Vettings? Worth it or not?

DJ

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For me I don`t know if they are or not. It seems to be a small window showing how a horse is on that day, for the most part. I know too many people personally who have had them done, only for an issue to be missed/come out a few days, weeks, months down the line, and the vets just to basically shrug and say "there was no evidence of it on the day".

I suppose if I was paying a lot out for a competition horse I`d want to have one done, but for your lower end happy hackers is it worth the money??

TIA
 

thingstodotoday

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I did with my first horse, and then had to provide a copy to the insurance company which started no end of issues regarding coverages, exclusions, and them trying to wriggle out of anything and everything for the rest of his life. So my new horse I didn't have vetted - if I hadn't had the first one done then everything would just have always been paid outright.
 

Kaylum

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Heart lungs and eyes need checking for me. At the very least. Depends on your perspective as many a person has found a horse has been drugged up and this has been confirmed when asked for the blood samples to be looked at taken at the time of vetting. Never trust what's in front of you eyes without a bit more digging.
 

Gloi

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To be honest I trust going with an experienced friend or two and looking over the horse ourselves more than what the vet says. If I was spending thousands and having X-rays etc it would be different but for a basic horse/pony I trust my own judgement.
 

Archangel

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I would always go for a 2 stage - I very very nearly got stitched up when offered an Arab very cheaply, it looked like he had just got in a pickle and needed an experienced rider. Wrong, in fact he had a severe eye problem, had previously failed a vet and was being passed off cheaply in the hope that someone would think it was a riding problem and just not bother with the vet.
 

Mrs G

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I think it depends how much the horse costs and what you intend to do with it (eg expensive competition horse). I didn't get either of my ex racers vetted because they weren't a big outlay to start with and fortunately all was/has been well since (but then we don't have any great competing ambitions). If I'm ever in a position to spend a lot more money on a horse I prob would get a vetting for peace of mind but even then they are no guarantee.
 
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Goldenstar

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I always have a five stage vetting .
Having sold a horse who turned out to be nearly blind , (you could never have guessed).
And had one vetted whose had a heart condition so severe he was described as a death trap.
I have also gone on to buy several horses that failed vettings ,one was a spectacular disaster ( we will gloss over that ) but others went on to work well for us for several years with me managing the problems .
I would never buy a young horse that could not get through a five stage vetting .
Archangel story above shows how dishonest people can be and that's before we get into then huge list of things a vetting can find out that the vendor might have no idea about .
 

kobi

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I always have a 2 stage, as somebody else said, to do the bits I can't see e.g. heart and eyes. I do bits of the 5 stage myself before i book the 2 stage e.g. lunge on a small circle on soft and hard surface as i am confident I can spot if something looks lame (I might not be able to pinpoint it but if I see any lameness i wouldn't progress anyway). I always make sure I run my hands over the whole horse too to check for lumps and bumps, have a good look at the feet and check how straight they move.
 

Kikke

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We have 3 now, the first was not vetted and I wish I had because I don't think I would have bought her otherwise. I love her to bits but she is not fit for purpose (not the purpose I wanted her for) but I fell in love.
The second had a two stage, he was picked up straight from the field and I just wanted a general health check really which he passed with flying colours, he was always going to be a happy hacker with some low lever competing for my hubby. That is still what he does and is amazing.
The third one had a five stage vetting, blood, the works. She is now my competition horse and I felt I really wanted to get all my bases covered. Sure you never can tell but for that amount of money and the insurance wanting a vetting report aswell it is the best thing we could have done.

I suppose it is all about what you want with a horse, and if you are happy with a horse you have only spend 1k on then why have it vetted.
 

Slightlyconfused

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I have never vetted any of mine. I like to think I am a good judge of movement these days and I knew one of mine would fail on trot up (vet agreed when he checked him over when we got him) if I had vetted him but his temperament was fab for my brother so we just took a gamble and with lots of strengthing work for his hind end he now passes a flexion test as sound ( stupid horse thinks he is 12.2 and hurt himself)

I always get my vet out once they are home to do eyes, heart and lungs. one of mine has a grade two systolic heart murmur but we just keep an eye on it.
 

cbmcts

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I've always had a 5 stage for anything over the age of 4/5 ie already under saddle. For what I'm looking for they are usually over the £2.5k value where insurance needs a vet cert anyway and while I can spot lameness and bad conformation I can't check eyes, hearts etc.

It helps that my vets are very good about checking anything that I've asked them to look at (an old scar on the last one) to make as sure as possible that it's not going to be an issue in the future. They have also flagged up things verbally that I may want to be aware of but that don't need to be put on the cert. Once it was the signs of an old bout of laminitis - I was able to question the owner and it turned out to be concussion laminitis where the horse had been hammered on the road while on loan. I could then decide whether to take the risk of a lammi prone horse. That alone was well worth the £220 for a vetting.
 

