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Insensitive Question

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  • Insensitive Question

    Disclaimer: I have a totally insensitive question-but I was asked by a non-horsey friend and didn't know the answer which left me wondering.... What happens to the value of a horse after an accident that leaves a rider seriously injured or deceased?

    Would you buy a horse that had been involved in a freak accident but was totally sound? Is this something that is usually even disclosed by a seller?

    Would it make a difference if it was something like a trip versus a spook?

  • #2
    A lot of the horses involved in these incidents are part of a bigger team than just the rider. There are owners involved as well. Other riders will take them on, especially if the horse is competitive at the upper levels. As for amateur or local levels the family has to make the choice. If it was an accident and not due to dangerous horse behavior (a spook is not inherently dangerous but a history of rearing could be) then you don't have to disclose. Many states I don't think you have to disclose dangerous behavior either... but local people will know so might as well just be honest. Sometimes families choose to keep the horses because they are also part of the family, some people can allow the horses to retire on their land, some don't want a thing to do with a reminder. That decision is all very personal. There are so many factors and a horses value would not change just specifically on an accident... a horse with a bad rap for being dangerous totally different and their value was likely low already.

    Comment


    • #3
      I had one. Freak accident on a trail ride: little girl riding it lost the reins heading home, horse started trotting, little girl started shrieking. Horse started cantering, then galloping. Horse then made a sharp turn at the gallop, turning for home. Girl did not make the turn and lawn darted directly into a tree. She was wearing a helmet, but died. Absolutely tragic!
      The family no longer wanted the horse and gave/abandoned it with the barn owner. Barn owner tried to sell the horse locally but no one would look past the sad history. BO sent it to me about 6 states away. I showed it a bit at 2'6 and sold it after about 8 months to a nice teenager and family. They adored the horse, and horse took great care of its girl for years. No idea what happened long term, as I moved out of the country.

      In this case, the horse didn't have any dangerous behavior. It was a nice horse and while value decreased in its local area, once it moved to a place where it had a clean reputation, it was appreciated and valued as it should have been, in accordance with its breed/training/etc. This was a local/C-show quality horse. I think with something more public/upper level it would be harder. I'd send it across the country and change its name (legally, of course, w/ USEF)
      A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

      http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Had a freak grooming accident where I ended up being pinned between the horse and the hitching rail - emergency surgery and 2 weeks in ICU sort of accident. Wasn’t his fault- but it was nearly impossible to get people to want to work with us. One of the moms in the area called my (non horsey) parents and ended up scaring them to the point they gave him away to one of the older riders in a different area. He ended up in a dressage program and then eventually as a amateur ladies trail horse, but the reputation stayed with him. I still ride- but my parents were just scared of that particular horse, and I’m sure the trainers in the area were scared of liability working with a kid who had been seriously injured and an horse with a bad reputation.

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        • #5
          I always jokingly tell my husband if my horse kills me, he better not blame it and he better take care of it for the rest of his days. I honestly don't know what he would do in that situation, regardless of my instructions. Very interesting question, not insensitive, just logical. I would imagine if it were a reoccurring behavior that caused it, yes it should be disclosed. If it was a freak accident, I'm not sure if it should be required to be disclosed, but I know I personally would when selling/placing a horse that was involved in a death or permanent severe injury to a rider/handler.

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          • #6
            There's been a few horses around here that were involved with freak deadly accidents. One spooked and kicked the girl's mother in the chest while putting on a blanket, one young stallion that reared in a stall with the young trainer/breeder, and one young horse who leaned into a vet while tranquilized and fell on him. All horrible and tragic deaths involving knowledgeable horse people, all arguably preventable but situations we've all found ourselves in.

            The first two were from when I was a teenager so I'm not totally clear on details but I think I recall that the first one was owned by the daughter for many years to come, though she slowly dropped out of riding (can't blame her). The young stallion was part of a family breeding operation, which they continued after the daughter's death, and I believe they gelded and sent the horse away for training and sale with a contact. The one that fell on the vet (the vet was paralyzed for a year or so, and then died from complications) has stayed with the family and shows locally, and it's very rarely talked about since it was such a freak accident (even more so than the other two, IMO).

