By Rebecca Harper
When Troye Hudepohl’s horse got stuck in a narrow, deep drain and she was landed with a large vet bill, she wished she had insured the animal.
Troye is just one example of the personal experience and depth of equine knowledge to draw on within the wider FMG insurance team. Others, like Sharyn Greer, run a successful horse stud or have trained in specialised horse therapy, like Lorrin Koronui.
Troye and her partner live on a sheep, beef and cropping farm at Tolaga Bay, near Gisborne. She has two horses of her own.
In her role as a Mobile Rural Consultant for FMG, Troye is on the road a lot, looking for new clients in the Wairoa and Gisborne areas.
“I had a situation two years ago where my horse got stuck in a narrow, deep drain and it took all day to get him out – he had to be sedated and craned out and I was fortunate to have the Massey Emergency Vet Rescue Team to help us. They don’t know how he didn’t break a leg.”
When Troye went to check on her two horses before work, she saw only one waiting at the gate. Investigation revealed a gate had been left open and the poor animal was stuck in the drain, two metres down, with water at the bottom – any horse owner’s worst nightmare.
“It was the worst day of my life. Not only was there the welfare of my horse to worry about, but also the financial cost. If he had been insured I could have covered the vet bill quickly. Having insurance means you have peace of mind, and you can focus your energy on caring for your horse not worrying about finding the money to pay for a potentially large bill.
“Hindsight is a great thing. After that I insured him, absolutely. It’s like anything you insure you have to think if something does go wrong will I need some financial help to relieve some of the stress.”
Even though she worked in insurance, Troye had previously considered horse insurance to be only for top performance horses or valuable breeding stock. She was pleasantly surprised how affordable equine insurance was.
Lorrin Koronui works out of the Feilding office as the Heartland Agribusiness Manager for FMG.
She runs a team of rural consultants who look after a portfolio of around 20,000 clients throughout New Zealand. “We are the relationship wing of the Mutual and a point of contact for clients. I was also part of the equine insurance from the outset and set up the equine insurance consultant team.”
Lorrin lives on an equine property at Woodville, near the racecourse, and has up to nine horses. She recently set up a new equine venture, Equine-n-Mind, after becoming certified as an equine specialist for the EAGALA Model, which stands for equine assisted growth and learning.
Partnering with a clinical psychologist, she will offer sessions for those looking for an alternative to more traditional counselling services.
“We use the horses as a medium to break through barriers. We have just got the tick from ACC to be a supplier. It’s not about fixing horses, it’s about helping people.”
Lorrin says while the practice is relatively new to New Zealand, it is very popular in the United States, particularly for war veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has also been used in prisons in Australia.
“I’ve always been interested in helping others and people can get a lot out of interacting with horses. I’ve got a neat facility and it’s a way for my horses to give back.”
Juggling the new business with her fulltime role at FMG will be a challenge, but she can see synergies between the two roles.
“We all have that rural passion, caring for people and animals that comes through in our work. That’s what makes the culture different at FMG.”
Sharyn Greer is an FMG Rural Manager with a portfolio of farming clients in a territory that stretches from the Ashburton River to the Rangitata River. She also handles equine insurance, nationwide.
If that doesn’t keep her busy enough, Sharyn and her husband also run a sheep and beef farm and the successful Tallyho Connemara Stud at Oxford. Their ponies are well known on the eventing and show jumping circuits, with several jumping in the Pony of the Year class at HOY recently and Tallyho Scoundrel placing fourth.
“I have concentrated on breeding ponies that I would like to ride – good bones, good tough attitude and good work ethic. I want to look out the window and see a good line, the same stamp, in what I produce.”
Sharyn started the stud 25 years ago and still breaks in most of the ponies herself. “It’s an addiction. You think what you could produce if you paired this mare with this stallion, or how you could improve this by using that. It’s trying to create the perfect performance pony.
“I keep saying I will slow down but then I look out in the paddock and see five foals. Once you have built up a band of really nice mares you think you should breed something nice from them.”
Sharyn’s knowledge and experience in both the farming and horse worlds have stood her in good stead in business. “I think it gives you credibility in the conversations you have with people.
“You insure your float, your tack and your vehicles – why not insure your horse? But FMG is not just equine insurance for horse people, we do everything else. Even though you might talk to me about your horse, you can also talk to me about your farm, lifestyle block or commercial business.”
FMG is New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, providing risk advice and insurance to 80,000 clients – including those who want to insure their equine partners. This makes FMG a natural fit with the ESNZ equestrian community, sponsoring the FMG Young Rider Series.
If you want to chat further, get in touch with an FMG Equine Consultant on 0800 366 466 or head to www.fmg.co.nz.