Pre-purchase examination


Blackdown Equine Clinic is a modern and experienced equine only practice, providing vetting / pre-purchase examinations across Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Sussex.

Details of Blackdown Equine Clinic’s 2 stage and 5 stage vetting service for horse purchasers are given below:

Horse vetting In Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and West Sussex with Blackdown Equine Clinic vets

Buying a horse can be a difficult process- you need to have confidence that you are purchasing a horse that’s appropriate for your skill and requirements, and one that is medically sound- which is where the vetting / pre purchase exam comes in. Blackdown Equine Clinic take great pride in offering a bespoke 2-stage and 5-stage vetting / pre-purchase examination service to all types and levels of horses in Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex. We will discuss your equine requirements prior to performing the vetting and then provide you with a full post- vetting / pre-purchase exam report.

For a free initial discussion about your horse vetting options, please contact us on:

01428 656665


The extent of exam required will vary according to your needs, either a 2 stage or a 5 stage vetting / pre-purchase exam may be suitable. This can be discussed with Blackdown Equine Clinic when enquiring about 2-stage or 5-stage vetting, but here is a brief overview of our vetting process.

From: BEVA/RCVS Guidance Notes on the Examination of a Horse on Behalf of a Prospective Purchaser (Amended 2018) (Vetting)

“The aim of the pre-purchase examination is to carry out a thorough clinical examination on behalf of a potential purchaser to identify and assess factors of a veterinary nature that could prejudice the horse’s suitability for its intended use. Each pre-purchase examination is carried out on behalf of a specific prospective purchaser so that the opinion can be based on that purchaser’s individual needs and intended use of the horse. Examinations performed on behalf of a seller are not advised except in the case of a few specified auction sales.

Before performing a pre-purchase examination the veterinary surgeon should endeavour to ascertain who is selling the horse and the horse’s identity. If, as a result of such information, the veterinary surgeon feels any conflict of interest, which means he/she cannot act wholly in the interests of the purchaser, the veterinary surgeon should decline to perform the examination. If the veterinary surgeon feels able to act without conflict, the fact that the seller is an existing client of the veterinary surgeon’s practice should be declared to the purchaser in advance of the examination. Additionally, if the veterinary surgeon, or his/her practice, have any prior knowledge of the horse from any source, permission should be obtained from the seller for full disclosure to the purchaser of all such information that might be relevant. If this is not possible, for any reason, the veterinary surgeon should decline to perform the examination.

A standardised clinical examination is performed. Its findings will be assessed by the veterinary surgeon, who will form an opinion as to their significance and any possible adverse implications for the prospective purchaser’s intended use of the horse. The findings and opinion may be reported to the purchaser verbally at the time of the examination or soon afterwards, as well as being documented in a certificate that is issued to the purchaser. If the purchase does not proceed a certificate may not be completed unless the purchaser requires one. Certificates are not transferable to another purchaser.

The pre-purchase examination provides an assessment of the horse at the time of examination to help inform the potential purchaser's decision whether or not to continue with their purchase. It is not a guarantee of a horse’s suitability for the intended purpose.“

Full PDF article available at BEVA website on our Links page, or type ‘BEVA Guidance PPE’ into your search engine

Thorough horse vettings with Blackdown Equine Clinic across Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

5 stage exam and 2 stage exam horse vettings with Blackdown Equine Clinic

Our horse vetting and pre purchase examination service (2 stage exam and 5 stage exam) explained:

Equine vetting - Stage 1: Preliminary examination
This is a thorough external examination of the animal at rest using visual observation, palpation and manipulation to detect clinically apparent signs of injury, disease or physical abnormality. It includes an examination of the incisor teeth, a thorough examination of the horse’s eyes in a darkened area and auscultation of the horse’s heart and lungs at rest. Examination of the eyes does not include dilating the pupil but should include examination of internal and external structures. For equine vets everywhere The standard examination does not include examination of the inside of the prepuce (sheath), a detailed mouth examination with a speculum, a height measurement or any examination for pregnancy.

Equine vetting - Stage 2: Trot up
Walk and trot, in hand The animal is walked and then trotted in hand to detect abnormalities of gait and action. Ideally this is carried out on firm, level ground. The horse is turned sharply each way and is backed for a few paces. Flexion tests of all four limbs and trotting in a circle on a firm surface may be carried out if the examining veterinary surgeon considers it safe and appropriate to do so.

A 2-stage horse vetting stops here, whilst a 5-stage vetting continues with:

Equine vetting - Stage 3: Exercise phase
The horse is given sufficient exercise to: 1. Allow assessment of the horse when it has an increased breathing effort and an increased heart rate. 2. Allow assessment of the horse’s gait at walk, trot, canter and, if appropriate, gallop. 3. Allow assessment of the horse for the purpose of stage five. If ridden exercise is not undertaken then this stage may be conducted by exercising the horse on a lunge. It should be made clear on the certificate what form of exercise was undertaken.

Equine vetting - Stage 4: Period of rest and re-examination
The horse is allowed to stand quietly for a period. During this time the respiratory and cardiovascular systems may be monitored as they return to their resting levels.

Equine vetting - Stage 5: Second trot up
The animal is trotted in hand again to look for any signs of strains or injuries made evident by the exercise and rest stages

At this stage according to the vetting findings it may be suggested that further examination is required. Blackdown Equine Clinic vets are equipped with digital X-ray machines, ultrasound and endoscopes so these examinations can usually be made immediately.

For some vettings / pre purchase exams undertaken by Blackdown Equine vets, it is possible to reduce from a 5-stage vetting to a 2-stage vetting, should this be suitable for the horse and prospective purchaser.

We are happy to discuss your 2-stage or 5 stage vetting / pre purchase requirements throughout Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, East Sussex and West Sussex so please do not hesitate to contact one of our 'equine only' vets on 01428 656665 or simply email us on