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Vetting tips

  • Always arrange for a five-stage pre-purchase vetting of the horse
  • Discuss the intended purpose of the horse with the equine vet before the examination — it will be assessed against these criteria
  • Talk to your equine vet about the merits of including additional examinations, such as blood test and x-rays
  • A blood sample at the time of vetting can establish whether a horse has been drugged to disguise physical or behavioural problems, should a dispute arise
  • X-rays of feet and joints or an endoscopy can identify potential problems and may be a wise investment for performance horses
  • Pregnancy or fertility tests are an option with broodmares
  • Do verify a horse’s height, age or breeding separately — these are not covered by the examination
  • Don’t use the seller’s vet. If your own vet isn’t available, find a local vet using our searchable database of equine vets
  • Do ask to see the horse’s veterinary records. A seller with nothing to hide should be happy to disclose this information on request
  • Do attend the veterinary examination if possible and use the opportunity to clarify any queries

Verifying facts

  • Check the details of a horse’s affiliated competition record where applicable with the relevant governing body
  • Ask if there is photographic or video evidence of the horse performing at the level claimed
  • Ask to see the horse’s insurance policy. It will identify any exclusions and ensure that it has not been involved in a loss of use claim (these horses are often freezemarked with an L inside a circle).
  • Consider making enquiries in the local equine community about the horse’s reputation. Try local hunts and equestrian associations such as riding clubs

Looking to buy a horse? View our database of the latest horses for sale to find your perfect equine partner.