Choosing a horse to buy, whether it is a childrens’ first pony, a four-star eventer or a future Cheltenham winner is always fraught with anxiety! There are so many variables which must be considered including suitability for purpose, freedom from annoying vices/habits, good temperament and, of course, soundness.

Most buyers employ the services of a veterinary surgeon to carry out a Pre-Purchase Examination before committing to buying a horse. The purpose of this article is to review the ‘standard five-stage vetting’, to explain both its scope and limitations and to advise how to get the most out of having your prospective new horse vetted.