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Pre-Purchase Examination

At first glance, horses are admirable creature beings. The horse's esthetical movements, speed, impressive posture, shiny hair, beautiful face and eyes have always impressed the humans throughout history. Both the will to benefit from its power and the desire to own something so beautiful are the key points in buying horses.

If you are a novice rider and progressing each day, it is likely that people around you or the people who assist you in horse riding will start telling you that school horses are no longer adequate for you and it's time for you to acquire your own horse.

Maybe you have never ridden a horse but someone you know who owns race horses have influenced and encouraged you. In both cases, whether or not you have ridden a horse, you are now feeling ready to take on this responsibility… What will you do now?

As in all commercial relations, the most important element of a horse sale is the sense of confidence. If you are not too far from the equestrian community, you may have heard of the disappointments, distrust, material and moral losses after the purchase of a horse. (You can reach the real stories about the pre-purchase of horses by clicking the link at the end of the page)

If you don't have any experience in purchasing horses or have purchased horses but have some bad experiences as mentioned above, you will be able to forestall many problems the next time you are purchasing a horse by increasing your knowledge on this subject. In the next pages, you will see the phases of horse purchase in detail.

Your duties when purchasing horse

There are some preliminary preparations you have to make before the veterinary surgeon conducts the detailed pre-purchase examination. This preparation involves obtaining some information about the horse for sale. You may find the list of information required about the background of a horse by clicking at the link at the end of this page.

If you are not familiar with horses and a first-time buyer, you may benefit first and foremost from finding about horse behavior and nutrition as well as the way a horse shows that he is happy, angry, tired or ill. Like parents reading books on childcare and attending courses for their unborn child, you may improve yourself before becoming an owner and prepare yourself for this situation. You may be able to take care of your horse by yourself and can do your best to keep him healthy with the experience and knowledge you will obtain.

It is well known that horse owners purchasing a horse based solely on the animal's good looks and physical features are very likely to suffer material and moral losses. You can minimize the problems you may encounter by obtaining more information on horse purchase and a purpose-specific comprehensive examination of the horse that will be purchased. This examination will allow you to get info about the horse's age, current state of health and any possible eventualities.

Scope of the Pre-Purchase Examination

The purpose for which the horse is being purchased determines how the pre-purchase examination will be conducted and which subjects will be emphasized. For instance, the examination of reproduction organs would take precedence in a mare that is purchased for breeding purposes. For racing horses, musculoskeletal system such as bones, tendon and muscles must be examined. And a horse with a good general health who is not tall and who is calm and good mannered should be preferred for a child to ride.

It is crucial to have the horse's passport available during examination. This allows the veterinary surgeon to check the age and other info about the horse. The microchip (transponder) application which has become mandatory in many countries throughout the world and which is becoming more and more common in our own country increases the reliability of any records concerning the horse.

At Satınalma MuayenesiAt Satınalma Muayenesi

By looking at its teeth, the horse's age could be verified. Sometimes the sellers can misinform you about the horse's real age. Such cases can be avoided by age determination.

Regardless of the purpose for which the horse is purchased, some of the standard phases of a pre-purchase examination are listed below:

  • The neck vessels where intravenous injections are administered are checked (for thrombophlebitis)
  • The skin throughout the body is inspected and palpated for the presence of skin tumors.
  • Any scars on the horse including the ones on the sides of the lips caused by the bit are checked.
  • The tendons and tendon sheaths are checked in terms of shape, distension and sensitivity.
  • Effort test: Horses subjected to this test are worked for a certain period and have their condition checked. The heart rate and respiratory rate are measured during this assessment.
  • By means of an external examination of the eye and detailed investigation with an ophthalmoscope, both new and old unrecognized problems can be detected.
At Satınalma Muayenesi

Examination of the internal structures of the eye with ophthalmoscope.

It is not that surprising to come across eye problems that the horse owners do not know or even blind horses.

As mobility is essential for disciplines such as dressage, show-jumping and racing, the results of the lameness examination are very important. Even very mild lameness is definitely undesired in such sports horses. If it is determined during the inspection that the horse is lame, then the parties (buyer and seller) should negotiate, and probably end the examination.

Radiological Examination

If lameness is not detected during clinical examination, then the phase that will greatly affect your purchasing decision comes next. The reason for taking x-rays in spite of seeing no sign of lameness is to obtain findings about problems that might lead to lameness in near future. The consistency between the state of health of the horse and its price may be assessed according to the ranking system (German X-Ray Evaluation System – Roentgenleitfaden) based on the findings obtained from the radiological examination.

IWithout specific abnormal radiological findings and findings categorised as anatomical variations. (Ideal condition)
IIFindings mildly deviating from ideal condition; appearance of clinical issues estimated less than 3% in an indefinite time. (Norm condition)
IIIFindings deviating from norm condition; appearance of clinical issues estimated in 5 – 20% in an indefinite time. (Acceptance condition)
IVFindings severely deviating from norm condition; appearance of clinical issues likely more than 50%. (Risk condition)

There could be interim rankings when the findings do not suit any ranking groups. In this situation, such rankings as classes I-II, II-III and III-IV could be used.

The pre-purchase examination can be further detailed with the assistance of other system examinations depending on the intended use of the horse and the request of the person who wants the examination to be conducted.

Moreover, if desired, blood samples could be taken from the horse and stored in a laboratory for 6 months. The purpose of this is to find out whether or not the horse is under the effect of any doping (drugs such as tranquilizer, painkiller, performance increaser etc.) during the course of pre-purchase examination in the event of encountering problems with the horse in the future.

The veterinary surgeon that has conducted the pre-purchase examination issues a report that documents the current state of health of the horse and submit it to the person who requested the examination.

In order to have further information and answers to questions such as "How do the horse prices vary? How are sales of horses conducted both inside the country and abroad? How, during what period and under what conditions could a purchased horse be returned to the seller both in Turkey and in other countries? etc.", you may attend the trainings that we organize periodically. Following the theoretic information given in the first part of the training, you will have the chance to personally implement the evaluation of structural conformation of the horse, age determination etc. on different horses in the second part. Please click for dates and enrollment.


 Real Life Experiences Related to Buying a Horse

 Inquiries to be made before the pre-purchase examination (not related to the veterinary surgeon's examination)


A good horse is never a bad color

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