Owning a horse can be a great joy, whether you are a happy hacker or an events champion. Unfortunately though, our horses can fall ill and need expensive veterinary care when we least expect it and riding accidents do happen. That's why you have Petplan Equine horse insurance, it can help take away the financial worries and gives you peace of mind, so that you can focus on getting your horse and you back to the best of health.
We receive thousands of letters each year from customers who want to share their horse insurance experiences and we've published a handful of their stories here. If you have a tale to tell about your own experience with Petplan Equine's horse insurance, Veteran Insurance or our Rider Plan why not send us the details?
Back to his old self again, thanks to Petplan Equine
Some of our customers were kind enough to share their experiences with us in person. Just click on the story you'd like to view.
Winston - 40 but not out
At the grand old age of 40 Winston, a Welsh X, 13.2hh chestnut is the oldest horse or pony currently insured by specialist UK equine insurance provider, Petplan Equine.
Winston originally came to Oxfordshire-based Alyson Bateman on permanent loan from animal charity, Blue Cross as a spritely, safe and sound 21 year old first pony for her two daughters Courtney, three and Emma six now 21 and 24 respectively.
Alyson knows little of Winston’s previous life other than he was clearly well schooled and is reputed to have been a Prince Phillip Cup pony prior to arriving at Blue Cross for rehoming.
“He taught the girls to ride and they loved him to pieces spending many happy hours hacking and jumping at home and taking him to shows” says Alyson. “He inspired a lifelong love of horses in both of my daughters; Courtney at 21 still rides.”
Today, although Winston enjoys a slightly more sedate life, he has certainly not retired completely which may account in part for his love of life. “Winston also provides valuable input into the life of my disabled, four year old grand daughter Layla and her two year old brother Jason. He laps up all the brushing, feeding and attention and is still very happy to be ridden by them even accepting Layla sitting on him with her casts and completely un-phased by her wheelchair – he is very kind with the children.”
At 40 bringing pleasure to children is not his only job - Winston is also a super confidence giver to young horses. “Just last weekend Winston went out on the lead with a young horse” explained Alyson. So is giving him a job the secret to his longevity? “It probably has a lot to do with it as well as applying a bit of common sense and good management” answers Alyson matter-of-factly. “He’s dropped a bit more condition this winter than we would have liked, but if he comes back well in the spring then we will get him out to a couple of little shows as he really likes to get out and about, which is one of the reasons we have insurance with Petplan Equine” she explained. “It provides peace of mind and of course third-party liability cover should we have an accident.”
With well-worn teeth, Cushings disease and a bout of laminitis two years ago, Winston has to be carefully managed although Alyson insists he is no trouble. “He prefers to live out but over the winter months, particularly this year while it has been so wet, Winston is stabled each night. We feed him soaked Speedibeet, soft oat chaff, Readigrass, barley rings and special veteran supplement and he is wormed strategically to avoid any unnecessary upset to his gut” she explains. Never shod, Alyson says he has fantastic feet that she has trimmed regularly. “I take my responsibility as an owner of an old horse very seriously. He is still charging around and content to be handled and ridden but as soon as he is no longer sound and happy, he will let us know” believes Alyson.
For now, nineteen years on from their first meeting, Winston, who was not gelded until the age of seven, has maintained his place as the Alfa male head of the herd, one for the ladies and a vocal contributor to life on the yard. Described as opinionated and sometimes grumpy with adults but always kind and gentle with children, he certainly sounds like he is making the most of his active twilight years as he has everyone wrapped around one of those well-trimmed hooves.
Thanks to the vet, a family's beloved horse has come back to good health after three serious injuries.
When 14-year-old Lucinda Cashen outgrew her pony, her mother Heather spent £10,000 on Lily, a six-year-old show-jumping Dutch Warmblood of 16hh. From Autumn 2006, Lucinda rode Lily at many events, winning prizes at Hickstead and Patchetts.
