The Farrier and Pre-Purchase Exams

Give some thought to how you’ll respond if you’re asked to give an opinion of a horse’s feet before a sale

Imagine you arrive at a barn and a client asks you to look over the feet of a horse he or she is thinking about buying. How do you respond? If you don’t know, you should probably start thinking about it before the question does comes up. 

Pre-purchase exams are the norm for high-end athletic horses, and are becoming increasingly common for sales of less expensive horses. While pre-purchase exams are conducted for the most part by equine veterinarians, more and more farriers may find that they are asked to participate as well.

 An equine veterinarian and an experienced farrier, who co-moderated a Hoof-Care Roundtable on the topic during the 2013 International Hoof-Care Summit, shared their thoughts on these exams. 

Farrier Expertise Wanted

“Obviously, the farrier has the greatest expertise in the foot and the foot is the number one cause of lameness in the horse,” says Frank Reilly, an equine veterinarian from West Chester, Pa. “More and more owners are going to say I’d like to have my farrier look at this horse, too.”

But if asked, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Reilly points out that pre-purchase exams come in high on the list of liability problems for equine veterinarians.

Reilly suggests it’s best to have the farrier as part of an evaluation team that also includes the vet, the seller and the perspective buyer.

“The ideal thing is to have the vet, farrier, owner and buyer all at the same place for the exam,”…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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