When you agree in principle that you'd like to buy a specific Clifton Eventer, it is usual that the horse has a veterinary examination.
Most potential purchasers are happy to take our recommendation of vet to perform this task. If you think that we would be tempted to suggest a vet that would be less than rigorous in his or her examination, please think again! We would only recommend a vet that we would (and sometimes do) use ourselves. Naturally, these are vets that specialise in horses and who therefore have the necessary experience and specialised equipment to perform the examination. Furthermore, we want your long-term trust and future business, so the last thing we want to do is to sell you a 'dodgy' horse!
Assuming you are happy to take our suggestion of vet, we would organise every aspect of the examination.
Our recommendation is that you commission the formal New Zealand pre-purchase examination, which is carried out in five stages:
- Stage 1: Preliminary Examination - horse at rest.
- Stage 2: Examination during walking, trotting, turning and backing.
- Stage 3: Examination during and immediately after strenuous exercise.
- Stage 4: Examination in period after exercise.
- Stage 5: Examination during walking, trotting, turning and backing.
Furthermore, we recommend you also have the following done:
- Radiography (x-rays) of:
- Front knees
- Front fetlocks (ankles)
- Front feet
- Any other x-ray at the vet's discretion.
- An endoscope examination at the vet's discretion or automatic on a heavier type of horse.
- A tendon scan, but only if the vet feels there is a specific reason to do so.
An electrocardiograph examination is often requested, but regrettably, this diagnostic aid has several major difficulties associated with its use, including difficulty in obtaining a trace that allows accurate interpretation and a lack of international agreement on the recording technique used. Opinions are also divided on the interpretation of a trace and the effect on a horse's performance. For these and other reasons it is suggested that electrocardiography should be used with considerable caution.
In addition, you should check with your insurance broker to see if they have any specific vetting requirements that must be satisfied before insurance cover can be granted on the horse.
If you would like more information on the veterinary examination, contact the Equine Branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association for a copy of their booklet, Examination of Horses.
The typical cost for the pre-purchase examination is around NZ$1,000 (inc. GST), including around 30 to 40 x-rays and a written report.
As most vets here now use digital x-ray equipment, it is quite easy for potential purchasers to request the x-rays and vet's report to be sent to their own vet for confirmation of findings.
After viewing the veterinary examination report and probably discussing it with your own vet, it is entirely your decision whether you consider the horse will be suitable for your needs. Please note that vets do not 'pass' or 'fail' horses at this examination, but report on their assessment of the horse's suitability for the type of work expected of it. They will not make the decision for you!
If our recommendation of veterinary examiner does not suit, you are of course free to use any vet of your choosing to perform this vital assessment. Unfortunately, the Equine Branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association is not able to provide a list of specialist horse vets.
Blood testing for specific diseases
Some countries require blood tests to provide proof that the horse is not carrying any infectious diseases (as you can see from the table, New Zealand is free from most equine diseases that are prevalent in other parts of the world). Please check to see whether there are specific tests required for your country on the country specific information page.
These blood-tests are organised by us in conjunction with the shipping company, so that you do not need to get involved. If required by the country of destination, a New Zealand MAF vet performs the appropriate blood tests three to seven days ahead of the shipping date. The cost for these tests is included in the shipping price.
The veterinary services of the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) undertake an active animal health surveillance programme for exotic diseases relevant to New Zealand. Their findings are submitted to the OIE and a summary of their report can be found on the OIE web site (2004 is the most recent data).
Please go to the MAF Biosecurity New Zealand web site if you want to search for specific information about export requirements to your country for horses, which may include disease freedom status, testing and treatments, health certification, transport and the need for permits.