The process of vetting a horse (pre purchase exam) is a standardised 2 or 5 stage procedure following outlines set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and BEVA. They are carried out on behalf of the purchaser to assess the horse’s physical health and soundness affecting its suitability to the intended purpose.


The vets act wholly in the interests of the purchaser and offer their opinion tailored to the individual buyer’s needs.


Stage 1: Preliminary Examination

This is an examination of the horse at rest to detect clinically apparent signs of injury, disease or abnormalities.

Stage 2: Trotting Up

The horse is walked and trotted up in hand on hard level ground.  Flexion tests are performed on all four limbs. Trotting on the lunge on a firm surface may be included.

The first two stages conclude a ‘2 stage pre purchase examination’.

Stage 3: Exercise Phase

The horse is exercised (usually under saddle if appropriate) to increase heartrate and respiration to check for abnormalities and to highlight any lameness issues which may arise from exercise.

Stage 4: Rest period and re-examination

The horse is allowed to stand quietly for a period of time to allow heart rate and respiration to return to normal while being monitored.

Stage 5: Final Trot Up

The horse is trotted up for a second time to check for any lameness issues occurring from the exercise and rest periods.


Vetting X-rays are available on request and can be carried out at the vendor’s yard.


Blood samples, if requested, are taken and stored for six months for analysis to detect substances that may have masked any conditions at the time of the vetting should any issues arise in the future.

We recommend that wherever possible the purchaser is present during the vetting. Please call us on 01577 841010 to book a vetting.

Listen to our podcast with Hugh Somerville – A Conversation about Vettings.