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Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

How to Examine a Horse at an Auction

    When a purchase examination cannot be performed by a qualified equine veterinarian, follow these guidelines for examining a horse at an auction:

    • Stand back and observe the horse first. What is the horse’s appearance and attitude?
    • Next, look at the general body condition, haircoat, foot quality, and muscle development. These observations should give you an idea of the general health of the horse, indicating the type of care that the horse has received. Is the horse’s weight appropriate for his or her size and frame? Is the horse’s muscle development normal and equal on both sides of the body? These qualities indicate the amount of exercise and training the horse has received recently.
    • Examine the horse from nose to tail. Note any areas that are swollen or warm compared with other parts of the body. Run your hand down all four legs and compare the appearance and feel of the left legs with the right legs. You may detect a bowed tendon or a fluid-filled knee that may later develop arthritis in the joint. Try to test each joint for flexibility.
    • Lastly, watch the horse move, including walking, trotting, and cantering. Is the horse comfortable when moving? Or are the ears pinned and is the tail switching? Is there a head bob, suggesting lameness? Does the horse make a louder-than-normal breathing noise? If possible, observe the horse when he or she is saddled. This will provide information about the horse’s soundness and attitude as well as help you decide whether the horse is suited to your level of riding experience.