As the competition is now in full swing it poses a new set of problems for the horse owner – theft. Unfortunately the number of thefts at competitions is on the rise, so what measures can we take to help protect our equipment? Fortunately there are many options available to us.
Firstly look at insurance, so that if the worse happens you are covered. Some companies do tack only options and other give you the choice of adding it onto your horses policy, you may even be able to cover your tack on your house insurance. When insuring your tack please read the policy wording carefully and make sure you can meet all the clauses in place – for example the type of locks you must have etc, there is no point paying for something that wont actually pay out because you had the wrong lock.
If you decide against insurance it may be a good idea to look at putting a bit aside each moth to cover you if anything does go missing. There is nothing worse than not being able to ride because your tack has been stolen and you cannot afford a replacement.
Secondly look into the options of marking your tack and equipment, some police forces offer a stamping service where you can have you postcode stamped onto your bridle and saddle and it is then registered on a central database, meaning that it not only acts as a deterrent,but also may help you to be reunited with stolen items in the future. The company data tag who do the trailer marking also offer a saddle marking kit and a tack room security kit, which can just as easily be used on a lorry or trailer. You could also look at putting trackers onto your tack, you can get ones for pets that would be suitable, there are a variety on the market, so that if your saddle does go missing you can track it. More info can be found on the previous blog: Tack Room Security
So after marking your tack what measures can you put in place to protect it at shows? Well if you are only taking one horse the chances are that you will have your tack with you whenever you are away from the lorry/trailer as you will be using it. However if you are competing in a few different classes/disciplines then you will probably have more than one set of tack with you, meaning that some will be left unattended whilst you are in the ring.
Thieves like to be in and out as quickly as possible so anything that is easy and quick to grab is what draws the eye, any measure you can put in place to keep your tack out of sight and hard to get at will help to keep it safe.
If you have a tack locker on your lorry make sure the door shuts flush and the lock is working, this will give you a secure place to leave tack, and also means that anyone trying to get in is going to take a while, make a lot of noise and hopefully draw attention. If you are using a tack pack or movable tack locker make sure it is attached to the fabric of your lorry/trailer to prevent it being pushed away, a good option for this is bicycle locks – the cable ones that cannot be cut, simply pop it through part of the tack locker and then around part of your lorry/trailer. Make sure you are putting it around parts that cannot be removed, and also make sure that the locker is locked shut.
If you have a lorry with the saddle racks in the horse area have a look at the way your ramp closes, if is one that runs on electric then it will be secure when the lorry is locked, however if it is a manual clip one that you pull open be aware that it can be easily opened by anyone, and people at surrounding lorries may not know you, and would not be aware if someone else was entering your lorry without permission. If your lorry ramp or jockey door cannot be locked shut but you still want to make use of the saddle racks in the horse area have a look at other ways of ways of securing them, you can get special saddle racks that have locks on them from both Stubbs and Bulldog, more information can be found on theses here: Tack Room Security
If you do not have a tack locker and are keeping you tack in the car be sure to cover it up when you are away, putting it in the boot with the parcel shelf down is quick and easy way to cover it up and prevent people seeing what is inside. It also acts as a good deterrent as they car alarm will go off if anyone tries to break in.
If you don’t want to leave anything unattended then there are a couple of options try and find a willing volunteer that would be happy to come and sit in the lorry or car whilst you are in the ring this would mean that nothing was left unattended, however there are not many people willing to give up a day to sit in the car.
The other option is to take everything with you, again you will need a willing volunteer and a good tack trolley to put everything on, then you can take it all with you whilst you are away from the lorry/trailer.
If you are going away for a few days competing make sure you bring all you tack back to the lorry/trailer each night, even if you have a tack locker i would advise bringing it back to the lorry/ trailer and locking it away each night. If you leave it outside your stable, then during quite hours when none is about it makes it easier for someone to work on opening it for a while with out being disturbed.
Be mindful of other equipment at shows as well,again its best not to leave anything unattended as it make get taken or borrowed and never returned. It is a good idea to look into luggage that is easy to transport and carry, so you can take everything back to your lorry/trailer and not leave it outside your stable. We have a very good range of luggage designed for these purposes – be sure to check it out here www.tidytackrooms.co.uk.
A good tack trolley is a must at stay away competitions. Have a look at our one that folds flat for easy transport and storage, and takes 2 sets of tack as well as all the other equipment: The Saddle Sherpa
You can use your wheelbarrow, but ensure to wash it out after mucking out to prevent your gear getting dirty/stained.
I would also advise to not leave anything outside your stable at stay away shows, not bedding or hay either as things do go walkabout, the shows are very busy with a high footfall and people arriving and leaving each day making it easy for things to go missing. Basically if you value it, don’t leave it unattended. Even small things like mounting blocks, brushes, brooms etc
As mentioned above thieves like to be in and out as quickly and as quietly as possible so anything you can do to prevent items being grabbed quickly and quietly will work as a preventative measure, anything you can do to secure your equipment that would need electrical tools to remove again is a bonus as thieves will not have access to an electrical supply, nor will they want to be making lots of noise.
Having had my trade stand burgled overnight i know how awful it is to have your hard earned items taken. It is horrendous and then involves lots of time sorting it out with the police and insurance and then finally replacing the items, which in some cases – especially involving tack, is much easier said than done.
If you have tips for keeping equipment safe at show please share them with us.