Everyone who loves horses will have the animal’s safety and security high on their agenda, but it’s a sad fact that today it’s important to make sure equestrian stables and items are safe and secure against thieves and damage.
Failure to do so can result in disaster – so here are some essential tips that everyone can use to protect their horses and their premises.
Two of the biggest threats to horses and equestrian equipment are fire and theft so it’s important to take effective measures to guard against them.
Fire hazards are more prevalent in a stable yard environment than in many other working spaces or places where animals are kept. This is because stables have a lot of flammable material which means fires can spread quickly.
A strict no smoking policy is essential and naked flames should be avoided as much as possible. Cleanliness is important too and yards and walkways should be kept free of discarded hay and bedding which can easily ignite and help fires to spread.
Theft of both horses and equipment can occur in unprotected stables although effective security measures are often enough to deter many would-be thieves.
Vulnerable equipment should be stored securely and out of obvious view while gates should be padlocked with hinges welded or reversed in order to prevent them being simply lifted off. Other measures such as sensor-controlled security lights, CCTV and windows with solid bars on the inside are also recommended.
To protect horses, ensure all fences surrounding yards and fields are secured and well maintained. Don’t leave head collars on grazing horses or hanging on fences and gates as this can make it easier for thieves to move your horse.
Evidence of permanent identification tags such as freeze-marks or microchips can be a great deterrent but you should also keep an up-to-date horse passport. These can assist with the identification of animals, particularly those which are untagged, and is required by law under the Horse Passports Act 2003.
Improving the chance of recovery
As well as taking general measures to protect your yard and stables, there are also extra precautions you can take to stand a better chance of recovering stolen items.
Saddles, rugs and other easily removable equestrian equipment should be uniquely marked so that it can be easily identified in the worst case scenario but you should also keep a detailed inventory of all equipment. This can be useful when claiming on insurance policies after a fire or theft and can help officials recover any stolen items more easily.
Equestrian vehicles are also a popular target for thieves and it’s important to remember the appearance of the vehicle as they can be easily altered by criminals to try and avoid detection. An unsuspecting buyer could therefore be tricked into purchasing stolen goods.
To help protect against this, always secure any trailers using both hitch and wheel locks. Storing them in a locked barn is far better than out in the open and if electronic tagging is available for your vehicles then it is highly recommended.