            In all the cases my perception has been that people were incredibly sad but also acknowledged that these were risks that experienced people had taken, and not the fault of the horse. None of these were horses I ever handled myself, but even just hearing about them made me a bit more careful around my own.

            Comment


            • #7
              An older woman I knew came off her horse when jumping cross-rails in a lesson. Not sure if the horse ran out or stumbled, but she came off and landed badly. Broke her neck and passed away. Her daughter kept the horse and had it shipped to her many states away. She knew her mom adored that horse and would want her to take care of him.

              I did wonder at the time if I would want to be caring for a horse that killed my mother, even inadvertently...

              Comment


              • #8
                Unfortunately the line between freak accident and dangerous behaviour is often deliberately blurred. An old barn mate of mine broke her neck because her horse was the dirtiest stopper I'd every met.... horse was later listed for sale as a great ammy mount, with apparently the cause written off as a fluke (I'd moved on by that point and I got this second hand, although I saw the ad and was horrified). The only reason they got away with it was because it happened at home, not at a show....
                "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

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                • #9
                  While not a deadly accident, girl suffered a broken back in a rotational fall in the eq ring. Horse remained at the same barn and has successfully carried many riders from beginners to championships. It was not the horse's fault, it is safe and reliable. Horse tried hard to NOT fall. I think the reaction after an accident is the key to saleability.
                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    One I forgot about that's more recent (and well known, since she was incredibly involved in the local circuit): older experienced rider on her mostly retired hunter, horse tripped and she went down his neck, hitting her head. Initially she was up and talking before passing away later that day in the hospital.

                    Many friends stepped up to take care of the horse in the initial days, and a couple of weeks later it went to retire at a farm belonging to a longtime friend of the owner. Later on it came out that the horse had been tripping a lot and probably shouldn't have been under saddle any more. Most people didn't focus on that part too much, it's too hard to play that what-if game, and she was more than experienced enough to have made the call.

                    It was so tragic, and I'm friends with the kid who found her (sitting up and talking while waiting for the ambulance) and I'm not sure she'll get over it any time soon. Like the previous ones I posted, absolutely no one blamed the horse, nor the rider, and it's just one of those tragedies, preventable or not.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                      rotational fall in the eq ring.

                      This is off topic, but what kind of jump was in an eq ring that caused a rotational? Was it a coop of roll top? I can’t think of anything else that would be solid enough to not get knocked over or break upon the weight of a horse going through it. That’s very scary. I normally regard HJ land as being very low risk in terms of rotational falls compared to evening. It’s hard to flip over poles sitting in cups.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Very interesting question... I don’t find it insensitive.

                        I unknowingly purchased a horse that was involved in a horrible accident on the track, during a race - the fall sent the jockey to the ICU for some time, and I’m not sure what happened to him after that, I hope he is okay now.

                        I didn’t learn of the accident until some time after I got my horse, but I wonder if it would have changed my perception of him in any way... the accident was not his fault, another horse ran into him and he fell. I am surely glad I ended up crossing paths with him, he is a wonderful animal. He has packed me around (timid re-rider) for over 2.5 years, since he was a recently raced 3 year old. I overall find him extremely kind and appropriate - I wouldn’t part with him at any cost.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I bought one. Kid had aged out and moved out, was screwing around after the horse had been sitting ( kept at home), hopped on bareback for a trail ride.broke leg pretty bad. Few months after, parents filed for divorce. One of my very best horses. But I knew them and the horse, heard he was for sale and called, made a lowball offer, declined. Sometime later they called me back and accepted.

