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Loan horse pts - vets bills

(25 Posts)
lkpink Sat 10-Dec-16 20:46:12

We've had a traumatic few weeks, we loaned a pony off my friend for my daughter. When she first came last April we had colic episodes but with the help of the vet we managed to control it through diet. We had a fab summer with her and absolutely loved her. Anyway in November it came back with a Vengence. I called the vet out several times, we tried antibiotics, steroids and in the last week I had no choice but to have two emergency call outs which unfortunately ended in her being pts. Her owner was aware of her illness but didn't seem concerned. The day before she was pts I told her she would have to go back to her asI couldn't afford to keep up with the vets bills, the vet also suspected that that she something else was going on with her. It was all very upsetting, and not nice to see her suffering. My friend was away for the weekend that she was PTS but I had to do agree to it quickly as the pony was really suffering. When I messaged her owner to tell her she sent me a shitty message saying " I don't believe it" and " I will collect her stuff tomorrow". She did eventually apologise for this but I'm now left £1100, vets bill. I said I don't mind covering the majority of it but could she cover the £360 it cost to put her to sleep, am I being unreasonable??. It's just such a lot of money. The majority of the bill is from out of hours call out which I had no choice but to cover. All of this happened over the course of 3 weeks so apart from agreeing to medication the rest I didn't have much choice really as the poor horse was in agony.
I do understand that this is part of horse ownership and in hindsight even though a so called friend we should of had a written agreement drawn up.
I have asked her to contribute but she said her husband refuses to help and she will try after Xmas. I'm I wrong to feel pissed off?? Xx

Floralnomad Sat 10-Dec-16 21:10:51

As you say you should have had an agreement on who pays for what before you took her on or made sure you had her insured . Actually if it was a full loan and as no agreement had been made I would assume that the person in possession was fully responsible for the bills so that unfortunately would be you . Sorry for your loss .

Leopard12 Sat 10-Dec-16 21:31:41

It depends on the loan agreement, I know of people on both ends, one who pays per month (and another who pays nothing) with all costs met by the owner (more of a part loan with owners still involved though) and another who pays for everything themselves and has vet insurance etc. If you've previously been paying for vet treatment then it seems to have been agreed that it's you who is responsible for it even if not written down, it would be nice of her to contribute especially as it was a known illness and you'd already said you were struggling but I don't think she needs to.
Sorry for your loss I know how upsetting it must be flowers

Pixel Sat 10-Dec-16 22:05:26

Ouch that neither of you had insurance but it's done now. I don't see how the owner can expect to not pay anything, it's still her pony and she knew you were struggling to keep up with the bills. Not only that but you haven't even had the pony a year and have had ongoing problems since the start. I certainly don't think YABU to expect her to cough up some money as she is supposed to be your friend, though legally I'm not sure if she has to. I'm guessing she's soon to become an ex-friend if not!
As for her remarks though, I'm not sure I'd be thrilled to be messaged that my pony had been PTS, I'd at least expect a proper phone call for news like that.

Patriciathestripper1 Sat 10-Dec-16 22:22:17

Firstly sorry you had to go through this, and your DD must be beside herself.
Really You should have sent her back after the first colic incident when it became apparent that the pony had a problem. Unfortunately you chose to keep her and carry on and as you paid all the original vet fees you should bear the cost of the whole bill. I can't stress how important horse insurance. I hope this experience hasn't put you off and you get another pony. flowers

lkpink Sat 10-Dec-16 23:53:34

Yh I think I have learnt a massive lesson from this. Il prob end up paying the lot myself. I didn't send her back after the first colic as I moved fields so I just kept hoping that it was the grass, I was really fond of her too and just wanted to know she was ok..but I suppose I have to pay for that!.
With reguards to the message, she was in Dublin, I prob should of rang but she never came to see the horse or showed much interest. I was just so upset I couldn't talk about it. When I arrived at the yard that morning she had fluid coming out of her noes and mouth, it was the contents of her stomAch as it had no where else to go as her intestine had strangulated. It was so upsetting xx

Floralnomad Sun 11-Dec-16 00:01:23

You did the best you could for the horse and that's the important thing . If you do go down the loaning route again make sure you have a proper agreement .

mrslaughan Sun 11-Dec-16 05:33:22

A really big lesson. Always have an agreeemnt and if you can't afford bills like this (who really can?) insurance.
Having said all that - I would feel obliged to contribute- but then as I have found out to my detriment, I am not like most people.

