It would be fair to say that horse theft is not common place, however, the same cannot be said for thieves who target both tack and horse trailers. Tack rooms are often broken into and thousands of pounds worth of saddlery is stolen every year. Horse trailers parked in quiet, out of the way yards make it easy for thieves to hook them up and take them away in the dead of night. Some thieves will even take horse trailers away in broad daylight!
Having the right type of insurance in place does certainly soften the blow, but it does not take away that rather nasty taste that's left in your mouth of losing items that you saved up to buy and which you needed for your horse. This is why it is really important to make things as hard as possible for unscrupulous thieves to get their hands on your valued belongings.
The first line of defence in protecting your tack and trailer is to make sure everything is locked up securely. Tack rooms need to be secure which means their construction has to be such that thieves cannot easily gain access into them. They need to be constructed out of good solid bricks and mortar rather than wooden shed type tack rooms which are all too easy to break into!
Doors need to be made of a solid material – preferably out of some sort of metal namely steel. Hinges and door fixings should not be accessible from the exterior of the building.
Locks need to be of a very high quality preferably conforming to BS 3621 standards with padlocks being heavy duty ones with close shackle designs.
Windows and sky-lights need to be small and fitted with strong metal bars or even a grille so they cannot be smashed which would allow thieves to gain access to a tack room.
Consider fitting an alarm – this is especially important if a lot of valuable tack is kept in one place. The alarm would ideally be installed and then subsequently maintained by a reputable NACOSS approved security company.
Tack rooms need to be self contained and not have access from other rooms or stables. If there is access to a tack room other than through a main door, then metal grilles should be fitted to these doors too. Ceilings would need to be reinforced to prevent thieves from getting into a tack room via roof too.
Only certain people should have a set of tack room keys and the door should be kept locked if no-one is in there. If a key ever gets mislaid or lost, the locks need to be changed as soon as possible.
It is very easy to leave a valuable saddle or bridle lying around a yard especially when you are walking a horse out to a paddock after exercise. However, this could be a big mistake as opportunist thieves will see this as just too tempting. When you finish a ride, it is far wiser to lock tack away before turning your horse out. It is never a good idea to leave tack in a car either, because again, thieves can easily gain access to a boot to get their hands on your saddle and other items of tack you may have stored in there.
With the show season just around the corner, many people will be going to lots of events around the country. These are the areas that thieves love best because often they find tack lying unattended around horse trucks and trailers which means they can all too easily help themselves to it. You must always lock tack away when you are at a show or event so it is out of sight of the thieves!
You should also mark your tack preferably with a postcode or you could opt to have saddles and other items security marked using a Datatag"". If tack is marked it makes it that much harder for thieves to sell it on making it a good deterrent and one that insurance companies like people to do.
When it comes to deterring thieves from stealing your trailer, you need to make it as hard as possible for them to hook it up and take it away. This means using wheel clamps, hitch locks and any other sort of lock down device making sure you invest in top quality items. Cutting corners when it comes to buying cheaper security products to protect your trailer could mean you end up losing it.
It is really important to lock up a trailer wherever you happen to go and this includes at shows, meets and other places where it will be temporarily parked up. If you do not lock it up and your trailer does get stolen, you might find you would not be able to claim on your insurance! Consider using Datatag or Farmkey security measures on your trailer which insurance companies look favourably on.
Insuring tack and trailers is essential and if you do have a lot of deterrent measures in place, then you may find that your insurance premium is more affordable. The reason being that insurance companies look favourably on secure tack rooms and trailers which boast having a Datatag. The more deterrents you set in place, the less risk there is of you losing valuable items of tack or finding your horse trailer has been stolen and as a bonus, your insurance will not be as expensive!