The Whole Horse Exam™

The Whole Horse Exam™

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Competently Perform Basic Skills

Share Your Findings and Concerns with Your Veterinarian

The Whole Horse Exam™ (WHE) is a collection of skills that all horse owners and equine professionals should be able to perform on their horse. These skills include taking basic vital signs and assessing other health indicators. The WHE should become as natural to you as catching or riding your horse.


When you want to generally assess the state of your horse’s health, simply perform this exam. By practicing the WHE on your horse when they are healthy, you are better equipped to confidently perform the WHE when you suspect that your horse has a healthcare problem. By sharing your findings with your veterinarian, you will assist them in determining the nature and severity of any problem or illness.

The Whole Horse Exam™ – Know Your Horse in Health
WHE Form Image
The WHE includes assessing your horse’s general attitude and demeanor, appetite, temperature, pulse/heart rate and quality, respiratory rate and quality, mucous membrane color and capillary refill time, skin pinch assessment for hydration, assessment for heat and digital pulse in feet, and intestinal sounds.  Taking the time to evaluate your horse’s face, eyes, legs, body condition, coat, skin, feet, soles and legs also yields valuable information. 


Part of this exam involves touching your horse as much you can, especially the areas you don’t evaluate normally, such as the belly or under their mane. In addition, a simple evaluation of your horse in movement at the walk is very helpful to identify stiffness & lameness. After you perform the WHE, write down your findings on the Whole Horse Exam Form and share it with your vet.

Note: Each of the individual skills that are contained in the WHE are taught separately within HSVG, which contains detailed procedural summaries, tips for safety and success, and several related videos on the How-To Videos page.

Todo Examen del Caballo en Español – Conocer Su Caballo en la Salud

WHE Form Image Spanish


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