US Equestrian Magazine

Page 34


PRE-PURCHASE EXAMS: What To Expect by Glenye Cain Oakford

is a mild or moderate risk and whether the horse is suitable for its intended use,” said Hagyard’s Dr. Laura Werner. “But we don’t give a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail.’”

Choose a neutral veterinarian. “The most important thing to know is that you shouldn’t use the veterinarian who is the horse’s regular veterinarian,” said Werner. “You obviously want an exam without a conflict of interest, so find a veterinarian that isn’t associated with the horse, the trainer, or the barn, someone who is a neutral party without any conflicts of interest.” It’s also good to hire a sport-horse veterinarian familiar with the horse’s proposed discipline or use.


If you’re shopping for horses to lease or buy, chances are you’ll want to arrange for a veterinarian to do a pre-purchase exam (PPE) before you sign on the dotted line. Veterinarians caution buyers that a PPE is a snapshot in time. “Any horse can have a bad day, and it’s not necessarily reflective of how the horse is all the time,” said Dr. Laura Werner of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. But PPEs are valuable tools, providing context and some level of risk-assessment. “It’s important to make sure the horse is going to be suitable for what its intended use will be,” said Werner. “We don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s also good to identify any problems that could occur in the present or future. We can’t predict everything, but we try to see what risks might be there or, if there are problems, which ones might be manageable and which ones are not.” It’s tempting to regard a PPE as “pass or fail,” but that’s not how a vet approaches the examination, Werner said. “We do our exam, find the things that are abnormal in the horse, then present that information to the potential buyer or their agent for them to make the decision as to whether those are acceptable risks or not,” she said. “That also can involve some negotiation between the buyer and seller that we are not part of. So we’re not looking on the basis of a term that’s either pass or fail.” If you’re considering a PPE—or if a potential buyer has asked for a PPE on a horse or pony you are selling or leasing—here are some basics to know.

“We just present you with the facts, and we can tell you whether we think something


Pre-purchase exams are valuable tools, providing context and some level of risk-assessment.

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