Pre-Purchase Examination

The aim of conducting a pre-purchase exam is to assess the health and conformational suitability of the horse you are looking at purchasing.


The following is required to conduction a pre-purchase examination:

  • A hard driveway or concrete/bitumen area on which the horse can be walked and trotted out in hand.
  • An area or paddock in which the horse can be ridden or lunged.


If the vendor does not have these facilities it may be advisable to transport the horse to our veterinary hospital. At the hospital we have access to a crush, bitumen area, a grassed area, radiography machine, ultrasound machine, and laboratory equipment as well as the advantage of viewing the behaviour of your prospective horse in a foreign environment. We would prefer to complete the pre-purchase exam at the veterinary hospital, but understand that in some cases this may not be possible.


A pre-purchase examination involves the following:

  • A comprehensive clinical examination including the head - eyes, mouth, dentition etc., chest - heart and lungs, abdomen, musculature and limbs including feet, and reproductive organs.
  • Walking and trotting out in hand on a hard surface in a straight line. Application of hoof testers, turning, backing and flexion tests to assess any signs of lameness.
  • Observation under saddle or on lunge. The horse will be ridden or lunged at the trot and canter (if required and possible).
  • Final trot up - walking and trotting out in hand on a hard surface in a straight line. Lunging on a hard surface.
  • A blood sample can be taken if requested for storage and possible testing for any medications that may have affected the pre-purchase examination findings. The blood sample is stored for a period of 21 days from the day of examination. If the vendor refuses blood testing then you should question the purchase of the horse.


The veterinarian undertaking the examination will discuss all findings with the purchaser and provide a written report. The veterinary report is not a guarantee and no warranty is given or implied. The veterinary report is a professional assessment of the risk associated with purchase of the horse on the basis of the findings on the day of the examination.


Supplementary work-up (additional charges)

  • Radiographs - Radiographs are often taken of knees, fetlocks, hocks and front feet, especially when flexion tests indicate an abnormality.
  • Ultrasound examination of tendons.
  • Blood testing to look for sub-clinical disease and assess organ function.


Final decision

The final decision to buy the horse is that of the purchaser. The purchaser is more than welcome to ask as many questions of the consulting veterinarian as they require.



All information obtained during the pre-purchase examination is owned by the purchaser who has requested the pre-purchase examination.