Insurers get tough on 'barefoot' horse claims

maisie06

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About time too. I have 2 horses in work one is shod, one is not, both are seen by a qualified farrier every 6 weeks. The unshod one has feet as hard as rock so I've no need to shoe him at the moment - I'm not barefoot taliban if he needs shoes he'll get them! But he does need a trim and balance. I have seen some horrendus "trimming" by a podiatrist when a barefoot activist was on the yard, this person charged £45 for a trim (hack) faffed around like a moron and funnily enough both horses they did always had lameness issues and really odd movement.
 

cptrayes

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You wouldn't use an unqualified vet to treat your horse then try to claim off your insurance, so why would you use someone unqualified to do your horses feet? Same principle I would of thought.
Can we get back on track BHW? The point was that the NFU have disallowed claims from people who use a qualified trimmer. Since we have at least one farrier on this forum who says he would trust a trained trimmer to have been taught more about the biomechanics of the foot than a farriery apprentice, that is worrying.
 

Goldenstar

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And equally so many don't.
That's not the issue here its lame horses that are the issue here not the sound well shod or well trimmed ones there no difference.
The NFU could say no cover for horses who are shod at more than six week intervals ( although I never let any here go more than five) and that would cut the claims down too..
I do not disaggree with the NFUs position by the way .
 

MerrySherryRider

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NFu may are just covering their backs quite rightly so, why should they pay out on a claim caused by an amateurs error!
Agree. Good for NFU.

Expect other insurance companies will follow suit, if they haven't already, as they're the ones dealing with the results of the current fad for hoofcare by these self professed 'experts'.
 

amandap

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There are four organisations in this country offering good, extensive training. I believe at least one of these runs courses which are accredited for qualified farriers Continuing Professional Development points.
Might be helpful if you could list them. I only know of two for certain, so I'd be interested in the others.
 

Goldenstar

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Agree. Good for NFU.

Expect other insurance companies will follow suit, if they haven't already, as they're the ones dealing with the results of the current fad for hoofcare by these self professed 'experts'.
And there also dealing with all the problems caused by shoes there's little difference.
 

Flame_

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I don't like this. What's next, they won't pay out for laminitis because you fed it? They won't pay out for KS because you tried a chiro? They won't pay out heel pain because the horse had shoes on? A lot of horses problems are, arguably, to some extent our fault but if people pay their premiums and do what they think is best for their horses, they should damn well be insured IMO.
 

cptrayes

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Cytrayes, sorry I misread it I tought they were refusing claims by only unqualified trimmers not all. Must put brain in gear before posting :)


No problem :)


I just wish that the FRC would get their act together and train apprentices to care for working unshod horses properly and make the trimming organisations completely unnecessary.

Trimming organisations only exist because farriery training does not teach them how to keep a hardworking horse unshod unless his Master happens to have them on his books, which most don't.
 

Goldenstar

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I don't like this. What's next, they won't pay out for laminitis because you fed it? They won't pay out for KS because you tried a chiro? They won't pay out heel pain because the horse had shoes on? A lot of horses problems are, arguably, to some extent our fault but if people pay their premiums and do what they think is best for their horses, they should damn well be insured IMO.
This is exactly where vets fees insurance is heading why should they pay out out because snuggles got laminitis because he likes grass and the owner can't take responsiblity or the horses backs damaged becaused the owner bought a saddle from eBay and slapped it on ,expect vets fees insurance to became much more difficult.
 

Flame_

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Where do you draw the line? Should they pay out if the horse gets a tendon injury because the owner went showjumping? Maybe the horse wasn't adequately fittened or booted. Maybe not.

There'll come a point where everything has some sort of exclusion or get out clause and there will be no point at all insuring. People have first horses, they make mistakes with their management due to inexperience. Are they still entitled to a payout should they need it? Maybe they shouldn't be allowed to insure at all unless they've had at least ten years experience around a range of horses? Companies can't offer horse insurance for fair fees then exclude more than they'll actually pay out for. Why single out barefoot as an excluded management option when it has done plenty of good in reducing lameness issues and could well lead to less claims in the future?
 
