Horses and their associated tack are an expensive investment. This makes them extremely attractive to would be thieves so security is essential to lessen the risk of theft. The following points may deter thieves, or enable your horse to be positively identified as yours if it is retrieved.
- Freeze Marking is a very popular security deterrent which is easily visible to thieves.
- Microchips can be placed under the skin and will contain information specific to that horse. Theses can be read using specialist scanning equipment.
- You should keep photographic evidence of any scars or unusual markings the horse may have. Many horses have whorls in their coats. Your photographs should show where exactly on the horse these whorls occur. If the horse is stolen this kind of evidence will greatly increase the chance of your horse being identified. Update your photographs every 6 months to account for the changes in winter and summer coats.
- Have your postcode branded into the horses hooves. Remember though that this will need to be repeated as the hooves will continue to grow.
- It is a good idea to place a clearly visible sign in the yard listing all the security used to protect the horse. This may act as a deterrent.
- Horses should not be locked in their stables because of the risk of fire. However the yard should be bordered by a very strong perimeter fence and the gate should be secured with a very strong padlock and heavy chain. Ensure that the gate is not one that can be lifted off its hinges for easy removal.
- Security lighting is always a good deterrent especially if the yard is overlooked by houses.
- Difficult access to the yard will also deter a thief.
- DNA identification is now a viable choice. Some companies will keep a few of the horse’s hairs along with some root material, on file. They will then test this for identification purposes if the horse is stolen.
- Your neighbours can be a great help in deterring thieves. Ask them to look out for anything unusual and provide them with a phone number to call should their suspicions be aroused.
- Feed your horses away from the exit gate. This will stop your horses waiting at the gate an hour before feeding is due. Horses stood by gates are very appealing to thieves.
- If you can, avoid the use of roadside paddocks as more potential thieves could be watching your horses, waiting for the moment to strike.
- Mark all the tack. Leather items can be engraved or burnt to display your name or postcode. All tack should be photographed so that in the event of a theft, the insurance company has visible evidence of all the stolen goods.
- Security cameras may well be worth investigation as another deterrent. These need to be placed in a vandal proof location though in order to be effective.
Having gone to all the trouble of keeping your horse as secure as possible, make sure that your Horse Insurance is adequate for your requirements.
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