Vettings and Soundness Examinations

We offer a range of options for Pre-purchase examinations which can be tailored to your needs and the intended use of the horse. 

Types of examination

5 Stage examination

For the majority of buyers, we recommend that a full 5-stage Vetting is conducted to give you the most comprehensive assessment of the animal being purchased. (See detailed information below)

2 Stage Examination 

For certain cases including younger animals like foals and yearlings a more limited examination can be conducted consisting of stages 1 &2 only. 

Sales Vettings

We can conduct Vettings for auctions sales including Cavan Equestrian Centre, Tattersalls Ireland. A specific sales examination certificate is provided.

The 5 Stages of Examination 

1 . Preliminary Examination: 

A thorough external examination of the animal using visual observation, palpation and manipulation to detect clinically apparent signs of injury, disease or physical abnormality. Includes an examination of the incisor teeth, a thorough examination of the eye's in a darkened environment and auscultation of the horses heart and lungs at rest. 
(Please note that the standard examination does not include dilating the pupil of the eye, examination inside the prepuce (sheath), a detailed mouth examination with a speculum, a height measurement or any examination for pregnancy)

2 . Walk and Trot, in hand
The animal is walked and then trotted in hand to detect abnormalities of gait and action. Ideally this is carried out on a firm and level surface. The horse is turned sharply in both directions and backed up. Flexion tests of all four limbs and trotting in a circle on a firm surface are typically carried out, provided the examining veterinary surgeon considers that it is safe and appropriate to do so. 

3. Examination at Exercise

The horse is exercised sufficiently to:

  • Allow assessment of the horse when it has an increased breathing effort and an increased heart rate
  • Allow assessment of the horses gait at walk, trot, canter and where appropriate, gallop
  • Allow assessment of the horse for the purpose of stage 5

 If ridden exercise is not undertaken this stage is typically conducted with the horse on the lunge which will be made clear on the certificate of examination.

4 . Rest and Re-Examination 

The horse is allowed to stand quietly for a period. During this time, the respiratory and cardiovascular systems may be monitored as they return to their resting levels. 

5 . Final Trot up
The animal is trotted again in hand to look for signs of strains or injuries made evident by the exercise and rest stages. 

VDS Blood Sampling
  • In all cases we recommend that a blood sample is taken for storage (6months) and possible future analysis to detect substances present in the horses system at the time of the examination that might have masked any factors affecting the animals suitability for the purchasers intended use.

Additional procedures on request

See below additional diagnostics which can be conducted at your request.


  • We offer full radiographic examinations for both thoroughbred auctions and Sport horse sales
  • Specific areas or limited X-ray sets can be discussed with the examining vet according to your needs


  • We offer Videoendoscopy for sales repository use for all major foal and yearling sales
  • An endoscopic examination of the horses wind may be recommended by the examining vet. Video endoscopy can be provided on request.

Diagnostic Ultrasound
Tendon scans

Ultrasound evaluation of a horses tendons may be included at your request or at the discretion of the examining vet. Images can be provided to you if required.