Pixel Sun 11-Dec-16 09:07:55

I'm so sorry, it must have been a horrible experience for all of you. At least you have the knowledge that you did everything you could and that will remain with you. We've just taken on a pony that we can't really afford because we couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't. We've had her on a sort of part-loan basis where we did everything bar field rent and vet, but now we've got to find the money for all of it as although she's 32 she's happy and healthy and certainly not ready to shuffle off just yet. And we adore her of course! Her owner (former owner!) has agreed though that when the time comes she will pay the necessary for PTS and cremation, we all thought that was only fair because as you say it's quite a lot of money.

WellErrr Sun 11-Dec-16 09:16:11

You pay it. It's your bill.

You can't just 'give back' a horse in the middle of expensive treatment.

You should have
- had an agreement
- had the horse insured by one of the parties
- gone to see her rather than texting.

Since you did not, you called the vet, bill in your name, for horse in your care = you need to pay.

Having been the owner in a situation where I loaned out a fabulous horse and was left with a dead horse and a huge vet bill from the arsehole lying loaners, I really hope you do the right thing here.

Booboostwo Sun 11-Dec-16 21:36:59

You've had a shock and I am sorry for that but usually the loaner is responsible for bills or insurance is in place to cover exactly this kind of emergency. I am also a bit shocked you did not attempt to contact the owner before PTS. Even in an emergency a phone call doesn't take that long. I appreciate you were in shock but it must have been very shocking for the owner to find out her pony had been PTS without her knowledge. As an owner I expect she would have wanted to decide on whether the pony should have been operated on rather than PTS.

These kinds of costs are very much par of the course with horse ownership. It might not be colic next time but horses are very accident and illness prone and vets insurance is a highly recommended precaution.

lkpink Mon 12-Dec-16 16:24:51

I contacted her owner to tell her she was ill but tbh she didn't seem bothered. There was not a chance in hell she would of had her operated on plus the pony had her stomach contents pouring out of her mouth. The pony was my main priority at the time, if I'd of had time and she wasn't on her way back from Holidat I would of maybe phoned her, but nothing could be done anyway. I tried everything to save that pony. No I wasn't insured and of course I have learnt my lesson!!, I do actually own a pony that is insured!!, so it's not really helping when people have a dig. My question was should she help with the cost. Not all of it just help towards her being pts. I get that it's up to me to me to cover x

Malibubu Mon 12-Dec-16 20:20:33

I'm not familiar with loan contracts but in my opinion everything that is not a routine cost like farrier, routine dentist and vet should be for the account of the owner tbh. Ultimately the horse remains the property of the owner I think. If it were me I probably would have asked the owner to pay towards the first colic vet bill or asked her to take the horse back and terminate the agreement. I think that if an owner wants nothing more to do with a horse and not take any responsibility then they should sell?
I guess loaning is a grey area. I think it is important to have a clear written agreement on place. A friendly verbal one has too much risk of going sour once high bills are involved. I think it is definitely worth discussing with the owner. You have made a massive mistake in not making a clear agreement when you took on this horse but on the other hand it sounds like the owner didn't either. Good luck, I hope it all works out for you and I'm sorry about your loss. flowers

Malibubu Mon 12-Dec-16 20:48:36

Also maybe also worth having a look at the BHS sample loan agreement.

It seems to state that;

4.1.10.The Owner agrees that if a veterinary surgeon advises
immediate euthanasia of the Horse to prevent further suffering in the case of severe injury and the Owner cannot quickly be contacted the Borrower may give permission to the veterinary surgeon on the Owner's behalf.


5.2​In the event of the Horse’s death the Owner will be responsible for any euthanasia and disposal expenses.

It's also interesting to see what the BHS have to say about vet bills..

Here is the link

lkpink Mon 12-Dec-16 22:05:02

Thankyou for that, will have a look, be interested to see what they say xx

Booboostwo Tue 13-Dec-16 15:41:03

What is the point of appealing to a sample loan agreement the owner never saw never mind signed?

No one is having a go at you OP, but no you cannot ask for any money from the owner.

