Pre-Purchase Exams

At the Equine All-Sports Medicine Center, a pre-purchase examination will go beyond simply determining the status of the horse’s health at that moment. Because each equestrian discipline has its own specific demands, a “risk-analysis” prediction of the horse’s ability to perform and hold up in a specific branch of equestrian sport is a useful tool in planning. A pre-purchase examination can be used as a baseline for comparision in future preventive check ups or if lameness problems occur later on.

Each pre-purchase exam will start with an comprehensive clinical exam, which will be the basis for any further exam modality like X-rays and ultrasound.

At each step in the process of the pre-purchase exam we will communicate the results of the exam and our advise for the next step. This means, you will be in charge of every step of the exam and can make decisions about eventually taking X-rays and how many, performing an ultrasound, running blood tests, etc, and not make costs you did not anticipate.

Because Dr van Wessum is one of the certified veterinarians for the Dutch Breeding Organization KWPN, he can make X-rays that can be used for breeding certification when needed for the KWPN and the Frisian Breeding Association.

Being from the Netherlands and experienced in pre-purchase exams of European Warmblood horses and Friesians, Dr van Wessum can bring specific expertise about horses from Europe to the table in his pre-purchase exam.

Especially for higher level (and quite often higher priced) dressage horses from Europe it can be very useful to have a veterinarian from Europe with specific expertise in dressage horses perform your pre-purchase exam!


We will start any pp with an interview, to completely understand your needs. When you come to us as a client for a pp, we want to know exactly what you are going to expect from your new friend and athlete.

Knowing your expectations helps us to pinpoint the limitations of the horse that is examined, and to determine if these limitations will interfere with your expectations.

As you can imagine, that means we as the vet need to know more than just the veterinary requirements for an exam … Our background as riders, trainers and judge helps us to put the information we get out of the veterinary exam into perspective!

Clinical exam:

We will start the pp with a complete physical exam. During this exam, we will find out the points of interest, the regions that need special attention. After the clinical exam, we will have an evaluation discussion with you, the client, to make a plan for the next phase of the exam. This staged schedule assists us in making directed decisions, we will not complete an complete physical and radiological exam and then, at the end, tell you there are issues with the horse.. This will reduce the costs of a pp enormously when problems are encountered, you do not have to pay for a complete exam when at the first instance, when we make some X-rays of a region of interest, it is clear the horse is not the right horse for you.


Making good quality X-rays means experience is needed. To make X-rays that are of the proper quality, with the right angle and exposure, you need to do that a lot!

We get on a daily basis X-rays to review for our clients, and very often we can not make a proper diagnose from these Xrays because of technical errors…

In an upcoming post on our FB page we will show some X-rays of poor quality and show you the differences! Just keep visiting our page!

Additional diagnostics:

Sometimes things show up an a pp that need more diagnostics, like an ultrasound exam for a tendon issue, or endoscopic exam of the upper airways or the throat of the horse. We will discuss our findings at the clinical exam with you and make plans for the additional diagnostics.

Final conclusion:

When we have performed the complete exam (physical, radiographs and additional diagnostics), we will sit down with you and report our findings. They will be written down in a standard report.

We will give you advise how to proceed with this horse, and how to take care of minor issues we found during our exam. Very often abnormal findings during an exam are not limiting for your goals with the horse, you just need some assistance in how to deal with them. That is where our background as professional horsemen is setting us apart from many veterinarians!


What does this all cost? A complete clinical exam at our facility is $450, all included.

For X-rays for a pp we charge $50 per view, a digital endoscopic exam adds $150 to your bill.