail horse.