Honey08

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I've never been asked for a vetting certificate for mine. They've asked if the horse was vetted and then asked for the certificate if they had been vetted. For the ones that weren't vetted they still insured. That was three of the main insurance companies.
 

Cortez

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I've always just bought what I saw, (including a horse which was lame on viewing, now sound after we sorted him out) but I only buy inexpensive horses and have mucho experience. The only horse I've ever had vetted went spectacularly lame 2 months later.
 

Midlifecrisis

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Always 5 stage vet for the job the horse is expected to do...and I try to have my vet do it because they will have the animal to look after once I ve got it home so they have a vested interest in the process.
 

Hemirjtm

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I didn't get my first horse vetted, I've had him 9 years and never a lame day or any other problems! My 2nd horse was vetted and passed with no problems...I had to have him PTS as a 5yr old due to juvenil arthritis in his pelvis. This would not have been picked up on a normal x-ray and we only found out thanks to an ultrasound. the 3rd was 18 months, he got heart, eyes and lungs checked but I've known him since he was born so I wasn't too worried!

I think if you are spending 7k+ on a horse then yes get it vetted but if not then problems ca arrise that a vetting wouldn't pick up!
 

FfionWinnie

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I've always just bought what I saw, (including a horse which was lame on viewing, now sound after we sorted him out) but I only buy inexpensive horses and have mucho experience. The only horse I've ever had vetted went spectacularly lame 2 months later.
The only one I've had vetted turned out to have PSSM, not something which would be picked up on a vetting. Most expensive one I've bought as well. Will stick to cheap and cheerful and no vet in future!
 

atlantis

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I had my mare 5 stage vetted in November and she's been lame with a splint for weeks now. I have wondered whether the vetting contributed to the splint? Multiple small circles on hard ground. She was sound at the vetting but became lame about 6 weeks later.
 

Sussexbythesea

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I have had two 5-stage vetted and they were in some ways not worth the paper they were written on. The horses were 5 and 7 respectively and bought to compete. The first had wobblers which diagnosed within 6 months but there were symptoms from the day I bought him I just didn't know what they meant. The second I had vetted specifically for dressage and cost me quite a lot. The vet didn't pick up on a fairly prominent conformation issue and his exact words were "I can't fault the horse"(one front leg knee wasn't straight and turned outwards). Now he wasn't lame but I would have expected him to raise it with me as a possible long-term soundness issue. I should have seen it myself I'm embarrassed to say.

The horse I didn't have vetted was my current horse (I swapped him for the second horse above which I discovered didn't suit me temperamentally). I had him on trial and fell head over heels in love with him. I actually thought he wouldn't pass a vetting so I didn't have him vetted as I knew I couldn't send him back if he failed. I was right he had SI issues but I've managed those issues and we have had 10 years of fun together, I don't regret it at all.

However if buying again I would probably still get a vetting especially if I was paying a significant amount.
 

Steorra

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A vetting is what it is, there's no real guarantee the vet will catch onto a brewing issue or that the horse won't injure himself the minute you get him home, but they potentially saved us from years of trouble.

It's been years since I was looking and I was young enough that my parents arranged, but we passed by two horses who were deemed unsuitable by the vet. One had significant breathing problems that only became obvious when asked to canter for an extended period and pointed to an underlying issue. We hadn't asked the horse to canter more than a circuit or two on viewing as the owners warned us he was very unfit. Well, yes, he was!

The other seemed perfectly sound and happy, but the vet had a hunch that something fishy was going on and encouraged us to have bloods analysed before purchase. Horse tested positive for bute.

The horse we eventually bought was deemed suitable, but the vet flagged some conformation issues that might cause trouble down the line, and mentioned that he had a bit of attitude (bogged off during the flexion test and pranced gleefully around the yard causing general mayhem). The vet was spot on with both points though we had many happy years of mischief before arthritis caught up with him.
 

supagran

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Depends .... Two horses we've bought both with 5 stage vetting, one no longer alive one almost a field ornament. Latest one we bought failed the vet but has been worked hard since we bought, but never had a problem (I'm talking, dressage, show jumping, eventing, team chasing and hacking etc). Pays your money takes your chance.
 

