When buying a horse, many buyers ask for an equine pre-purchase exam. This serves to identify any preexisting problems which may hinder a horse's future performance and reduce buyer risk. The inspection consists of a very thorough examination and if the buyer opts may include x-rays, blood work, etc. If the horse must be sedated though, that authorization must come from the current owner.
Who Pays For the Exam?
Typically the person who is going to be buying the horse pays for the pre-purchase exam. This means that all discoveries and medical findings discovered during this exam belong to that client.
Is It Confidential?
A pre-purchase exam in its most basic terms is a business deal between two individuals. There are typically no personal feelings and confidentiality is an unwritten rule. If a horse is discovered to be lame it is very unprofessional and taboo to smear that horse's name across the community or internet. Also keep in mind that it is the seller's decision to release medical records to the buyer and the buyer's responsibility to inquire so.
Who Performs the Exam?
Ideally an impartial vet should perform the pre-purchase exam so that relationships are not a factor. A veterinarian who does not have a relationship with the client and patient has nothing to lose or gain in the event the horse is not sold, or vice versa.