Q: I have owned my horse for the past nine months and he has recently developed the habits of windsucking and crib biting, both in his stable and when turned out.

He is a lovely-natured horse but I am concerned about a detrimental effect on his health, having read somewhere that windsucking is a traditional cause of recurrent colic and poor doing.

He is insured for vet’s fees and I was wondering if his vices need to be declared to my insurance company?

Simon Mackeness of BEIB replies:Under your policy conditions, you should declare all vices to your insurers, as you would any health problems that occur with your horse. The insurers may not necessarily exclude a vice as a cause of ill-health if it has not caused any veterinary or physical problems in the past.

There are other factors to be taken into consideration, such as the probability that displaying vices or stereotypical behaviour will reduce the re-sale value of your horse (you must declare the vices if you sell), and thus the amount for which you can insure him.

Each case should be looked at individually by insurers, under the advice of a veterinary surgeon.

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