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 Horse Watch  Useful information
*Please see disclaimer at foot of page*
Horse Watch

You should seriously consider Freeze Marking all horses and ponies, preferably in an easily visible spot, many horses are stolen when the marking is covered with a horse blanket. Keep the animal well clipped out, in the area of the marking at least. Your local Police Force may have forms on which you can show the horse markings in case of theft.

Photograph your stock, showing in colour all the distinctive markings which might make your horse more recognisable to any police officer, many of which know very little about horses.

 HorseWatch  Saddlery and Tack

Professional marking is available for all saddles and tack. Contact your local police crime prevention office for more information. All tack should be marked with at least your post code, or full name and address. Marking can be performed on well soaped saddles, using a set of cold die stamps. It is not advisable to stamp your code on reins, thin pony bridles or stirrup leathers unless the leather is reasonably thick or wide in case the stamping weakens the leather when put under stress, and never on a padded or heavily stitched section.

All leather and saddles can be marked with an ultra-violet pen, again at least your post code, this will show up under ultra violet light. Note that all marking should be done on the reverse of the leather work or in an unobtrusive spot. Rugs and blankets can also be stolen as they are an easy way to make quick money at markets, these can be post coded using an indelible ink pen or machine stitching etc. Do not forget to mark other items that you also use such as clippers, brushes, groomers, generators, etc.

If the tack should be left on site, it should be kept in a secure area. It is a much better policy to keep it at home. Consider putting Horse Watch signs on the stable warning that all property is post coded.

 Horse Watch  Stables

Again these must be in a good state of repair, and well maintained, to prevent injury to your animal, they should be secured with a heavy bolt and perhaps a padlock. Bear in mind the danger of fire, any padlock fitted will be owners decision. If power is available at the site, fir security lighting using a passive infra red detector. Windows can be made secure by installing iron bars inside and make sure that wheelbarrows, trolleys, etc are secure (they can be used to remove the stolen property!).

 Horse Watch  Perimeter Security

Ensure fences and gates are in a good state of repair, this may stop your horse getting injured. Hedgerows are better than most fences (make sure that any hedge does not contain poisonous plants), some are very quick growers such as Quick Thorn.

 Horse Watch  Gates

Fit a heavy duty chain to secure gates, use a good quality close shackle padlock, consider reversing the hinge pins on the gate post to prevent it being lifted off, or burr over the ends of the pins. Fixing a Horse Watch warning sign on the gate could well deter the potential thief as well.

 Horse Watch  Horse Boxes and Trailers

This should be immobilised by the use of either hitch locks or wheel clamps, make sure that all trailer bars are secured to the trailer with non-returnable bolts so that they cannot be replaced. Consideration should be given to chaining the trailer to a permanent fixture, or hampering its removal with other objects that cannot easily be removed. Have the trailer chassis professionally marked with identifying marks or post code.

 Horse Watch  Keep your eyes open!

Be vigilant, take note of strange vehicles seen loitering near stables and fields, or strange callers. Record all vehicle registration numbers of vehicles seen in strange circumstances, for future reference if needed. Horse Watch incident report forms are provided to help pass on all relevant information to your local Police.

Check your horses, if they are kept away from where you live, at odd times. A potential thief cannot predict how much time he may have to remove your animals. Always check as early in the morning as possible, most horses are stolen at night.

 Horse Watch  If the worst does happen
  • Telephone the Police immediately, they may initially think that your horse has strayed. Many horses reported stolen later turn up as having strayed. Make local inquiries, particularly amongst fellow Horse Watch members.
  • Know the dates of sales within 250 miles of you. Many horse thefts take place on a night preceding a sale.
  • Ask the Police to also notify the Police of the area where the sale is taking place as a matter of priority.
  • Telephone the auctioneers yourself. You will find most of them co-operative, however please remember that many stolen horses do not enter the sale yards. The thief uses the gathering of dealers and agents at the sale to find a buyer, and the transaction then takes place outside the sale yard.
  • Go to the sale yourself if possible. You can identify the horse, but remember to take the photographs and identity documents with you. Look closely at all horses of the same body colour, size, age and sex. A bottle of cheap dye can alter the facial or leg markings.
  • Be as quick as possible- the motorway network helps remove your horse seventy miles further from home in every hour!
  • Is your horse insured? Not all livestock policies include theft, in many instances it can be added as an extra at a minimal cost.
  • Know the location of slaughter-houses where horses are killed for human consumption purposes, and advise them of your loss.
Please note that all above information has been kindly given by Horse Watch groups and local police forces. All information is meant as a general guide and owners are strongly advised to contact their local crime prevention officer for advice on securing premises. Whilst the above information is very general the writers or site owners can take no responsibility for any incidents or circumstances resulting from the above advice. The site owners neither approve or disapprove of any existing crime prevention products and owners are again encouraged to seek the assistance of a qualified crime prevention or community safety officer.

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