A horse breeder who took the Royal Mail to court in a wrangle over chilled semen being held up in the post has received full compensation after H&H became involved.

Tony and Sandy Ware of Maesybont, Llanelli, wanted to put their mare Chicory in foal to Treliver Decanter, a palomino Warmblood, who stands at the Quainton Stud near Aylesbury, Bucks. A special container of chilled semen was dispatched on 25 April.

The parcel, sent by special delivery, should have arrived with the Wares the following day, but did not turn up until 27 April.

Semen for artificial insemination (AI) needs to be as fresh as possible and is best used within 48 hours, according to a spokesman at the AI Centre Stud in Gloucestershire.

The semen was used but, Chicory was not in foal when scanned 17 days later.

“Once we had the vet’s bills a month later we put a claim in on the consequential loss insurance which had been paid for by the Quainton Stud at the time of posting,” said Mr Ware. “But we were told that since we had not applied within 14 days our claim was not valid. But on 5 May my wife had sent Royal Mail an email saying that we planned to claim.”

Royal Mail refused to move so the Wares took it to the small claims court on 13 November, requesting £320 to cover their costs.

The case was adjourned at the Royal Mail’s request and was due to be resolved on Tuesday (27 November).

But last Thursday (22 November), after inquiries were made by H&H, Mr Ware received a cheque for £375.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “We are sorry Mr and Mrs Ware did not receive the service they expected. Our special delivery service is reliable and popular. Delays are very rare. We are pleased the claim has now been settled in full.”

But Mr Ware added: “It remains that consequential loss insurance, taken out with Royal Mail, is difficult to claim on for semen shipments. Any claim must be fully documented, including supporting bills, within 14 days of posting, but because of the biological timescales involved [having to wait 17 days to see if the mare is in foal] this is difficult.”

He said a procedure needs to be worked out between the breeding industry and Royal Mail.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 November, ’07)