Merlin11

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Have had mine vetted and it has mainly been worthwhile. Most recent purchase was a highland pony youngster so just got a 2 stage. It highlighted a couple of things which didn't stop me purchasing but were useful to know. Only problem is insurer used it to add lots of exclusions! Horse had mild diarhorea as had just come in from grass to hay and now all gastro illnesses are excluded as are skin conditions as vet found a couple of very small bits of hard skin which could be sarcoids but then again may not be. No problems have transpired in either area. It is a bit bizarre that if I hadn't had him vetted no exclusions would apply. I now have to go through the hassle of trying to get exclusions removed in a years time- at least the gastro one.
 

chaps89

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Over 2013/2014 I had 4 horses vetted- 2 outright fails,2 borderline.
First horse I knew the seller through a friend and we used the same vet so I just asked the vet to go and do a basic health check as opposed to a proper vetting. Horse came up unsound/unlevel. He was 4 years old and it was summer so the ground was hard. Vet advised it could just be basic concussion/bruising but after the problems I'd had with my previous horse he advised we walked away. Seller very understandable.
Second horse was a recommendation from some-one on here who I knew and I decided on a 2 stage vetting. Horse was very definitely unlevel and scuffing his hind legs badly - despite being tried hard twice previously he'd only shown a small sign of scuffing and as he was very unfit I put it down to that but the vet again advised not to proceed with purchase (different vet but also knew my history with broken horses)
Third horse was irish, found it online and viewed and liked. However had splints on 3 of 4 legs (at 4 years old) Wasn't in my area so used an unknown vet practice - as soon as the vet found out I worked for an equine insurer she was just asking what she should or shouldn't put on the vetting so I didn't get exclusions! When the vet report came through it also didn't represent what she told us at the time so we pulled out. (Should have at least spoken to the practice manager about the vet as wasn't happy but that's the benefit of hindsight for you!)
Fourth horse was from a friend of a friend. 7 year old backed for a month or two. Vet had some concerns over his hindlimbs but did feel he was fit for purpose and so took him on trial. Had my own vet out who was horrified by his legs and as he was lethal in traffic (not the sellers fault, he came from rural wales where traffic is a lot different to busy Surrey so we didn't know this till we got him home) so he had to go back. This broke my heart as I loved that horse. He got a grade 1 at the Red Dragon in October so safe to say the vets fears about his legs appear to have been unsubstantiated on this occasion.
Fifth horse I bought unvetted. And boy oh boy do I wish I'd had her vetted. So far her vets bills have totalled more than £5k and I am stuck with a project I bought to sell on that now has very little value and is emotionally and financially draining me. Some of her problems are definitely just 'one of those things' and have happened after purchase, but I do wonder if the vet would have picked up her unsoundness from her ringbone, although I am sure she was sound at purchase and had 2 experienced people look at her.

Horse 1 was a surprise to all of us that he wasn't sound, but as he was newly backed (less than a month) it would have been a gamble as hadn't been in work long enough to put him under any strain.
Horses 2 and 3 I had vetted as I wasn't sure if they were sound originally and vet confirmed this. In future I learnt my lesson and if I'm not sure rather than paying ££££ to have it confirmed I will just walk away. With the benefit of hindsight I was just so desperate to have a new horse I suspect I was hoping the vet would say it would be fine/I was being paranoid.
Horse 4 I regret, if he hadn't been so bad in traffic he would have stayed (heart ruling head maybe)
Horse 5, well, who knows. Even though she was cheap to buy and her problems may have only come to light following her bringing her into work (she was effectively bought from the field and went lame 8 weeks after purchase despite taking it slowly working her again) maybe a vet may have seen something I missed. But it certainly proves the point that a cheap horse is as expensive to keep as one who costs a lot more to buy.

My trouble is my budget is limited (I can afford the running costs of a horse but it doesn't leave much in the room for saving and I don't have a pot of cash ready for the next one!) and I like project types anyway (handy when there's no budget!) so it's hard to gauge what unlevelness/unsoundness is to be expected in a green youngster and can be put down to that and what is something more sinister.

So even though I must have spent a small fortune on vettings it's something I would do again- yes, the horse may get kicked the next day or colic when you get home, but that's horses. Having spent so much time and heart-ache on my horses in the last 10 years (not yet owned one that's stayed sound longer than a year and the vets assure me it's not me!) I want to at least know I'm starting with a clean slate and a sound horse!
 

L&M

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Diffcult one - I gave up vettings after buying a mare that was put down 2 mnths after purchase, as was diagnosed with wobblers. I flagged up to the vet that I felt her canter didn't 'feel right' but he discounted it……and on the back of her 'passing' proceeded with the purchase.

It also depends, as others have already mentioned, on whether you are going to insure, as believe most companies ask for a vetting cert if you want to insure the horse over a certain value.

Touch wood we haven't vetted our last 2 purchases, and not had a problem.
 

Goldenstar

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I am always interested on these threads when people post examples of where a horse has passed a vetting and then gone lame .
It would be interesting to hear on all the horses where the vetting prevents you from buying expensive and sometimes dangerous trouble .
I'll make a list from ones I can remember .
Several 'pain across the heels 'failures probably saved me from the misery of dealing with navicular syndrome .
Fatty and the death trap heart .
Soft palate problem .
Scoliosis
Evidence of a past bout of moon blindness ( I bought it any way .. Big disaster )
Significant pain on one hock flexion ,probably a bone spavin .
Sarcoid ( I had missed it )
 
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