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criso

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Guess I'll be cancelling my policy.

After bad experiences with 4 farriers (shod and barefoot) that left my horse lame after over aggressive trimming or 'remedial farriery' and I don't mean slightly footy, I mean going from sound to unable to bear weight I use a UKNHCP qualified trimmer to give his feet the tidy he needs from time to time.

I had two years of massive claims which they paid out for foot problems when my horse was shod, since he's been barefoot my claims went down so much that they discounted my premium this year so you figure what's working best and what saves the insurance company money.
 

Luci07

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Do tend to agree with you on that. I also agree that it just makes sense that barefoot trimming is recognised and incorporated into " standard" farriers. There is a real move for farriers to keep up to date with the new thoughts in foot balance, feeding, horse confirmation and I have seen that for myself. The days of a farrier needing to make all the feet look exactly the same are going. I have seen bad farriers ruin a young horse, I have seen good farriers keep another going. I am not against barefoot at all either but done properly..!
 

Goldenstar

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Where do you draw the line? Should they pay out if the horse gets a tendon injury because the owner went showjumping? Maybe the horse wasn't adequately fittened or booted. Maybe not.

There'll come a point where everything has some sort of exclusion or get out clause and there will be no point at all insuring. People have first horses, they make mistakes with their management due to inexperience. Are they still entitled to a payout should they need it? Maybe they shouldn't be allowed to ensure at all unless they've had at least ten years experience around a range of horses? Companies can't offer horse insurance for fair fees then exclude more than they'll actually pay out for.
Well in time that's where I think it's going I think insurance for vets fees will fizzle out.
 

MrsMozart

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Hmm so it looks as though IF I want to get a very expensive NFU policy I'm goin to have to have a farrier who sometimes turns up(or doesn't),brngs his dog to bounce around dashing under my mules feet,rushes to do the job as quick as he can to whiz on to the next appointment he's late for,doesn't tell me a thing about what he's doing or move the mule around,digs it in the ribs with a file and doesn't even know that mules and donkeys are trimmed differantly to horses...I'll stick to what I've got thank you ;)
Change farriers. None of mine have ever done anything remotely like that, other than one be late on occassion (because the previous appointment people didn't have their horses in when the farrier arrived there - on time).

Mine have always explained what they do, why they are doing it, watch my horses walk up before and after, enquire as to how they've been going, etc.

Should have added: they show an interest in what the horses are fed and why, and at the moment my four neds are unshod. One had shoes for one period (six weeks) as one hoof balance suddenly went to pot - neither vet nor farrier could explain why - a set of shoes for a period and she's right as rain again and back to being unshoc all round.

As to the OP - I can understand the reasoning behind NFUs policy.
 
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muffinmunsh

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I will probably get shot down for this but I must say I agree with NFU ... Been insured with them fir years, have seen prices go up and so on. However, when push came to shove they have always paid out and without any problems. Of course they have to protect their members from claims where the problem is caused by undue care. Admittedly, it would be beneficial to also include qualified barefoot trimmers but how are they supposed to do that with no overall governing body? So, as long as that isn't sorted and no lobby for barefooters in place I am afraid it is the only way I can see them deal with the problem.
 

Goldenstar

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I will probably get shot down for this but I must say I agree with NFU ... Been insured with them fir years, have seen prices go up and so on. However, when push came to shove they have always paid out and without any problems. Of course they have to protect their members from claims where the problem is caused by undue care. Admittedly, it would be beneficial to also include qualified barefoot trimmers but how are they supposed to do that with no overall governing body? So, as long as that isn't sorted and no lobby for barefooters in place I am afraid it is the only way I can see them deal with the problem.
That's fine now how do they deal with the farriers that are costing them a fortune.
 

criso

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I will probably get shot down for this but I must say I agree with NFU ... Been insured with them fir years, have seen prices go up and so on. However, when push came to shove they have always paid out and without any problems. Of course they have to protect their members from claims where the problem is caused by undue care. Admittedly, it would be beneficial to also include qualified barefoot trimmers but how are they supposed to do that with no overall governing body? So, as long as that isn't sorted and no lobby for barefooters in place I am afraid it is the only way I can see them deal with the problem.
But your claims are going up because they paid almost up to the £5000 limit on people like me for a traditional approach to footcare which wasn't working.

