The vetting procedure is a process laid down by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to standardise to examination.The vetting procedure is a process laid down by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to standardise to examination.

There are 5 stages to the examination

1. Thorough clinical examination of the horse at rest. This includes

  • Scanning for an existing microchip or drawing the horse
  • Examination of eyes and heart
  • Palpation and visual assessment of all limbs
  • Examination of feet (this can be performed during stage 5)

2. Dyanamic Assessment, including

  • Walk and trot up in straight line
  • Lunging on both soft and firm surface
  • Flexion tests

3. Strenuous Exercise

  • The horse is usually ridden but can be lunged
  • The exercise has to be sufficient to raise heart rate, which will depend on use of horse and level of fitness

4. Period of Rest

5. Second Trot Up

  • Flexion tests may be repeated as might some of lunging

X-rays

Purchasers and horse owners should be aware that X-rays and other imaging techniques can be as problematic as they are reassuring.

If X-rays are taken on behalf of an Insurance company, then any abnormalities identified are likely to lead the insurance company to place exclusions on the policy related to those abnormalities. Some Insurance companies place blanket exclusions based on these X-ray findings, such as excluding the whole limb. This is unfair in most cases and providing the vetting examination did not reveal clinical abnormalities, then discussion with the insurance company may help narrow the range of the exclusion and if appropriate, place time limits on the exclusion, ie. If no claim made in 2 years, and X-ray changes not progressed, then the exclusion may be removed.

It should be noted that the pre-purchase examination is not a diagnostic process, which means that if lameness is identified, the examination does not go into making a diagnosis as to why the horse is lame. Sometimes a swollen joint or something similar may give a possible indication to the cause.

  • If you are thinking about having a horse vetted, or if you are selling a horse that is being vetted, please see our separate page under information.