                          BUT, again, I had broken him as a colt and showed him years earlier and knew everything. It can be a good way to buy up.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post


                            This is off topic, but what kind of jump was in an eq ring that caused a rotational? Was it a coop of roll top? I can’t think of anything else that would be solid enough to not get knocked over or break upon the weight of a horse going through it. That’s very scary. I normally regard HJ land as being very low risk in terms of rotational falls compared to evening. It’s hard to flip over poles sitting in cups.
                            It is probably a lower "risk" than in eventing with solid jumps, but I saw it happen in the hunter ring (about 25 years ago) and the result was fatal for the rider. I think it depends on many factors, including the horse's reaction to losing its balance.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If they get a leg on each side of a rail they can fall that way.....I saw it happen to a good friend of mine. Complete separation of her shoulder.
                              "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                              carolprudm

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yup-- rider held the horse off the ground at a 3' oxer, horse caught rail between its forelegs and simply couldn't put its landing gear down correctly and rolled over on top of the rider. Horse tried so incredibly hard to stay up and off the rider. Not the same as the "flip over the top of the solid wall/log/etc" you see in the event world, but these falls do occur. Breakaway cup pins really do help as it seemed like the rail was wedged in the cups or too tightly squeezed together by the standards, it took forever to come loose. I was a witness-- my class and I was up in a few horses. Needless to say, I retired for the day.
                                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Ibex View Post
                                  Unfortunately the line between freak accident and dangerous behaviour is often deliberately blurred. An old barn mate of mine broke her neck because her horse was the dirtiest stopper I'd every met.... horse was later listed for sale as a great ammy mount, with apparently the cause written off as a fluke (I'd moved on by that point and I got this second hand, although I saw the ad and was horrified). The only reason they got away with it was because it happened at home, not at a show....
                                  In answer to the OP's question, yes, the value of a horse will generally decrease, and the quoted post above illustrates why, as does Calvincrowe 's post about the tripping horse. Where horses are concerned, there absolutely can be a blurred line between what is truly a freak accident vs. an accident secondary to a (possibly subtle) behavior or soundness issue. As a buyer who might see/try a horse at it's best on 1-2 days, it might be very hard to differentiate if some past accident or problem was due to rider error or instead rooted in a more serious cause.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                                    Yup-- rider held the horse off the ground at a 3' oxer, horse caught rail between its forelegs and simply couldn't put its landing gear down correctly.
                                    Yup, happened to me schooling a 2'9 post n rail vertical with a green horse. He scissored the top rail between his front legs (witnesses attest) and had nothing to land on. I am lucky to be alive and more or less in one piece though my neck (and my mind) has never been the same even 20 years later. In a parallel universe I am dead and in another one I am in a wheelchair.
                                    Power to the People

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Another perspective is (hypothetical example) horse and rider in unfortunate situation. Rider sustains serious injury or death during an accident. A New owner and trainer buy horse after but are given full disclosure.

                                      A Second freak accident, completely unrelated to anything that occurs in first. Rider has high medical bills and insurance company sues trainer for negligence.

                                      In the above scenario no one is at fault, no one is suing, but due to insurance and the way insurance companies work, they can and will sue.

                                      And they will win or settle with trainers insurance company.

                                      Because one incident is an accident a second is negligence, according to law. You knew someone could and did die on this horse therefore you are negligent.

                                      So to answer the question... no the horse isn’t worth less but who will buy him and take that risk. In our society I wouldn’t risk my whole life, career, on that horse... just NO WAY. Sad state of affairs..
                                      http://www.windsweptfarmllc.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Guyot View Post
                                        Another perspective is (hypothetical example) horse and rider in unfortunate situation. Rider sustains serious injury or death during an accident. A New owner and trainer buy horse after but are given full disclosure.

                                        A Second freak accident, completely unrelated to anything that occurs in first. Rider has high medical bills and insurance company sues trainer for negligence.

                                        In the above scenario no one is at fault, no one is suing, but due to insurance and the way insurance companies work, they can and will sue.

                                        And they will win or settle with trainers insurance company.

                                        Because one incident is an accident a second is negligence, according to law. You knew someone could and did die on this horse therefore you are negligent.

                                        So to answer the question... no the horse isn’t worth less but who will buy him and take that risk. In our society I wouldn’t risk my whole life, career, on that horse... just NO WAY. Sad state of affairs..
                                        I wonder, then, if there is less decrease in value in countries with a public healthcare system?

                                        Comment

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