If I'd gone barefoot at the start then they wouldn't have paid for much more than the initial investigations.
 

MrsMozart

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But your claims are going up because they paid almost up to the £5000 limit on people like me for a traditional approach to footcare which wasn't working.

If I'd gone barefoot at the start then they wouldn't have paid for much more than the initial investigations.

So where do you start the vetting level? £1,000 purchase price? £500?

For what it's worth, I bought a horse for £3k, no vetting with E and L. They paid out £ks in vets fees and then the purchase price when she had to be put to sleep a year after I got her; bought a horse for £5k, no vetting with NFU. They've paid out £ks in vets fees and £4k in loss of use. The second horse's issues probably wouldn't have shown up on a vetting. Plus I have heard of numerous horses that pass five stage vettings only to go lame/have an issue shortly after purchase.

I can understand that for on-going care, why NFU (and no doubt other insurance companies to come) want to go the professionally qualified route.
 

criso

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MrsMozart -I'm not saying set a vetting level or any level. The horse is question flew through a 5 stage but the foot problems I had with him were probably waiting to happen.

I'm just saying that following the route that NFU recommend cost alot more money than if I had taken an approach they don't. And by using a suitably trained trimmer I feel I am going down the professionally qualified route.

FWIW I think the issue is that there are alot of expensive diagnostics and expensive treatment with limited research and benefit that we tend to throw at horses with little thought as insurance covers it.
Vets ask are you insured and if you're not they say let's do A as it really helps, if you are insured they will say and we'll do B and C as well which we're not sure if it helps but can't do any harm and insurance is paying.
 

MrsMozart

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MrsMozart -I'm not saying set a vetting level or any level. The horse is question flew through a 5 stage but the foot problems I had with him were probably waiting to happen.

I'm just saying that following the route that NFU recommend cost alot more money than if I had taken an approach they don't. And by using a suitably trained trimmer I feel I am going down the professionally qualified route.

FWIW I think the issue is that there are alot of expensive diagnostics and expensive treatment with limited research and benefit that we tend to throw at horses with little thought as insurance covers it.
Vets ask are you insured and if you're not they say let's do A as it really helps, if you are insured they will say and we'll do B and C as well which we're not sure if it helps but can't do any harm and insurance is paying.
I'm a tad confused (it happens, I'm getting on a bit), but NFU are saying use a qualified person to take care of the horses' hooves, otherwise, if the care has not been to a professional standard by a suitably qualified person, NFU may determine that the 'sub-standard care' has contributed to the issue and therefore reserve the right not to pay out.
 

criso

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I'm a tad confused (it happens, I'm getting on a bit), but NFU are saying use a qualified person to take care of the horses' hooves, otherwise, if the care has not been to a professional standard by a suitably qualified person, NFU may determine that the 'sub-standard care' has contributed to the issue and therefore reserve the right not to pay out.
No - they are saying use a registered farrier.

There are organisations in this country do offer guidelines and offer proper training for trimmers. However although they are pushing for this there is currently no independent body to oversee them.

By choosing someone who has been through the UKNHCP training, I feel they are suitably qualified, NFU would not agee. I will move my horse to a company which is taking an active interest in the barefoot rehab route and therefore I feel will be more sympathetic to my circumstances.

Ultimately they can put choose to put any restrictions they like and I can choose to take out their insurance or not. But I think their approach is flawed and will not save them money.
 

Ollie's Mum

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Hmm so it looks as though IF I want to get a very expensive NFU policy I'm goin to have to have a farrier who sometimes turns up(or doesn't),brngs his dog to bounce around dashing under my mules feet,rushes to do the job as quick as he can to whiz on to the next appointment he's late for,doesn't tell me a thing about what he's doing or move the mule around,digs it in the ribs with a file and doesn't even know that mules and donkeys are trimmed differantly to horses...I'll stick to what I've got thank you ;)
Is that what farriers are supposed to be like? :confused: Wonder where I'm going wrong then? Mine's never missed, or been late for an appointment in over 10 years, he takes time to stand and look before he starts and is patient enough to answer any of my questions and impart useful information. He fusses my pony as we stand having a friendly chat with our tea and cake and is an all round good bloke - oh and he doesn't have a dog!

