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Pre-purchase Examinations (Vettings)

prepurchase examinations

Offering pre-purchase examinations throughout Ireland

We offer pre-purchase examinations (“vettings”) nationwide on behalf of our own clients and on behalf of non-registered clients based worldwide.

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.

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.

A full vetting comprises of 5 stages:

  • Stage 1: Preliminary examination at rest
  • Stage 2: Walk and trot; in hand and flexion tests, trotting in a circle
  • Stage 3: Exercise phase under saddle
  • Stage 4: Period of rest and re-examination
  • Stage 5: Second trot up; in hand and flexion tests, trotting in a circle

We recommend performing a 5 stage vetting for all ridden horses.

A limited (2 stage) examination is usually reserved for young horses not yet in work. This type of vetting omits the exercise phase therefore may not reveal subtle anomalies only noted during strenuous exercise &/or under saddle.

Blood sampling

Blood sampling is recommended for all vettings. The sample is stored for 6 months and can be tested for certain medications should a problem arise after the purchase.

Additional procedures

Radiography and ultrasonography may be included if deemed necessary or if requested. Endoscopic examination with a video recording of the airways can also be performed if required. These procedures may only be undertaken with the consent of the current owner.


B & B Equine Vets will then issue a Pre-Purchase Examination Certificate which includes a detailed report of the relevant clinical findings.


The Pre-Purchase Examination Report will note all significant findings and that can affect how an insurance company views the horse in terms of risk.  Where possible and if required, the prospective purchaser is advised to confirm that they are able to obtain suitable insurance cover before purchasing the horse.

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