Horses can be an expensive investment, not to mention the sentimental value of a horse to its owner
Their security is therefore very important. Whilst insurance can give peace of mind, a number of basic security provisions can be taken to protect your horses, some of which are detailed below.
- A microchip can be implanted under the horse’s skin. This gives it an individual identity number which can be read by a simple scanning device. Microchips are now a requirement before a passport is issued, but if your horse already has a passport you don’t need to get a microchip.
- It is possible to have your postcode branded into the horse’s hooves. The disadvantage with this is that this must be repeated quite regularly as the horse’s feet grow.
- Field fencing/hedges should be secure and a padlock and chain should be fitted to all field gates. In the field, consider leaving your horse without a headcollar, unless it is particularly difficult for you to catch. This should delay or deter potential thieves and/or malicious persons.
- Put up visible notices on yard entry points and field gates which state that the horses and tack are marked and can be identified – these can serve as a visible deterrent.
- Keep a detailed description of the horse – the chart on a vaccination certificate or passport should provide this. Photographs of both sides of the horse and one of its head from the front will also help.
- Whilst horses should not be locked into their stables because of the risk of fire, the yard itself can be made secure, with provision for suitable exit points in case of emergency, into fields adjoining the yard which should have secure fencing/hedging with padlocks on any exit points in the boundary.
- Ensure that gates cannot be lifted off their hinges – either reverse the top hinge or weld metal plates over the hinges.
- Access should be restricted – on a commercial yard make sure that visitors report to reception on arrival and consider provision of visitors badges so that legitimate visitors can be easily identified.
- Adequate lighting on the yard is essential for both security and safety. Consider security lights which come on automatically when they detect movement.
- Closed circuit television, although quite expensive to install, is an excellent investment as it will help to identify intruders. Similarly it may be possible to have an alarm fitted to the yard, which could be audible in the house as well as on the yard.
- If there is not always someone present at the yard, do not always arrive and leave at the same time. Try to vary your routine in order that your movements are not predictable for a thief.
Remember that you can become involved in, or help to set up a Horsewatch scheme in your local area.
Note: Although you may not be able to implement all the ideas above, if you follow the suggestions as best you can, this will help to keep your horse secure.