November 7, 2013

Preparing for the pre-purchase exam or vetting, Part 2

When it comes to preparing for your horse to be vetted, you need to think ahead. Most vets won't be able to come out at a moment's notice, so you should have at least a few days to prepare for the exam. You want to prepare, that is if you want to sell your horse. I didn't realize this at first, and pretty much missed out on selling Rose to buyer No. 1 because of lack of preparation. The more preparation you have the better, so if you can get a week advanced notice do it!

Things to avoid before a vetting (3 days - 1 week), and why:
  1. Do not trim, shoe and/or change farriers
    God forbid a trim job ends up being too short, a toe or heel gets a new angle, or a nail hits a funny spot. The horse may come up lame, or present a false gate lameness. It's always best to make sure that you have at least one week between any farrier work and a vetting.
  2. Do not jump a horse that is not regularly jumped or increase workload
    If I do any new physical activities my muscles gets sore and will be sore for 2-3 days after. It is no different for a horse. Therefore you certainly do not want to do anything that will cause them to be sore, again possibly presenting as a lameness or gate lameness.
  3. Do not trailer anywhere
    It can be really tempting to want to go for a few last trail rides, a clinic, or one last schooling show before your horse possibly sells. It is also a really nice gesture as the seller to offer to take the horse to the preferred vet clinic for the vetting. However, the horse could easily tweak a pastern or worse in the trailer, and come up looking lame. Be smart, not nice, and have the vet do a farm call. Leaving the farm also increases the chance of anything else going wrong and causing potential injuries. Just don't do it!
  4. Do not change turnout/feed/routine, etc.
    Keep life predictable before the exam. This will reduce stress on the horse, and you, reducing the number of unknowns that could go wrong and will allow the horse to preform at it's best for the vetting.
Icy February schooling show.
As my story goes, I made several fatal errors the first go around. I took Rose to a horse show a week and a half before the vetting. A winter horse show. There was ice all over the place. At one point she fell really hard whilst freaking out about some baby calves that were jumping around in an adjoining pasture. Silly horse. She had seen cows so many times before and never cared about them at all. Long story short, she pulled a hamstring in the process. Granted, at the time I had no idea she was going to be vetted, but still it was stupid to take her to that show.

The second mistake I made was offering to trailer her more than an hour away to the chosen vet. So either her sore butt muscles were presenting as a very mild hind lameness or she tweaked something in the trailering process. I'll never really know, because I let the stupid vet and my husband (I wasn't trailering Rose on my own yet at this point) convince me to leave Rose and go back to town for a few hours because the vetting at this particular place would take many hours and Hubs wanted to get some work done.

After the first vetting, I learned a lot and was much wiser come June when Rose got vetted for the second time. However, that time around Rose was coming up a tad lame in the front. This was due to a really bad trim job she got by a "barefoot" quack trimmer in March. That person cut all her soles off, so short, that I eventually put shoes on Rose in July. Once the shoes were on she was sound again. So don't mess with your horse's feet if they are good. However, she was still barefoot for the vetting, so of course she wasn't completely sound that day.

Stay tuned for...

Part 3: How to prepare for the vetting

Part 4: Ethics -things in my opinion you should never do

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. Great tips! After I read them I thought, that is common sense but NEVER would have thought about it before a sale! LOL

  2. I agree with Sandy -- once you put them all down on paper, it's like "oh, duh"... but in the moment, I don't think I would think of it that way!

  3. For those of us who are non-pros, this is great info. I've only ever sold one horse and the buyer chose not to vet, so I've never had to think about this stuff.



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