Before you get emotionally and monetarily invested in a horse at the point of purchase, always schedule a thorough prepurchase exam with your veterinarian.

The horse’s future use will determine a number of the services needed during the exam, but all horses, regardless of whether they are destined to be a child’s pony or a million-dollar stallion should be evaluated for health and soundness.

Performance Horse Prepurchase

Regardless of intended use, all prepurchase exams should begin with a background check. Past health concerns and performance records should be shared with your veterinarian to help provide a more inclusive understanding of the horse’s overall health and history.

After the horse’s past has been reviewed and discussed, most veterinarians will begin the prepurchase exam with an overall health assessment. This includes a thorough physical examination, which may include taking the horse’s vital signs, and assessing body condition, body systems, hoof health, dental condition, and vision. Veterinarians may also collect blood for whole blood counts, blood chemistry evaluation, and potential drug testing.

After examining the horse at rest, most veterinarians will move into a soundness exam to assess locomotion and ensure the horse can physically do the task he is expected to complete without use of medication. During a soundness exam horses will be asked to do the following:

  • Walk in a straight line;
  • Trot in a straight line;
  • Walk circles each way; and
  • Trot circles each way;

After the veterinarian is able to see the horse move, he will manually flex several regions of each l