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Tried and tested: Why a pre-purchase examination on a new horse remains vital *H&H Plus*

Business may be brisk, but a pre-purchase exam remains a must if you’re planning to buy. Andrea Oakes reports

While good horses reputedly changed hands “unvetted” during lockdown, experts are keen to stress the importance of a veterinary pre-purchase examination (PPE) now that travel restrictions are being lifted. Equine vets are reporting a flurry of sales activity, with demand high for both two- and five-stage exams, so what advice can they offer about this critical part of the buying process?

“A PPE exam only offers a snapshot of the horse’s health on that day, so do not narrow this insight further by opting for the two-stage exam,” advises Gil Riley MRCVS. “The majority of horses should have the five-stage PPE. Unless you only want to work the horse slowly in straight lines, he should be ridden or seen moving on a circle and his respiratory system tested and observed for response and recovery.”

Kieran O’Brien MRCVS agrees, adding: “Saving money with a two-stage vetting is a false economy. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve discovered something either during, or after, the exercise phase.