Monday, March 7, 2016


I’m a little stressed right now, but let’s start with the good things first.

Work sent me to Denver, Colorado last week for a training conference so it was nice to visit a different state for the first time. I had a couple of close friends living in Colorado Springs so I flew out early and spent the weekend with them before heading back north for work things.

Highlight of the trip was the hiking in Garden of the Gods in beautiful mid 60-degree weather and being the tourist scrambling over rocks to get pictures of everything. It turns out there were guided trail rides through the park but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time...

Travel time to from NJ and CO was about 12 hours door-to-door so I was wiped out when I got home Thursday afternoon and dead tired when I rolled into work on Friday morning. My introverted side was begging for respite so I was really looking forward to solitude and trail time with the mareface this weekend.

We had a fantastic 12 mile solo ride at race pace. Quest had zero problems at the "sticky" sections that she sometimes balks/gives hairy eyeball at. She was feeling good and ready for more at the end. Ride went super well, so well that I don't have much to say about it asides from this mare is awesome and so very forgiving when her newbie owner makes dumb mistakes.

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What do I do want to talk about is what happened before our ride. J and B showed up right after me when I arrived at the barn so I let Quest have her breakfast before tacking up.  We chatted about tentative ride schedule first and then J brought up the topic of insurance as something to consider since Quest and I would be actively competing in an inherently dangerous activity with a lot of risks involved.

When I first got Quest, I entered into ownership knowing I wouldn’t put her through serious colic surgery and was also well aware of the costs in putting a horse down when the time arose. I have funds set aside for emergencies and a good line of credit so I feel set for the most part.

I haven’t yet needed to think about insuring my horse for risk until now.

My work benefits package included personal/family insurance so I admit to being unversed in this topic. I need to do some reading first to answer the basic questions like “Should I get insurance?” and “What should I be looking for in an insurance package?” I know there is always the risk of something happening at an endurance ride but I don't know what the best plan for me would be.  J gave me Blue Bridle as an option to consider so my next step after doing some self-study would be to call up someone at the company to have them talk me through what it entails.

Maybe if I just leave Quest in a field, she'll stay out of trouble....haha, yeah right. She is trying to prove me wrong with her latest escapade by somehow scraping an entire layer of skin (the size and width of my hand) off her leg while out in pasture…She is totally sound, but still ugh. Why do you do this, mare?

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Cute mareface modeling her new cooler is just clever distraction.
Anyways, I'm very interested in hearing what other people have decided to do...If you actively compete with your horses, what do you do? Do you have insurance? If so, with what company and what has worked/not worked?


  1. After my mare required emergency surgery this past summer, I looked into insurance. I eventually decided not to go through with getting insurance. For me, the benefit wasn't worth the added expense since even if they had paid for the entire surgery and subsequent visits, I still would have paid out more in premiums over the years than they would have reimbursed for that injury. There is a lot of fine print with insurance, so make sure you read the plan carefully. In the end, it will be what works best for you.

    1. Sara, I'm not sure what insurance you looked into, but Lily's first soft tissue injury ($3,000 cost total; insurance paid $2500 of that) was nearly the equivalent of 10 years of premiums. (I pay $300 per year). Grace, I'm working on my comment. :) Will post it tonight.

    2. When I looked into it, it wasn't worth it for me. Everyone is different and has different thresholds.

    3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Guess the bottom line is no matter what I route I go, I have to do my due diligence and read up about what I can afford.

  2. Gingham at Pia's Parade had a good post about equine insurance

    1. Ah okay thanks for the heads up, I got linked to the posts in another comment and will be reading

  3. You know what I'm going to tell you. ;) Get the insurance. It's only around $300-$500 per YEAR! Don't stress about it: there really is nothing to stress about! The only reason why I didn't have it with previous horses was #1: one horse was too old to qualify. #2: The other came to me with major medical issues that would have been excluded from the get-go. I changed that with Lily: having her hauled 1200 miles north 3 years ago was the catalyst, and she has stayed insured because the insurance paid for itself for 10 years after her first incident where I needed it. She has stayed insured because:
    1. Thoroughbred cross
    2. Incidents that would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars: covered. She has received care that would have been completely out of my reach without insurance to cover it. In fact, without insurance, I'm pretty sure she might have ended up permanently crippled or euthanized after her hitching post saga last summer because I would have had to have had it taken care of at the barn.
    3. Because we compete in one of the most dangerous equestrian sports, second only to eventing. Liz got Q insured 2 years ago after she stabbed herself in the stifle so deeply she had to be rushed to Leesburg on emergency to have the wound taken care of. This happened while competing at No Frills while walking down a technical section of trail. At the *walk.*

    The most important thing: get the insurance BEFORE you have a problem that it won't cover later. Like colic.

