Buying a horse can be a big commitment both financially and emotionally. It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a new horse and make decisions based on emotion rather than objective observations. We can help you add some objectivity to your decisions by performing a prepurchase examination
First, we will interview you to determine what your needs and expectations are from the horse you are considering.
The second step is to properly identify the horse to be examined.
Next we ask the seller specific questions to obtain information about the horse's history including information such as it's age, how long have they owned the horse, has it had any health or soundness issues and if so give details, does it have any vices, does it require any medication or special care in any way, is it on any medication presently. We also obtain history about preventative care like vaccinations, dental care and deworming. The seller signs a form agreeing to their statements given above.
Next step involves a thorough physical exam to evaluate the various organ systems of the horse to see if we can detect any signs of disease or abnormality.
The next step is to closely examine the body systems that will be crucial to the usefulness of the horse for the purpose intended.
For breeding horses, the reproductive system will be examined in detail.
Young unbroken horses will be examined for conformational correctness and general health.
Adult horses being purchased for riding will first be examined as above to determine their state of health and then further evaluations will be done to assess their physical structures of importance to be a sound riding horse and/or athlete. After their anatomy has been thoroughly examined visually and by palpation, the horse will be put through various gaits and tests to look for abnormalities in movement or lameness. Often we will ask for the horse to be ridden as part of the exam.
Once the examination is complete, we will discuss with you the PURCHASER our findings. Almost all horses have at least some abnormalities. The purpose of the prepurchase examination is not to "pass or fail" a horse but rather to point out abnormalities observed and provide an opinion as to the potential significance of these abnormalities relative to the intended use of the horse.
Once the "hands-on" part of the process is complete we may go on to do further diagnostic procedures which may include: radiographs (x-rays), diagnostic ultrasound, endoscopy, blood tests, drug tests, etc.
So as you can likely see, not all prepurchase exams are created equally. We tailor each exam to the intended use of the horse taking into account the wishes and expectations of the purchaser.
It must be clearly understood that a prepurchase exam only provides us with the seller's history and whatever we see on the day of the exam. It IS NOT a "crystal ball" view into the future.
Prepurchase exams are not only for expensive horses. Unfortunately, we commonly see clients who have purchased relatively inexpensive horses only to find out that they missed important health or soundness issues and in the end, they may be stuck with a horse that is not suitable for their needs and almost impossible to sell or even give away.