Vettings

Over the years we have proudly built our reputation of offering high quality, thorough, informative vettings (pre-purchase examinations) for anyone seeking to buy a new horse or pony, whether they be first-time horse buyers or top level professional riders.

Buying a new horse should be an exciting experience and one that offers riders a chance to add a new dimention to their chosen activity. However we understand that the process can be daunting: with many equine health issues to consider and a few unscrupulous sellers to avoid.

Our aim has always been to facilitate the purchase of a new horse. This is achieved by listening to the purchasers requirements, carrying out careful examinations, quickly reporting our findings, and providing comprehensive written reports.

In the current economic climate we are aware that clients are seeking affordable vettings without compromising a quality service. For this reason we have set highly competitive prices for performing first-class vettings which we believe is unparrelled in the region.

Prices (all include VAT):

2 Stage Horse Pre-purchase examination (including written report) - £150

5 Stage Horse Pre-purchase examination (including written report) - £250

+ Visit charge (variable- contact us for details)

+ Blood sample for future drug assessment if required (strongly advised) - £41


Information  for clients on pre-purchase examinations

Before purchasing a new horse or pony it is advisable to have an examination performed to assess its suitability. Many conditions can only be found on a thorough assessment and their significance needs careful interpretation.

Who performs the vettings?

At Buckingham Equine Vets (BEV) we have three vets who are highly experienced at carrying out vettings. All vets are happy to travel far and wide to assist clients in their potential purchase.

Horse Pre-Purchase Examination VetAndrew Wallace is a co-director of BEV and through examination holds the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ prestigious Certificate in Equine Practice. He has been working in equine practice for over 10 years working both in the UK and New Zealand.

Horse Pre-Purchase ExaminationJo Hales is a highly accomplished rider having ridden all her life. She competes regularly in side saddle competitions and hunts when ever possible. She has over 10 years experience as a vet and has developed a particular interest in the competition horse.

Kieran Rowley is an experienced equine veterinary surgeon with an interest in all aspects of equine work. He is currently working towards a certificate in equine medicine which will make him an advanced veterinary practitioner.


Occasionally abnormalities arise during the vetting process that require further investigation. These include abnormal heart murmurs or rhythms, unusual respiratory noises at exercise, and eye irregularities. In order to obtain the most accurate advice on their long term consequence, specialist assessment is required. At BEV we are unique in the region by being able to provide in-house support from Philip Ivens, a European Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine (see BEMR).

What does a horse pre-purchase examination involve?

So that the vetting process can proceed as smoothly as possible we follow a protocol as set out by the veterinary governing body, RCVS and the veterinary association BEVA.

We advise that, where possible, the purchaser is present at the time of the vetting so as to avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings. If the purchaser is unable to attend, then he/she will be rung prior to the exam to discuss their specific requirements.

Two stages (1 to 2) or Five stages (1 to 5) are routinely performed in the exam. They are as follows:
1. Physical examination- including assessing documentation, temperament, conformation, age, eyes, mouth, heart, lungs, skin, feet.
2. Lameness examination in hand- assessment at walk, trot, after flexion tests and turning in tight circles. In addition lunging/trotting in a circle on a hard surface is now advised to identify subtle problems.
3. Ridden examination- assessment of being saddled and mounted, ridden at walk, trot and canter (and galloping if required), wind and abnormal respiratory sounds, heart & lungs immediately after strenuous exercise.
4. A period of rest until the heart and respiratory rate return to normal.
5. Final trot up in hand- to assess if a lameness has developed during the exam.

We recommended clients choosing the 5-stage vetting option, however, due to limitations of time or cost 2-stages may be preferred.

It is now normal that a blood sample is taken at the end of the examination and stored for 6 months. This is to identify pain killers or sedatives, should they be suspected at a later date.

Other tests may be required if specific concerns have been identified. These include ophthalmology (eyes), endoscopy (wind), echocardiography (heart), radiography (x-rays). Some of these may be requested by an insurance company in purchasing valuable horses.

Immediately following the examination we will report the results via telephone so please leave a daytime contact number when booking. Within a few days of the examination a detailed vetting certificate will be sent to the client in the post.

What is involved in preparing for an equine pre-purchase examination?

In order to minimise errors we recommend vettings are performed under the following conditions and preparations:
1. A comprehensive discussion is made between the purchaser and the veterinary practice (usually receptionist) to ascertain the requirements of the vetting including and particular concerns the purchaser may have with the horse.
2. If only a 2 stage vetting is requested, a signed form declining stages 3,4 and 5 is needed before the vetting is performed. This can be emailed or faxed to the purchaser.
3. The horse should be trimmed or shod within the last 28 days of the vetting and ideally not within the previous week.
4. All documentation is available at the start of the examination, i.e. passport.
5. On presentation the horse should be well groomed and been stabled for 3 hours before start of the exam.
6. Suitable premises are available to perform the vetting including: a darkened stable to perform an eye exam, a flat level hard surface for the lameness exam (a busy road is not suitable), a indoor/outdoor school or similar for the ridden exam. Please note, if conditions are not suitable the vet may choose to postpone or move the exam. If necessary the examination can be performed at our clinic where surfaces/buildings/equipment are prepared specifically for the procedure.

If you have any questions relating to the vetting procedure then please call the clinic on: 01908 560789. We fully appreciate the official nature of the process may seem a little daunting, but we will always try to assist your understanding and make the purchase of a horse or pony comprehensive yet enjoyable.

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“Great practice offering the best possible equine veterinary support. Would not have my horses treated by any other practice...."

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