Pre Purchase Examination

A thorough pre-purchase examination is strongly recommended prior to buying a new horse, whether it be a child’s pony or a valuable performance horse.   The Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) Guidelines are followed when performing either a 2-stage or 5-stage pre-purchase examination.

2-stage Pre-Purchase Inclusions:
Full Clinical Examination including heart, lungs, gastro-intestinal, skin, eyes, head/mouth

Examination of gait at walk and trot (in hand) on a hard surface in a straight line

Conformation and Back/Pelvis assessment

Flexion testing all 4 legs

Hoof examination and testing

Basic neurological assessment

Turning, backing and lunging (if required)

McLaren Vale Equine Veterinary Services, equine vet starting, McLaren Vale region, Adelaide
5-stage Pre-Purchase Inclusions

Includes all components of the 2-stage pre-purchase examination PLUS:

Observation under saddle or on the lunge – trot or canter for at least 15 to 20 minutes

Assessment during cool down phase – assess fitness level, heart rate monitoring

Final trot up and gait examination at walk and trot (in hand) on a hard surface in a straight line plus lunging on a hard surface and repetition of flexion tests

Facilities required to perform a Pre-Purchase examination include:
  • Flat smooth hard area for trot ups (driveway ideal)
  • Safe area to exercise or lunge the horse (arena ideal)
  • A stable or similar area where lights can be dimmed

The extent of the examination will vary depending on the horse’s age, desired use and current state of fitness.  A ridden examination is not always part of this examination process, however discussion prior to the inspection and suitable riding facilities are necessary to facilitate this assessment.

It is important to note that a pre-purchase examination is not a guarantee of future soundness and horses are NOT passed or failed based on this assessment.  This examination is designed to ensure that the horse presented is suitable and can perform at the level intended after purchase.

Ancillary testing may be advised or requested as part of the examination and additional charges will be incurred.  These can be discussed at the time of the examination based on the information at hand on the day.  Sedation may be required to facilitate further investigation and consent from the current owner must be obtained prior to examination.

Additional areas of assessment include:

Dental/Oral examination

Radiography – individual joint/area or full set of images (36)




Blood tests

Mare reproductive assessment

It is important to note that pre-purchase examinations are conducted on behalf of the buyer and the information and its findings are confidential between the buyer and the veterinarian.  Information will not be shared with the seller/current owner unless authorised by the buyer.