BY NINA FEDRIZZI
If you happen to be cashing out at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in the coming weeks, you may or may not notice a new, $75 charge on your show bill.
Offered for the first time this year at WEF and the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, Show+ is a ‘Horse Mortality & Injury’ and ‘Equine Event Rider Accidental Death & Injury’ benefits program. In plain English: it offers participants special protections and benefits should you or your horse be injured on the show grounds during competition weeks in Wellington.
“In this sport, you have an investment, and tomorrow your horse could break a leg, or colic, or whatever, and all that investment is gone, and there’s [often] no warning,” says Miranda Van Kol, a lifelong equestrian who worked closely with the CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC team to create Show+.
Van Kol, who has managed barns for the likes of Joe Fargis, Eric van der Vleuten, and most recently, Marcus Fyffe Dressage, understands the skepticism that naturally accompanies new products and ideas in the horse show community—especially when they make their “debut” on an already hefty show bill.
“A lot of people get ripped off in the horse industry, so they’re very cautious,” notes Van Kol, who says that her own healthcare experiences helped to inform the design of the Show+ model. “I got stepped on by a horse [on my toe], and I thought I had quite good insurance, but my out-of-pocket was $8,000, and then you still have to pay [additional fees].
“This coverage handles high, out-of-pocket costs and deductibles,” Van Kol continues. “It’s like Aflac. If you’re insured, your own insurance pays whatever it pays, and what it doesn’t pay, Show+ will help cover the gaps.”
Now if you’re thinking that you have no plans to show in Wellington this year (or maybe ever), that’s all well and good—but bear with us. Programs like Show+ are likely to get more, not less common, and may even become mandatory line items on show bills in the years to come. In other words, it pays to read the fine print, or at least, let us do it for you. That’s why we decided to take a closer look at Show+: what it covers, what it doesn’t, and why it matters to you. Here’s what we discovered.
1. Show+ is not insurance
Let’s start there. Chances are, if your horse is being shown at WEF, he probably has his own mortality and major medical insurance, and hopefully, if you’re riding horses in any capacity, you do too. “It’s not insurance, it’s just like a warranty. You want a warranty for a particular time period, for that particular show,” Van Kol explains. Like Aflac, your “warranty” can help you make up the difference in medical and veterinary costs should the worst happen. These include deductibles, follow-up visits, and of course, horse show entry fees that would be lost if you or your horse can’t participate. For each benefit that applies to horses and humans, there are caps on the amount and the percentage of that amount that Show+ will pay you in the event that you need it. For a full list of what Show+ covers, and how much, click here.
2. If my horse is already insured, how does the ‘Horse Mortality’ component work?
Good question—and the answer is a little complicated. To start, this is not a secondary policy. If (god forbid) your horse dies on the show grounds, Show+ does offer a mortality benefit, but it would be supplementary to any mortality insurance you already have. The benefit maxes out at $100,000, and the money you receive won’t exceed the total assessed value of your horse. One more thing: your horse’s fair market value will be determined independently by Show+, and may not equate with the value on your existing mortality policy.
3. How were the ‘capped amounts’ created for covered equine medical conditions?
Show+ worked with the Palm Beach Equine Clinic and other veterinarians to determine the average veterinary costs for common conditions such as colic, soft tissue injuries, heat stroke, and more. “You can have a colic surgery for $5,000, or, if there’re a lot of complications, it can be $25,000,” Van Kol explains. “We [tried to stick to the middle of the road], so it would be fair to both parties.”
4. Show+ extends the amount of time your horse is protected on the show grounds.
This is good news. If you’re showing and stabled on the show grounds, and your horse has an issue on the premise, under Show+, you’d be protected from Monday at midnight until Sunday at midnight and all the time in between. “[Under other circumstances], if your class only goes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, then you’re only covered through your last entry [on Friday],” explains Van Kol, adding that with Show+, if your horse stays the weekend, he’d still be protected, even though he isn’t showing on those days. However, if your horse goes home to a farm off the premises, protections would begin at midnight on the day of his class, and expire at midnight the night after. These would be reinstated for each new day that he competes.
5. Wait a minute—what’s this about “opting in”?
Show+ is technically an optional coverage, but at WEF 2020, you’re automatically “opting in,” for $75 per horse, per week, unless you tell the horse show office otherwise. This must be done for every week that you’re showing, at the time that you submit your weekly entry blank—i.e. not at the end of the week when you’re cashing out. For FEI riders, Show+ is mandatory and included in your fees.
6. Are pre-existing conditions covered for horses and/or humans?
7. If I’m a professional, and I’m riding clients’ horses, can I get coverage?
You bet. But it’s worth noting that there are different benefit schedules for professionals, amateurs, and junior riders, with different reimbursement amounts for each. You can view the breakdown here.
8. If I fall off and need to be helivaced to the hospital, is that covered?
Yes. And according to Van Kol, that alone makes Show+ worth it. “Most of the time, when the helicopter comes in, there’s no insurance that pays for it. That’s a $25,000 bill right there. Show+ can help alleviate that cost,” she says.
9. If my horse is injured, or I am, and I can’t finish my classes for the week, what entry fees will I get back?
A good amount, including your USEF, office, and show fees, as well as division nomination fees and special transportation costs if you or your horse are injured (see above). Classes a horse and rider have already competed in won’t be reimbursed.
10. Will Show+ be offered pre- and post-circuit in Wellington?
Not this year, but that may change in years to come. Also of note: this isn’t the first time Show+ has made an appearance at mainstream events around the country. The coverage has previously been offered at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival and the American Gold Cup, with more shows already in the lineup for 2020.