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Your Horse column – Importance of having a horse vetted

Q – Do you think it’s important to get a horse vetted before purchase?

I’m buying from a friend and finding it difficult to ask for the horse to be vetted – what should I do?

A – It is extremely important to ensure that you have a horse vetted prior to purchase. Within our practice we regularly have enquiries from individuals that have purchased a horse without having had it vetted and want to know their legal rights in relation to whether or not they can return the horse when problems arise.

Unless a person has misled you as to the health of the horse that they are selling a buyer in a private sale would have no recourse. Further, misled does not mean merely staying silent as to a known problem that the horse has – the seller would actually have had to mislead you and you would have to be able to prove that in order to make a successful claim for misrepresentation. As such it is vital that you have a horse vetted to ensure as far as is possible that you are not going to run into problems.

A veterinary examination is not expensive when compared to the potential vet bills that could be incurred by failing to proceed with the same. Further the cost of keeping a horse that cannot be ridden can be extremely frustrating when you are told that a veterinary examination could have avoided this.

If the vet misses something that he should have spotted on a veterinary examination you would potentially have a case for professional negligence. We have dealt with such matters and as such we would always advise that you ensure that the horse is vetted by a specialist equine vet.

In relation to the difficulties that you are experiencing in raising the issue with your friend I would simply explain to her that buying a horse is a big decision and you need to be sure that there are not any underlying health problems that she is unaware of. Explain that the vetting will give you peace of mind. By asking for a vetting you are not accusing the owner of being dishonest in any way.

PDF Document: Importance of having a horse vetted.pdf

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