Buying a horse can be one of the most exciting things ever. There are so many options out there and some amazing horses depending on what you are looking for, and it can take some time to find the perfect partner that fits all the parameters. Though when you find that one that ticks all the boxes, you just cannot wait to get that bill of sale signed. Part of the process that can be either skipped or gone through is the pre-purchase exam. It is customary to always recommend to do a pre-purchase exam. This is one way to provide some insurance that you as the buyer are not getting an animal that has hidden issues that will show up as soon as you by them that you can’t live with. But even a horse with a perfectly clean exam can up and break a leg the next day. That’s just life with horses.
When selling the horse, as either the owner or an agent you don’t always have the whole picture. Either because the previous owners didn’t provide it, or there is no previous information. But either way, for the sake of reputation, most owners/agents try to be as honest and upfront as possible with the information that they are provided. It does no one any good to with hold information including the horse.
Now the flip side to this is even with a bad exam, the horse can still perform the necessary job that they are being bought for. There is that motto that “you ride the horse, not the x-rays”. Here is a recent article that was written up about a successful Olympic level horse that had key issues that most horse people would run away from:
Personally, I can say that I have never done a pre-purchase on one of my horses. And yes, there has been issues that crop up, but they get dealt with as they come. That decision can come from experience, from knowing the horse over many years, or from the price of horse as in the case of some, the exam is more than the cost of the horse.
Every situation is different. And we relay on trainers, vets, farriers, and other professionals to assist in making the best decision in the buying process as well as in the care after.