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It won't happen to me, will it?

by CSW - 20:44 on 18 October 2016

No-one wishes to think ill of anyone and for the most part, we all go about our lives as if we're invincible and nothing bad can or will happen......until it does! As you will all know, being an equestrian comes with a price-tag especially if looking at the “top of the range” saddles, tack and equipment.

Theft of horses, ponies, all aspects of tack and horse-boxes can take place any time, anywhere and thieves show no respect for owners – they just want the goods and a quick way of disposing them. And that's why it's so important to take measures against being another statistic....

“Taking measures” doesn't mean turning your property into a fortress as the “siege mentality” is both negative and hard to live with on a daily basis. However, fitting a good bolt with a closed shackle padlock here and there is essential to protect your beloved horse or pony and all your tack.

Look at where you stable your horse; is the area well lit? If not, consider fitting dusk to dawn lights – there are plenty of reasonable ones available. In areas where all night illumination isn't sensible or necessary, a spotlight wired to both a photo-electric switch and a motion detector will ensure whoever is moving around will be suddenly flooded in bright light – consider fitting CCTV cameras too.

Never store “portable” equipment in a building that is not of substantial brick or heavy timber construction as it will be like “ringing the dinner bell”. All doors should be fitted with British Standard locks – as far as windows are concerned on stables – do you really need them? If not, block them up; if you do need them, fit good quality window locks as a minimum precaution. Far better, fit steel bars, weld-mesh or wood/metal shutters secured into the fabric of the building.

If your horse and tack is kept in a building where it's not possible or nearly impossible to secure, a “solution” is to create a lockable “inner” room, steel cage or secured area within the boundary of the larger building; preferably sinking footings in a concrete floor.

There are quite a few companies who now offer identification systems for animals, either unique coding for your property or animal (s); marking your property using your postcode is still the easiest option.

Reins, thin pony bridles, stirrup leathers, padded or heavily stitched areas should never be stamped as most are not thick enough to retain their strength is stamped; a biro even ultra-violet ink should be considered instead. It is possible to property mark all girths, stirrup leathers, head collars, martingales, and saddles.   Non-leather items such as canvas blankets, rubber and suchlike can be marked with paint, indelible ink, machine stitching or even biro!

Wood or metal handles can be stamped, branded or engraved. Remember – even brushes, groomers, clippers and especially generators are all costly to replace!   Don't forget to advertise the fact that you have all your property is marked as it will act as a deterrent.

Take photographs of your horse and pony from differing angles, keep a written record of any marks/birthmarks etc and keep all records up to date as all this helps to prove ownership should you be subject to theft.

There are a lot of available firms who offer freeze-branding, and don't forget the horse-box; ensure that good quality locks are used, if at a Show, Fair or Fete ensure that it is kept locked at all times!

Check on your horse or pony on a regular basis, change the time of day too so that you have a fluid routine and talk to a neighbour nearest where your horse is stabled; ask them to keep an eye on the field/stable for you.

No-one ever wants to be a statistic....and I certainly don't wish it on anyone...There is no 100% sure theft deterrent but by taking a few well-thought through security measures you can at least put a lot obstacles in the way!

Join your local Horse Watch group (if you have one) and if there isn't one, talk to your local Officers to see if it's feasible to start one. Be cautious, report any suspicious person or vehicle straight away enjoy your horse or pony and above all #staysafe.

Tricia, @CSide_Watch

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