I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me yesterday regarding my deceased mare Picante.
Your credentials are very impressive
and I would certainly feel confident if you were handling Picante’s case.
Axens North America
|Title of Article: "The Pre-purchase Exam vs. The Insurance Exam"
Author: David D. Johnson
In buying a new horse there are several things to consider
relative to the health and soundness of the prospect. A
pre-purchase health and soundness examination may be more
than you want to spend but what if a problem is detected
in the more complete pre-purchase examination. You could
easily save yourself lots more money because the vet found
degenerative joint disease, (As an example).
enough the purchase price of the horse should NOT be a factor
and, in fact, it's none of the vet's business
what the price is. That determination as to value and suitability
must be made by you and your professional trainer.
sure that the veterinarian you choose, (not the seller's
choice), has no close or barn relationship with the seller.
Amazing as it may seem, I hear lots of instances where the
buyer just accepts the seller's vet as the one to make
the pre-purchase examination.
The fact that the seller is using their own vet to do "your"
soundness exam should raise all sorts of red flags:
a. The seller's vet may not be as impartial as should
be in supposedly looking out for your best interests.
b. The ethical dilemma brought on by the seller getting his
own vet to do the exam should also be an unacceptable item.
The AAEP, (American Association of Equine Practioners),
demands the highest ethical standards to which all vets
should adhere; again, another red flag. (For instance, our
"barn" vet will NOT do a pre-purchase exam for
anyone out of the barn who's purchasing a horse from
our barn for ethical reasons. He does not want even a "perception" of unethical behavior).
If the horse you're having examined is out of town, it's
customary to have the x-rays and preliminary results of
the physical sent to your vet's office back home; it
just makes sense to have another pair of trained eyes looking
at your prospective horse's exam. Plus they are familiar
with you and your potential use of the new horse.
In some cases, the seller will suggest an insurance exam as
a way of saving you some money, explaining to you that the
vet can "look" at the horse as well as performing
the insurance exam.
On the face of it, all seems ok except that the insurance exam
is not at all rigorous and is NOT a legitimate way of determining
if the prospective animal is indeed completely sound. In
addition, x-rays are almost never done in an insurance physical
except in a "loss of Use" policy where x-rays
I can tell you that in my professional capacity as a trainer,
I won't let a horse be sold unless the buyer has a
thorough pre-purchase examination performed.
If the prospective buyer doesn't want to spend the money,
you may have a buyer who will be the first one to sue you
for recision, (cancel the whole deal, plus stick you with
additional health expenses on the horse).
Oh yes, make sure that any and all veterinary problems are
disclosed including the records at you vet's office.
The reason is that if those records are not easily made
available to the potential buyer and their vet, and something
untoward happens after the sale is made, some states look
at your "non-disclosure", as a fraudulent act.
Also, don't be cheap when asking the vet you've hired
to examine the prospect. Not having enough x-rays can be
a problem down the road since a good set of "baseline"
radiographs can be a real aid in marketing the animal in
Now, for the insurance exam: Insurance companies have a right
to know if the animal they're insuring is still sound.
The vet simply visits the barn and checks the vital signs.
The soundness part of the exam should be simply trotting
the horse back and forth in front of the vet.
Ordinarily, no x-rays are taken, (except as mentioned above), but you
do get to pay for the exam so try and get other clients
of your vet to have their horses done at the same time to
limit costs. The vet simply fills out and signs a form supplied
by the insurance company and then faxes it back to the agent.
It is the owner's responsibility to mail the original
document; although most licensed agents can bind coverage
over the phone, pending receipt of the original veterinary
In short, when buying a new horse just "bite the bullet"
and spend the dollars to make sure your new horse is completely
Even if the vet finds a small problem it may help to get the
seller to lower the price, (After consultation with your
trainer, of course). Sometimes its ok to make an educated
Now the MOST important part of the whole process is to make
sure there is a contract made up to protect both yours and
the seller's interests. The contract can save lots
of time and aggravation later.
Please let me know if you have any comments.
Back to Articles Main Page
NAES would like to thank all of the contributing photographers for their generosity in allowing
NAES to post photographs throughout this web site. Photo credits are listed, where appropriate.
Home - Qualified Equine Appraisals - Advisory Board - NAES' Spotlight - NAES' David D. Johnson
NAES Tip of the Month - About NAES - NAES' Horse of the Month - Professional Directory - Legal Services
Rule 26 Case Histories - Contact NAES - NAES' Newsletter - State Equine Agister's/Feed Liens - Resources
States Equine Activity Statutes - Horse of the Month Archives - Articles - Equine Services - NAES' Videos
Clients: Payments On-Line - Willoway Farm - Site Use Policy - Privacy Statement - Site Map
Copyright North American Equine Services, L.L.C. 2017 All Rights Reserved.
Webmaster: Media People International
click to contact