The “L” freezemark was introduced in 1995 after it became clear that some individuals were selling “loss of use” horses as sound prospects to unsuspecting buyers.

The L warns potential buyers that the horse has been the subject of a “loss of use” insurance payout. It is placed on any horse where a loss of use claim has been agreed and the horse remains with the owner.

Although the individual definitions vary from company to company, a ‘loss of use’ claim is given when a horse is believed to be permanently incapable of fulfilling the use for which it is insured and used.

Since the introduction of the freezemarking scheme, which is carried out by Farmkey in association with the insurance company involved, the sale of this type of horse has been simplified with potential buyers being protected from unscrupulous sellers.

On all horses except greys, the freezemark is placed just behind the wither, or underneath any existing security freezemark. With a grey, the freezemark is placed on the shoulder.

A horse which has been the subject of a permanent loss of use claim will loses much of its value and if it is offered for sale its purchase price should reflect the limitations of its injury.

Guy Prest, managing director of KBIS says: “The L freezemark ensures that someone buying a horse which has been subject to a loss of use claim knows what they are getting.”

Someone who is considering buying horse with the L freezemark can telephone Farmkey to find out which insurer has paid the claim on the horse. They can then contact that insurance company to findout more.

“The majority of horses which have been subject to a loss of use claim can go on to enjoy a useful working life as a hack or companion,” explains Guy. “Occasionally following a long period of rest and careful management a “loss of use” horse will even return to competition, although probably at a lower level than previously.”

Some companies will insure horses that have had a “permanent loss of use” claim but limit policies to death, theft, straying and restricted vets’ fee cover,excluding the area which was subject to the loss of use claim.

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