Before buying a horse, we recommend a pre-purchase exam (PPE). This is basically an “exam for intended use”. There are many horses out there, and not all of them are suited for the job that you are wanting them for. For example: whereas an older horse that is a little stiff might be an ideal kid safe horse for the trail, it might not be suitable for jumping , or maybe a horse is fully capable of jumping 2’ or 2’6” but would not be competitive at 3’.
A question for the potential buyer to consider is if they are looking for a horse to grow into, or do they understand that they might outgrow the horse’s capabilities and would they then be willing to sell that horse or become a multi-horse family. Whether it is trail riding, western showing, hunting, jumping, rodeo ,dressage, or breeding, a PPE can help alert your to potential problems allowing you to make a well informed decision. A basic PPE would include a complete physical exam (listening to the heart and lungs, exam of the eyes, mouth, teeth), flexion tests, using hoof testers and possibly viewing your potential horse on the longe line or under saddle. Depending on what the horse is going to be used for, a potential buyer might choose to extend the exam to include radiographs (a navicular series, or views of the hocks etc.) or bloodwork. If the horse is a mare to be used for breeding, an ultrasound of the reproductive tract might be warranted. We would always recommend that the horse has had a negative coggins test within the last 6 months.
The PPE is not designed to simply pass or fail a horse, but rather to give a potential buyer a clearer picture of the horse today and potential management tools for the future so that they may be content with their purchase and know that the horse they are intending to buy is suitable for what they are wanting.