Moanranger Tue 13-Dec-16 19:54:59

I am on third loan of DHorse & always use the BHS agreement. I (owner) insure. Loaner pays vet bills & I will re-imburse her anything I can claim back. (Not much these days-excess is high & load of exclusions, even for a healthy horse.) Fortunately Dhorse is v sound. Insurance covers euthanasia under BEVA guidelines ( means, in short, no prospect of survival, extreme suffering) & also cremation costs. So if you had insurance & agreement, then you wouldn't be having this argument. The norm is for owner to carry insurance.
On that basis, you could go to the owner & say "I was being a really nice guy not to insist on a loan agreement, but if I had used the BHS one, then you would be liable for euthanasia & cremation costs" Maybe this would help get her to cough up.

Puppymouse Tue 13-Dec-16 21:53:49

When I had a loan she was diagnosed with Cushings while she was with me. Owners bought her pergolide but any other vet callouts were my responsibility e.g. Suspected laminitis or lameness.

Puppymouse Tue 13-Dec-16 21:54:37

She was insured as well but at 26 this would have covered accident only.

honeyroar Sat 17-Dec-16 22:25:49

I had a similar thing happen with my old pony that was out on loan many years ago. He'd been on loan to one family for years with no problems, then changed loaners and had a few medical issues (lumps thought from kicks/bites) which the loaners paid. But more lumps kept coming up and the loaners asked to return the pony as they couldn't afford any more bills. I was arranging to take the pony back, but at the same time the vet decided that the lumps were tumours and he needed putting down. I didn't live locally, so my friend and old instructor arranged it and I paid. I was really upset. After a day or two my instructor said the family had paid a large amount in vets bills and perhaps I should give them some money towards it, so I gave them about £300 towards a £1k bill. I'd like to have given more with hindsight, but I was a student at the time.

Perhaps the owner is just upset and will come round when they've got over the shock? I would definitely ask them if they could contribute anything to what you've spent. Then cross your fingers because without a contract that's really all that you can do...

lkpink Tue 20-Dec-16 16:43:23

Thankyou, I've not heard anything off her since. I'm going to leave it till after Xmas then send hee the sample Bhs contract. I don't expect her to pay it all. I just think she could cover the cost of putting her sleep as she was due to go back that day anyway. I doubt she will pay but just worth letting her see what's normally expected xx

ADishBestEatenCold Tue 20-Dec-16 21:32:35

I have loaned a horse in the past and my contract included an obligation (for me) to both insure and pay vet bills.

Seemed fair, as I had free use of their horse.

ImNotReallyReal Tue 20-Dec-16 22:33:26

I had my pony out on loan, whilst I was pregnant. He had a major colic, was treated on the yard and ended up being PTS. The loaners bill was £900. I agreed to leave his tack with her as payment. My tack and rugs were good quality, probably amounting to the vets cost.

Perhaps I'm a soft touch but she'd cared for him for a year, kept him fit, healthy and shod. I paid no livery during this time, just insurance. I was expecting him home a month later fit and ready to compete in spring.

We made an amicable agreement that she covered the bill and kept his lovely tack for her other ponies or to sell on at her discretion. I would have felt wrong turning up and taking all his stuff and leaving her with a big vet bill. I would have paid the bill and taken his belongings or given her his tack, it was her choice.

I did have insurance on him (I feel if you loan you should keep up your insurance) but he wasn't covered for colic due to previous issues. We are still friends now and I'd loan to her again.

I'm sorry for your loss. She should cover the bill or make good. It's hard but I knew I'd saved £3000 in livery costs while he was with her, and it was the least I could do. We were both heartbroken. Loaning is a minefield unless you have a really good contract.

Lovesswimming Mon 26-Dec-16 15:51:10

I have loaned a few horses and ponies. The contract is essential. I've had two that have died one after being with the vet for 2 weeks and one from a heart attack in the field. I paid the vets bills (thank fully the one at the vets was insured for most of it) but the owners paid for diposal and/or pts (again one was coveted by their insurance) however I can't see how you can insist on this if you haven't had a contract.

PoshPenny Sun 01-Jan-17 01:04:02

Afraid as a full loaner as you seemed to be, the vets bills are down to you. You could appeal to her better nature, but I think you're right, and you probably won't get anything. Tough lesson to learn, and I'm sorry for your loss.

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