How can you tar everyone with the same brush?
 

Amaranta

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NFU are just looking for yet another way to save paying out on claims, of course.

Which would infer that they have had lots of claims because of barefoot trimmers, otherwise they would not have put in the clause.

But I completely agree with them restricting hoof care to qualified people for people who are insured with them. There are four organisations in this country offering good, extensive training. I believe at least one of these runs courses which are accredited for qualified farriers Continuing Professional Development points.

completely agree
I look forward to a more enlightened time when they refuse to pay out for huge vets fees or humane slaughter before a horse with navicular spectrum lameness has been given a proper barefoot rehab.

Hmmm I agree in principal, but I already know of one or two cases when a horse has been put down on a vets insistence, one a 4yo with OCD (never had shoes on in it's life) and another who had bone cancer, interestingly the insurer was NFU, they refused humane destruction, so I would be worried that they would just use this as an excuse not to pay out

I also look forward to a time when farriers training includes an in depth knowledge of how nutrition affects feet and requires a period in the training of a farrier who actually has hard-working barefoot horses on his books.

Would not be a bad thing tbh

And oh, let's see that pink pig fly now, when the Insurers include a clause that says all horses must have their shoes removed for 3 months of the year, like we did in the old days before there were so many diagnoses of caudal hoof lameness.
Hmmm sorry but this would never ever work, on several levels, the first being why on earth would someone whose horse is perfectly happy and sound shod be forced to go barefoot for 3 months? Despite what people say on here, there are horses who should not go unshod and it is not always down to diet either no matter how much people protest that it is - just watching that pink pig fly :)

I say good on NFU and am sure other insurers will follow their lead

ETA: I also thought that qualified trimmers would be OK, I see now that they are not. IMHO trimmers now need to be pushing to have a properly recognised and policed organisation,which will stop all the dodgy trimmers in their tracks OR they need to apply to be recognised by the WCF

 
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Lancelot

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So... my horse is referred to a very reputable business specializing in barefoot *by my vet* following months of unsuccessful treatment including remedial farriery and NFU refuse to contribute. How is that fair?
 

Goldenstar

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It is not good for horses feet to be shod without a break most farriers will tell you this this exactly why when I was young the hunters who had not brilliant shoe by our standards had less hoof trouble . The differences where
When they were in work they worked extremely hard getting lots of movement.

They where unshod from the end of march until the end of July

They where turned out on a huge moor never got fat stayed fit moving around where half fit when they came in
And funnily enough that moor will have been a very low starch diet.

I think now that the hoof boots hoots are getting so much better that there is no reason why horses in work all the year round can't do a period without shoes using boots if necessary . This is my experiment for this summer OH 's hunter shoes off now having a short holiday shoes off ten days now will start a bit of leading around next week building up to him going into light work probally with boots in April .
I think he will need shoes to hunt so he can go back into them in autumn but that long period without shoes will di him a world of good.
My vet is very enaged with seeing how this goes as a managment system as she says she sees lots of problems with year round shoeing.
 

criso

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Amaranta I don't think there are huge number of claims about horses going barefoot which has led to this and I don't think that is why they have put this clause in.

I think this has come out of a specific case of people claiming for barefoot rehab which is a tiny tiny amount in the grand scheme of their claims.

To support some cases that are going to the ombudsman they have changed their wording to registered farrier so they can say that barefoot rehab is not provided by a suitably qualified professional.

Not all insurers are taking the same view though.
 

Tinypony

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I don't know what all the excitement is about. Not all equine insurance companies make this stipulation, using the word "farrier". I suspect that, just as has happened with bitless riding, other enterprising insurance companies will pick up the lost NFU business by setting up suitably worded policies for those who use properly trained trimmers.
NFU are hardly at the forefront of providing cost-effective equine insurance that meets the needs of their customers are they?
 
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