Tag Archives: horse vet in North East

Horse insurance – cheapest isn’t always best

Finding the right horse insurance…..Not an easy task!

I have just recently bought a new horse and as he hopefully will keep me going for quite a few years decided that he needed to be insured, so I spent the week leading up to his collection trawling the internet for quotes and this really did open my eyes.

This is despite working or years at equine vets including Simply Horses Vet Clinic and dealing with lots of insurance claims.

The first main thing I found was to “read the small print” and I might add with some companies the small print was VERY small indeed, bring out the magnifying glass. What at first glance seemed a really good deal on further reading really was not! There were lots of exclusions to the policies and I mean lots, some didn’t have fixed excess instead it was a percentage of the claim, which if your horse needed surgery for whatever then I would have ended up with a hefty bill at the end which was the whole point of insuring my horse in the first place, some had limited pay out for diagnostics, some even only paid for the initial vet visit and no follow up treatment what so ever, what good was that?

As veterinary fees have risen there has been an increase in “budget” insurance policies which seem to give the minimum cover, so although the premiums are cheaper this may not be cost effective in the long run.

Most of the larger insurance companies that specialise in equine cover had very easy to navigate sites and I was able to tailor my cover to my needs, what activities I was going to use this new horse for, did I want remedial shoeing covered, complementary treatments and the extra cost of bedding if he had to be on box rest this all went into the mix and of course public liability is included on most of the larger companies which is peace of mind when out hacking if you end up in the awful situation of damaging a vehicle.

Another good pointer is speak to your horsey friends and ask who they use and what it covers, also ask your vet for advise although they are not allowed to “push” a specific company they will tell you the names of companies that offer good cover. There are discounts to pick up too if you make a one off payment instead of monthly, I managed a bit more discount as I already had my vehicle and trailer insured with them there is no harm asking what discounts are to be had.

Happy Simply horses clients, confident with their insurance

Happy Simply horses clients, confident with their insurance


So in a nutshell

• Can you afford not to insure your horse?
• Cheaper isn’t always best
• Insure for your needs
• Read the small print
• Go with an equine specialist

I learnt a lot from my hours spent looking but it was time well spent, I know I have the best cover for my horse for the activities I intend to do.

New research into suspensory ligament injuries in dressage horses

At Simply Horses we see our fair share of suspensory ligament injuries, the following article is very informative regarding research why dressage horse may suffer more than most.

Suspensory ligament injuries are relatively common in dressage horses, but there is little scientific information available on their causes. A recent study by researchers at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. examined the possible link between movement patterns at the collected and extended trot, and risk for suspensory ligament injuries.

Scientists used a high-speed camera to capture four Warmbloods working in collected and extended trot on three different surfaces. Each horse wore brushing boots fitted with inertial motion sensors and markers at five points on the hind legs to aid in video analysis.

The results demonstrated that when horses performed the collected trot across all three surfaces tested, there was a decrease in speed and stride length (measured in metres) but an increase in stride duration (measured in seconds) compared to extended trot.

Conversely, in the extended trot, horses showed an increase in flexion of the hock and extension of the fetlock when the limb was in contact with the ground. This suggests that there might be more strain placed on the suspensory ligament at extended trot compared to the collected trot, the team relayed. The authors suggested that this could be because the horse is moving over a greater distance at a greater speed at extended trot, increasing relative protraction and retraction of the hind limb, putting more strain on the soft tissue structures of the leg.

This might be particularly problematic for young horses in dressage training, as there is industry pressure for these horses to demonstrate extended paces–particularly if they are extravagant movers–but these young animals might not have sufficient muscular strength to support this movement, the team relayed.

“They key aspect in terms of young horses is to ensure that they are trained slowly and correctly to build up core muscle strength and not pushed to demonstrate extravagant paces before they have the strength through their body to support their limbs,” said Vicki Walker, BSc, MSc and study author. “Any new exercises should be introduced slowly and only undertaken for very short periods initially.”

For all dressage horses, it’s important to ensure the surface you ride on is level and stable, as other studies suggest that the gait of the horse is influenced by characteristics of the surface and that certain characteristics can increase the risk of injury. These could be exacerbated when the horse is working on a new surface, as it is likely to be less coordinated and tire more easily, the team said

“In order to protect horses from overload injury, it is important to avoid spending too long in any single exercise and not to repeat any single exercise too many times, especially when the horse is becoming tired,” said Walker. “At the extended trot in particular, there may be considerable forces on the limbs, so it is important that the horse is coordinated … it may be safer to avoid performing extended trot when a horse is getting tired at the end of a session.

