Whilst horse theft is not particularly common, horse tack is regularly targeted by thieves and trailers are also often stolen. Insurance will help to soften the blow, but you can take a number of provisions yourself, to attempt to avoid a loss.
- Always consider good physical security as the first line of defence. Probably of greatest importance is where you keep your tack, tools and any other portable equipment. This must be secure and the construction of your tack room is important in this respect. Ideally it should be of brick, concrete or other standard construction (wooden tack rooms provide little protection) with solid doors, ideally made of steel, or covered with steel panels, fixed firmly into a good door frame. Hinges and other fixings must not be accessible from the outside. Any mortice lock used to secure doors should conform with BS 3621 and all padlocks should be substantial close shackle variety, conforming to European Standard EN 12320 and achieving the security grade classification 5 or above, used with an equally strong locking bar.
- If there are any windows or sky lights (keep these to a minimum) they should be small and should be fitted with substantial metal bars or a grille to prevent access should the glass be broken.
- Where substantial quantities of tack are stored additional protection may be required by the provision of an intruder alarm which should be installed and maintained by a company who are NSI (National Security Inspectorate) or SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspectorate Board) approved. Consideration should also be given to the inclusion of remote signalling on the alarm system to summon keyholder or police site attendance for remote or for sites that are unoccupied after normal business hours.
- The door should always be locked when nobody is in the tack room. Where facilities are shared, try to keep the number of key holders to a minimum, and always keep a record of who has keys. If a key goes missing have the locks changed. If the building is protected by an alarm, the site owner is likely to retain sole access to the coded alarm to maintain good security.
- Ideally your tack room should be totally self contained. If there is any access to your tack room from adjoining stables or buildings over the top of any partition walls, a secure ceiling should be constructed - substantial metal grilles may be fitted for this purpose.
- Never leave tack and equipment lying around the yard as this is very tempting for opportunist thieves - if it is not in use, it is much safer locked in the tack room.
- Amid the excitement of a show or event, do not forget that your tack is vulnerable to thieves. Always lock your tack inside the horsebox or car when it is not in use, ensuring it is out of sight to deter opportunistic thieves.
- To deter thieves and to increase the likelihood of having stolen tack recovered, tack can be effectively marked with your postcode. Alternatively have your saddle security marked with "Datatag" or "Smartwater" could be used.
- Use devices to delay and deter thieves attempting to take your trailer, including wheel clamps, hitch locks, lock down devices and other such security provisions. Do take expert advice from the retailer on these as the cheapest is not always the best protection. Remember to secure your trailer at shows, hunt meets etc. - if you do not, your trailer is more likely to be stolen and you may find that you cannot claim under your insurance.
- In respect of deterring thieves and recovering stolen trailers, both Farmkey and Datatagamongst others, provide useful products for this purpose. For more expensive items, electronic tracking systems are available to give the highest level of security.
To encourage you to protect your property, your insurer may allow discount for certain security provisions. Also remember that you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer for advice on security.
Note: If you implement just a few of these ideas it will help keep your tack & trailer secure.