2016 Miniature Horse WORLD Issues December 2016 Volume 32, Number 6 - Page 44

Do You Need Equine Insurance? By Melissa Powell with Debbie Martin You happily enter the barn, whistling a peppy tune. The horses all greet you with hungry nickers, wanting their evening feed as is usual. But as you open your gelding’s stall door, you realize all is not well. H is left eye is practically swollen shut and the tearing down his face warns he might have something still in it. You try to pry his eyelid up for a look but he is having none of it. With a sigh you call the vet to relay the problem and once she arrives, you get a sense the required treatment is way beyond your capabilities. One ointment 4 times a day, two others 5 to 6 times per day. No turnout, no daylight exposure…a horsekeeping nightmare! A horse in my barn recently experienced this very same malady. Eye injuries are very common with horses, especially minis, possibly because of eye placement on their heads or their natural curiosity and noseyness. Whatever the reason, horse owners find themselves in the predicament of making a life changing decision. Your horse will need extensive daily medical care for this eye injury which entails a long hospital stay, a multitude of medicines and all with an unsure outcome and a final mystery price tag. The vet suggests having the eye surgically removed as many horses adapt fairly easily to having only one field of vision. A feasible alternative, but one you can hardly fathom. After all, he’s the best horse in your barn with multiple champion titles to his credit. So you bite the bullet, load him in the trailer and he stays hospitalized six weeks. At $150 per day, plus medications. You do the math…ouch! 42 Miniature Horse World D E C E M B E R 2 0 16 Hindsight is 20/20 But what if you had the foresight to insure your prize winning horse before just such an injury? Equine health insurance has been around for many years and is proving to be an affordable safety net for even a hobbyist horse owner. If you have a Breeding Stallion you can apply the following formula: (SF X M) X 3 for established Stallions (SF X M) X 2 for young Stallions in their first or second season SF = Stud Fee / M = Average number of mares covered per season We asked the owner of Asset Equine and Ranch Insurance, Debbie Martin to evaluate our situation to see how much out of pocket expense we would have incurred had the horse been insured before he was hurt. Typically your insurance agent will start by asking the value of your horse. This can be difficult to assess if your horse was “home bred” foal. Generally you can look to insure your youngster at around twice the amount paid for the sire’s stud fee. As the horse gets older and develops through training, you can increase his value. Perhaps the most important indicator would be that if you were to sell your horse tomorrow, what would somebody pay for that horse? To establish your horse’s worth for insurance purposes, the underwriters may ask you to supply records proving the price you paid for him. They’ll also compare him with horses of similar age, breed, discipline, level of training, and competitive success in the current market. If you believe his value has increased since you purchased him, you’ll need to substantiate that with performance records and/or receipts for training fees. Before approving an application for horses worth $50,000 or more, you’ll be required to pay for a veterinary exam to prove his fitness and soundness. For horses being insured for less than $50K, you’ll be asked to complete a declaration-of-health form listing any previous illness, injuries, etc. Note: Be “up front” about your horse’s medical history. Most insurance companies will insure your horse from foaling day until age fifteen to eighteen years. (Vet certificates are re-