It Should Not Happen to a SimplyHorses Vet

Well quick post at the end of another bank holiday Monday, some interesting cases including live set of twins and unfortunately a difficult foaling with dead foal. One of the twins is very weak so lots of nursing a some luck may see us through. In 26 years I have seen 2 sets of twins make it to adulthood, though both sets were always small 😉

I also saw a horse that had had a lucky escape with lots of deep wounds but non life threatening. It never ceases to amaze me how horses can damage themselves, reminds me of talking to a American vet who related the tale, of coming out one day to find his mare with all 4 feet off the ground impaled on a wooden fence post. He could see this post as a bulge under the skin on her back!! Once the post was cut and the mare back with all 4 feet on the ground, the post was removed and the mare never looked back!!! The post had run up the side of her abdomen under the skin and not penetrated any important structures, intestines, peritoneal cavity etc 😉 As he said it could only happen to a vet.


Horse Terminology

Event Prospect = Big Fast Lively Horse
Dressage Prospect = Big Slow Horse
Hack Prospect = Pretty Colour
Endurance Prospect = Fast Horse which will turn sometimes
Has raced = Not very fast
Flashy = White Socks
Attractive = Pretty colour
15.2hh = 14.3hhh
16.2hh = 15.3hh
To Loving Home = Very Expensive
To Show Home Only = Extremely Expensive
Needs Experienced Rider = Potentially Lethal
Elegant = Thin
In Good Condition = Fat
Free Moving = Bolts
Quiet = Lame in Both Front Legs
Dead Quiet = Lame in All Four Legs
Good in Traffic (Bombproof) = Lame all Round, Deaf and Blind
Loves Children = Kicks and Bites
Pony Type = Small and Hairy
Arab Type = Looks startled and Flighty
TB Type = Looks Terrified
Warmblood Type = Big and built like a bodybuilder
Draught Type = Big and Exceedingly Hairy
Easy to Catch = Very Old
Must Sell = Wife has left home and taken kids
All Offers Considered = I am in Traction for 6 months

Nine Ways To Get In Shape To Own A Horse

  1. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout “Get off,stupid! Get off!”
  2. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice “Relaxing into the fall”. Roll lithely into a ball, and spring to your feet!
  3. Learn to grab your cheque book out of your purse/pocket and write out a £100 cheque without even looking down.
  4. Jog long distances carrying a head collar and holding out a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbours what you're doing. Panama . They might as well know now.
  5. Fix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling it to a halt. And smile as if you are really having fun.
  6. Hone your fibbing skills. “See darling moving hay bales is fun!” and ” I'm glad your lucky performance and multi-million pound horse won you first place – I'm just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place”.
  7. Practice dialing your chiropractors number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder, and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.
  8. Lie face down in the mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself: “This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience…”
  9. Marry Money!

Equine Vet Returns To The Internet

Hello and welcome back after a long summer doing equine locum work at Bearl Equine and one day per week at Capontree I am back on the blog trail and updating what is happening in my life. As ever all things podiatry related fascinates me and this recent thread on an Equine Vets Forum led to a brilliant description of the standard Natural balance trim. This is in my opinion the gold standard to try and achieve a healthy equine foot 😉

“True Natural Barefoot hoof trim”–As I understand it, and try to apply it when treating horses for therapeutic issues with feet:  An ongoing attempt to balance the hoof medial to lateral, to allow the frog and sole to carry most of the burden of the horse, to trim as best possible to the slope of the pastern, and to resist applying a rim of steel to the hoof wall to raise the frog and sole from contact with the ground.  Following the path of the P-3 as reflected in the sulci of the frog to establish medial lateral balance, and to not trim back the calus that forms in the sole over the tip of P-3 on a barefoot horse.  To round the hoof wall so that it does not chip, and to attempt to mimic the degree of wall wear that has been observed in untrimmed wild horses that wear off their hoof walls and walk mostly on their soles and frog.  This is done by regular trimming, at 4 week intervals, and is to be accompanied by vigorous exercise on mildly yielding surfaces, good planes of nutrition, and weight loss if needed.  Oh, and generous amount of time to allow changes to happen.

Yes, the horse’s foot adapts to what it is standing on, but the point is to allow it to stand on the ground and have the heels have expansion abilities in all directions, rather than have as THE ONLY ANSWER the hoof-wall nailed to an unyielding chunk of iron.

I also find that the whole horse is needed to be seen and addressed, rather than just one aspect of it…the shoe, the trim, the hoof, the rider, the feed, the bite and the bit, the saddle, the discipline, the training and conditioning, and last but not least, the breeding…..

No two horses feet are ever the same and you must look at the whole picture and use your experience to assess horse with peculiar shaped feet before condemning the animal immediately. Many horse with boxy feet are very sound and can work hard, but others will be chronically lame, use good judgement and radiographs  carefully

Paul Proctor MRCVS