It is now common when buying a horse to have a veterinary examination performed prior to finalising the sale, to look for signs of existing or potential medical and/or performance issues.


The full examination is a thorough procedure including observation of the horse on the ground, during trot up, circling, ridden exercise and during the recovery phase. Following this, a report of how the horse performed in examinations is prepared for you including information the seller discloses on previous health of the horse. The procedure gives you an unbiased, professional opinion on what risks may exist to your potential future horse’s health and performance.

The examination is normally performed at the property the horse is at while awaiting sale, whether this be the seller’s home/yard, an agent’s property or your own facilities whilst the horse is on trial.

The examination

It takes at least an hour to perform and often may require 2-3 hours of a handler’s time. All examinations require somewhere safe and secure to check over the horse, and a dark area is useful for eye checks. Trot-ups are best done on a 100m stretch on a surface like concrete or tarmac, and a secure firm surface for lunging on a 20m circle is requested.  If ridden exercise is to be examined (this is recommended for all horses/ponies being sold for ridden use), a suitable area for work at walk, trot, and canter (plus gallop if a high performance sports horse) as well as an able rider being available. For horses being sold as fit for jump work it is preferred they are seen over jumps of their usual performance height. Likewise, dressage and show horses should be able to perform work in an outline.

Prior paperwork

Prior to performing an examination the potential purchaser of a horse must fill out required paperwork to ensure the correct type of examination can be performed. During this process the options to perform more specific examinations and tests are given, this includes such as x-rays, airway scopes, and reproductive examinations.

If you are interested in having us perform a pre-purchase on your next horse/pony, please contact the clinic on 09 238 2471 to obtain these forms.