Recommended to assist buyers of any horse, is the "Pre-purchase
Exam." Your local equine practitioner can help you assess the health
and soundness of the horse you are looking to purchase. Those who are
familiar with the owner or farm may accept guarantees stipulated in the
purchase agreement. In either case, knowledge of the horse's physical
condition will help you better care for your horse over its life.
A thorough physical exam, (eyes, mouth, teeth, heart, body condition,
reproductive exam, physical history, vaccination history, worming history)
often precede a "soundness exam." where by watching the horse in
motion or even by taking radiographs, a potential athletic compromise or
current lameness is ruled out. Of course, the condition of the horse
should be balanced against its age and intended use.
Eyes-The Arabian horse has large, expressive eyes, widely set
for excellent vision especially to the rear. Examination of the eyes is
therefore critical, and recognition of any past injury or ongoing
inflammation is important.
Dental check-All horses need dental check ups regularly.
Horses ridden with a bit, in particular, are far more comfortable with
their "wolf teeth" removed, if present, and with a "bit
seat." A bit seat is the application of a tooth file, (a
"float") to round off the upper and lower premolars so that
the bit seats itself more comfortably in the horse's mouth.
Heart-Horses, like people, can and do have heart
"murmurs," arrhythmia (irregular beats), and other audible
normal and abnormal heart conditions. Some murmurs, for example, are
perhaps acceptable in an older mare to be used strictly for breeding,
whereas the same murmur might spell potential disaster in a seven year
old 100 mile endurance horse.
Physical condition-The physical condition of the horse
predicts it's future, and reflects its past. A very fat horse has not
been worked consistently, for whatever reason, and will take some time
and care to be "fitted up" without stress or strains. A very
thin horse, on the other hand, may be nervous, unwell, have teeth
problems, or be low-man in the pecking order for food. In either case, a
diagnosis should be made prior to purchase.
Breeding soundness-Any stallion or mare to be used for
breeding should be proven "reproductively sound." In mares
with unknown recent reproductive history, a full physical examination of
the reproductive tract, often including ultrasonography, culture and
uterine biopsy of older mares, may be advisable. Stallions must have
drive, and acceptable numbers of fertile spermatozoa, or have, as proof
of their breeding soundness, recent live and healthy foals.
Nevertheless, an examination of the stallion's reproductive tract may
provide important information prior to obvious physical problems.
Physical history-Old injuries, behavior problems, past
surgeries, past medical crises in the horse's history should be reviewed
in light of future plans for the horse. A veterinarian with experience
will have some ability to predict long-term consequences results from
any such historical documentation.
Worming history-Perhaps one of the most critical historical
pieces of information to you as a potential buyer is the horse's worming
history. The results of a poor worming schedule are often severely
compromised vessels in the gut, which in time may result in a bowel
without blood perfusion, death of that portion of bowel, colic or even
death of the horse. Be sure of a good worming history, and continue
yourself to maintain a proper worming program based on sound advise, and
if necessary, on a microscopic fecal examination.
Vaccinations-Each area of the country and world has its
particular endemic diseases for which it is advisable to vaccinate your
horse. Your equine practitioner is specifically aware of horse diseases,
and can help you determine your horse's future needs locally,
country-wide, and even world-wide, if necessary.
In addition to the vet check you should check the housing condition
that your future horse presently inhabits. Many keys to this horse's
future lay before the observant person who takes note of the way the horse
is kept on a daily basis. An intelligent buyer visits his potential
selection several times, at a varied schedule, unless he or she is
familiar and confident in the seller.