The Importance of Having a Horse Appraised

What does an equine appraiser do?  The best way to answer that question is to describe a few situations where the services of a professional appraiser are required or problems that have arisen when a client needed to have an accurate and realistic value for a horse or equine livestock.

I have seen divorce situations where a couple is fighting over a horse. In these cases the separate parties often try to get a friend to offer a value. This type of appraisal will not hold up in court, as it is not an unbiased opinion of the value.  A professional appraisal requires extensive research and examination and when complete become a written legal document that belongs to that particular horse. Professional appraisals are necessary to divorce dispositions. As an accredited appraiser I have to be prepared to substantiate my determinations in court and in some instances act in the capacity of an expert witness. 

I have also appraised horses that have been extremely undervalued on an insurance policy.  The person or family that owns that horse has to deal with the loss of a dear friend as well as a loss in income on their horse. Had the horse owner obtained a professional opinion prior to arranging insurance or updated the policy this financial loss could have been avoided.

The reverse is true also. In some claim situations, people have their horses insured for as much as twice the actual value of the horse. Insurance companies are getting tougher and tougher on fraudulent claims and use the services of an equine appraiser to investigate.  I have had to investigate several of these types of claims.  The insurance companies will pay out what I deem the value of the horse is and not necessarily what the equine is insured for.  The investigation involves working with veterinarians to verify soundness of horses prior to their injury, demise or loss of use. Through various methods I also investigate the background and pedigree of the horse.  My research is very extensive to find all the facts on each and every horse claim.  I believe that if a horse owner  has a good appraisal done prior to purchasing insurance, all he has to do is produce it for the insurance company and the claim requires less investigation, if any, and becomes an expedited matter.

People come to me to have horses appraised for resale, and sometimes ask me to broker the horse for them.  My purchasers would sooner buy a horse that has a qualified appraisal with it, than risk purchasing a horse without one. The equine industry is now an international industry and people do buy horses sight unseen. Decisions to buy are most often based on a professional equine appraisal, which includes a physical inspection of the horse, as well as a scrutiny of all pertinent documentation associated with the horse.  A horse listed for sale with no guarantees or qualified documentation cannot compete with one that has undergone a thorough examination by a qualified appraiser.

I work with financial institutions to verify equine value for collateral purposes on loans. My work may also include appraisals for Canada Revenue Agency for tax purposes - if you need to value a horse for a donation, loss or depreciation.

Iíve done valuations for bankruptcy lawyers or trustees.

There are a great many reasons to have an appraisal done on your horse.  As you can see by some of the examples above many appraisals are done to resolve problems or settle affairs.  The equine market in Canada has boomed in the last ten years. An inexpensive horse now costs about $5,000.00. It is not unusual for the value of a horse to be in the $100,000 -$250,000 range.  It makes good business sense to be proactive and utilize equine appraisals as a preventative or protective measure to safeguard such investments.

© Carla Dickhaut, Equine Appraiser