Ummm, :roll: You've kind of got me on that one. To be honest for me it depnds on whom I'm buying from and how much.
For instance my welsh section A pony, I bought from a family who had bought him as a youngster, and I bought him in a sorry state at the age of 8yrs, was skinny, had previously had laminitis, and his feet and teeth were terrible. I paid £950 ($1800) for him, didn't have him vetted. Just brought him home, felt that sorry for him. And I have to add, he's perfect with my 4yr old daughter. Had him about a year now, and he's picture of health.
Where as Meg, she was 5 stage vetted. I paid £3500 ($6750) for her. She looked well, but I had to make sure with her, as she was costing so much. And not only that over here in the UK most insurance companies, if you want to insure a horse for over £2500 ($4700) you need to have a vets certificate.
If I knew the person I was purchasing from, or they came highly recommended, I don't suppose I would be so eager to have the full vetting. Probably just a three stage. I'm kind of a trusting person, either that or terribly gullable!
But then there are many underhanded/devious people buying and selling horses now, I would recommend a vetting. With Willow (pony) I think I was just that eager to get him away from there, I let it cloud my judgement. Wouldn't change it though. :)