If you’re not familiar with the area where the horse lives, you can ask for
recommendations from the seller or an experienced horseman in the region. If
you’re working with a trainer, she probably has an extensive network and may
know other trainers in the area where you’re looking who can recommend a vet
that handles PPEs.
Getting Down to Basics
In every PPE, the veterinarian should conduct a hands-on, head-to-tail physical
exam. Cayot says this should always include:
Check of all vital signs (heart, lungs, gut sounds, capillary refill time).
Eyes and hearing.
Teeth and mouth.
Use of hoof testers on all four feet.
Checking for any signs of melanoma under tail (especially on gray horses).
Flexion and range of motion exam of all joints in all legs.
Observation of horse being longed and/or ridden at walk, trot and canter in
both directions to check for lameness.
Recovery time check (how long it takes vital signs to return to normal
“Some veterinarians like to have a rider up and some buyers want this, but I
like to have the horse worked on a longeline so I can see him go in a circle,” says
Cayot. “A horse may be sound on a straight line, but when moved in a circle,
lameness may show due to different weight bearing .”
When working with a young horse, such as a weanling, or one who doesn’t know
how to longe, Cayot asks for the horse to be turned out in a round pen or small
paddock to watch him move.
For many buyers, this basic PPE is sufficient, and if everything looks good,
they’re satisfied. In other cases, a buyer might request an X-ray of a specific joint if
the horse showed a bit of positive reaction during the flexions. To learn more and download
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