    Even if you have a high limit credit card for medical emergencies: get the insurance. It will help pay off the card!

    I have The Hartford through Broadstone. Broadstone and Markel are considered the best in the industry, with Broadstone being the best for horses owned by "little people" (aka amateurs that don't own horses in the 5 figures and up!) and Markel being the best for high value horses. Markel will cover a lot more of the truly high tech stuff that you only get a discount with through Broadstone's insurance, but with Markel your horse is insured for its purchase value: I was literally laughed at by the Markel rep I spoke to when I told her I had bought Lily for $1.

    Meanwhile, Broadstone allows you to insure a horse for its purchase price + competition record + training record. You decide how much that value is; Broadstone won't contest it until the value creeps into the 5-digits. At my rep's recommendation, I tallied up what I had spent on Lily between lessons and my own training rates (what I would charge per hour when training other people's horses) and insured her for that amount: $1200 at the time. This is the amount of money I would get if she were to die. This is your mortality coverage. Major medical and surgical is additional to that: you can get up to $10,000 with The Hartford. Lily is covered up to $7,500 for major medical & surgical for the year.

    I pay just over $300 per year for Lily's mortality + major medical & surgical.

    The fine print isn't that fine: my recommendation is to get a quote from Broadstone for the value you want Quest to have + the major medical & surgical coverage you want. If it's within your budget, call them/e-mail them and talk to a broker about specific coverages. The Broadstone folks are SUPER friendly and approachable, and they respond promptly to e-mails (usually on the same day!)

    1. Once you are assigned an insurance agency (like The Hartford, in Liz's and my case), claims are handled directly by them. This is SO EASY: each time I've had a major incident, I've called either their regular phone number or their after hours number, been able to talk to a PERSON, and have had the paperwork in my e-mail in minutes. They take care of sending it to the vets involved with the case. Most vets are good about filling the paperwork out and sending it back to the insurance company. Once I have my first bill/invoice, I fax it to The Hartford with my claim number and within 2-3 days there is a check in my mailbox. They have always been absolutely wonderful to deal with.

      Catches with The Hartford: they don't cover farm calls nor exam fees (most equine and pet insurance doesn't), but they cover everything else like x-rays, ultrasounds, surgeries, and medications required during the medical issue they are covering. Some of the more high-tech, specialized treatments like PRP, IRAP, and shockwave, for example, are covered at a discount. (I think they cover 60% of shockwave therapy, for example.) That said, they would have covered 100% of Lily's anesthesia and surgery if she had required it for the removal of her fractured splint bone this past summer.

      What insurance does NOT cover: your routine stuff, like vaccines and dental floatings. I think they would cover advanced dental care (like if the horse had an abscess in a tooth) but not your regular maintenance care. Most pet insurance doesn't cover this regardless. And you don't have to report every single little thing that happens with Quest. I have only claimed the major stuff, like Lily's ligament injury, the fractured splint bone, and the degloving injury on her head. Between those 3 incidents, The Hartford has covered more than $10,000. That's more than what I'll spend in premiums for the rest of her life.

      I think it's well worth having. Especially working in the veterinary field and seeing so many animals euthanized because their owners couldn't afford the care that would have saved their pets. For the record: equine insurance covers more and is less expensive than insurance for cats and dogs!

      So that's my 2 cents on the subject. :)

    2. Gingham's insurance posts:

      She goes into a lot of detail about Loss of Use coverage, which I wouldn't consider for a "little horse": Gingham was importing a warmblood from overseas so she was looking into the highest level of coverage possible. Not all equine insurance agencies cover Loss of Use, and several of the ones that do will only do so if the horse is worth more than a certain amount.

      Still very interesting reads, both posts!

    3. Thanks for sharing your experience Saiph, I appreciate all the info! Liz shared her binder with me earlier this morning so between the two of you I'm starting to feel a lot more at ease about the whole thing. Hope you don't mind me following up with some questions later once I do some reading!

  4. i don't know how insurance works in the states... and i probably don't know a lot about it in ontario, canada either since i've never needed it BUT, i do hear stuff through the grapevine and it seems that if you obtain membership through our provincial federation (OEF), there is opportunity to get insurance for whatever it is you're looking for either as a rider/owner or a business owner. perhaps that's a route that you could look into in the US?

    1. Yeah, there is a liability insurance for members who pay extra for their membership with AERC, but it doesn't cover medicial so I've looked into a couple other companies instead. Of course I never want to have to make a claim...and I've made do without insurance for the past year and half though admittly it was something I thought about from time to time. Endurance rides can get pretty crazy, especially given this is our first full compeitive season and there are so many unknown factors for us's better safe than sorry.