Buying a horse can be a nerve-racking process. It can also be a big investment in time, money, and emotion. That’s why it is so important to investigate all aspects of the horse before you buy. Knowing the health and condition of a horse before completing a purchase is one of the most significant factors in deciding whether that animal is going to be a wise investment.
Purchase examinations may vary a bit depending on what the intended use of the horse (family pet, pleasure horse, broodmare, or high performance athlete). Typically, purchase exams include a comprehensive physical exam that includes a battery of lameness tests. Variables include the number of sites to be radiographed, airway endoscopy, drug screening, and any specialized tests per the buyer’s request.
Your responsibilities include explaining your expectations and primary use for the horse; being present for the exam; establishing costs for the examination; and asking questions and discussing any and all findings in private.
Our job is not to “pass” or “fail” the horse. Rather, it is provide you with information regarding any existing medical condition and to discuss those problems with you so that you can make an informed purchase decision. It can be compared to that of a house inspection prior to your purchase. No horse is perfect in every respect. Some medical conditions and faults are manageable or may never seriously affect the horse’s performance. Whether or not the problems are practical for your needs or budget is for you to decide.