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Considering a loss of use claim

Should you turn your horse out during winter

Those of you who have been following Scottie’s progress will know that it hasn’t been a smooth road and that the last MRI didn’t really show us what we wanted to see. With just under a month left to claim on this injury, I am now having to seriously consider whether to make a loss of use (LOU) claim or not.

What is Loss of Use?

If you haven’t come across loss of use before, it is essentially an extra you can add to your insurance so that if your horse develops a condition where they can no longer do the job they are used for, but are not suffering enough to be put down, you get paid your horses worth. All insurance companies offer different cover from 35% their worth to 100%.

The grim reality

While my aim is still to get Scottie back into some level of work, his chances of returning to the same level of work are fairly slim. After a frank discussion with my vet earlier this week we said that while the lameness is mild, the fact that he hasn’t really improved over a year of rest with various treatment suggests to him that it is unlikely he will return to the same level of work without future issues. While he believes there is a chance he will become sound, he feels that there will always be an underlying issue where he may go lame again with ridden work or that he will be intermittently lame. There is also a good chance that he could get worse with time and age.

In an ideal world we would give Scottie until the end of our current rehab plan after his bio injection. But unfortunately, I need to make my decision now. So while I hope the rehab plan will work and will keep trying to get him right, if I don’t make the claim now, I will never be able to.

The Pros

  • Whether or not he comes right, I will get roughly 75% of what I paid for Scottie.
  • This money could either go towards finding a new horse to ride if Scottie never comes right or could go towards vet bills if we want to do another MRI or steriod injection down the road once the insurance period is over.
  • It’s what my vet has suggested looking into.
  • I have been paying extra on my insurance all these years to have LOU, I should use it.
  • He has already had both front feet and pasterns excluded on his insurance due to this injury. So the payout could be used to manage any issues what would have been excluded on his insurance anyway.

The Cons

  • Insuring horses with LOU claims can be difficult. From what I understand it sounds a bit like Veteran cover where they are only really covered for accidents. I don’t have bags of money set aside for vet fees, so I would still like as much cover as possible.
  • I’m not sure what the rules are about riding and competing if they do come sound with time. While never being able to compete in anything even if sound wouldn’t be the end of the world, it would be nice to know that he could still go and do an intro dressage test or similar if he was capable of doing so.
  • Scottie would have to be freeze marked with an L. Which just seems a bit mean and while it really isn’t a big deal, I don’t like the idea of it at all!

Waiting on my insurance

I am currently really struggling with what to do for the best. But since my vet has recommended putting a claim in, I feel like that is the smart thing to do. I have also heard stories from people who have had LOU put on their horses who eventually came sound and went on to have ridden jobs. So I have sent a list of questions to my insurance company to get some more information on what sort of cover I can expect afterwards and what the deal is if he does come right with time. Hopefully I will get this information back ASAP and I can make my decision this week as I am running out of time.

If any of you have any experience with insuring and riding a horse with a LOU claim I would love to hear from you. As I think my biggest issue is, if I claim and can’t have decent insurance afterwards, I don’t know if I can guarantee Scottie the best care.

Last Updated on 14/01/2022

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