However, at Arena UK in 2007, Lily wasn't herself - her stride had shortened up. She had medial collateral ligament damage. 'I called Petplan Equine, who we had arranged our horse insurance with, the next day and they were so sympathetic and knowledgeable,' says Heather. Despite three shock-wave treatments and several expensive Cartrophen injections, the Cashens saw no progress. 'We thought she might be able to do dressage one day, but were sure her jumping career was over.' Lily was kept in her stable for six weeks and walked out once a week.
Then, six months later, Heather spotted her playing in the field and doing an extended trot downhill! The vet confirmed she had healed.
Then, in March 2009, Lily panicked while she was being transported in a horsebox on the motorway. 'She was throwing herself on the floor. The incident closed both sides of the M23,' says Heather. Lily was successfully treated for a broken splint bone, damaged neck muscles and travel trauma, and we once again turned to our trusty horse insurance policy to cover us.
But, just 10 days later, disaster struck again. 'One morning, she couldn't put any weight on one of her feet. The yard manager told me she had removed a screw from her foot the day before. But when the farrier took off her shoe and we saw the hole in her frog, I called our vet immediately,' explains Heather. Lily had injured her pedal bone - the vet needed to keep her in for two weeks and do bone scraping to stop any infection spreading. 'If the hole had been 2mm deeper, it could have been disastrous,' says Heather. Lily was discharged with a dressing and plate on her foot to keep the wound clean, and orders for six weeks' box rest.
'We knew Lily was feeling better the day someone left the gate open and she took herself over several of the jumps,' laughs Heather. Lucinda was soon jumping her beloved horse again. Heather smiles: 'I'm so grateful for Petplan Equine's horse insurance policy and their support throughout. The process was quick and there were no quibbles over claims. I believe Petplan Equine insurance is the choice for serious owners.'
This has been a very interesting year for Miss White and her horse Luke. It seems Luke is determined to ensure he stays with his current owner, despite all the odds.
'After a serious fall at the end of last year which broke my collar bone, I had to have surgery to insert a metal plate to support the joint. My confidence was shattered after the fall. Slowly I got back into riding Luke, until one day he managed to get not only me off but a few other friends who tried to help too! I was so upset, I thought the best thing for us both was to loan Luke out (as I didn't want to sell him) to someone who could manage him and let him do what he enjoys doing, including jumping.
Finding a suitable family for Luke proved to be trickier than anticipated; car problems were frequently to blame. My search for another horse proved equally disastrous.
Soon after all these complications, I was travelling to the yard and looked in the field as I drove past and noticed Luke wasn't there. As I drove around the corner, there stood Luke with a crowd of people around him. From where I was, all I could see was blood on the ground. As I approached I noticed the blood was coming from a nasty leg wound.
Luckily, one of the liveries at the yard is a vet nurse so she had bandaged his leg up and called the vet. The vet arrived on the scene, assessed Luke and informed me he had severed an artery in his hind leg. It took several months of box rest before it healed. The cause of the injury remains a mystery to this day.
It came to my mind and many others' that after everything we had been through, it was all a sign that Luke had to stay. I had never owned a horse before so this was my first horse insurance claim; it was so great that Petplan Equine made everything so simple and easy with no hassle.
A few months later, another call was made to the vet. Luke had a deep hole on the inside of the same leg. Again he was on box rest. After another call to Petplan Equine a claim form was sent out; a week later it was paid. I was very impressed with how friendly, quickly and easily Petplan Equine made this and would recommend their insurance to anyone!'
Joe suffered a severe bout of colic which had to be surgically corrected; the intestine had become tangled around the spleen, causing Joe severe discomfort.
He had to spend 7 days in hospital and needed lots of checks following that. However, we were lucky that Joe made an exceptional recovery. The vets were surprised at how quickly he gained condition and was able to continue a happy life.
Petplan Equine and everyone involved in his treatment were amazing, I couldn't have asked for better treatment. When I called Petplan Equine they were really sympathetic. The person I spoke to had a horse that had suffered from colic and she left me feeling reassured. Petplan Equine's impressive service helped me through an extremely distressing time.