Horse/equine theft is not particularly common although horse tack, trailers and horse boxes are regularly targeted by thieves.

Insurance will help to soften the blow, but owners can take a number of precautions to avoid loss and disruption.

Marking tack is something that could deter a would-be thief. Thieves are less likely to steal valuable tack that can be traceable to an owner. Tack marking options approved by police forces across the country, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and Secured By Design (SBD) are listed below, along with horse/equine stable and storage security.

Tack storage/stable security

Keep tack in a secure location. Wooden tack rooms provide little protection. Ideally, the building should be of brick, concrete or other standard construction.

  • Use solid doors and door frames.
  • Hinges and other fixings must not be accessible from the outside.
  • Use good locks (to latest British standards) to secure doors from the outside.
  • Windows and skylights should be protected with security bars to prevent access.
  • Remove items that can be used to climb onto the roof from around the site.
  • Consider a professionally installed CCTV system kitemarked to BS EN50132-7 together with appropriate signage.
  • Consider a suitable GSM, battery-operated dialer alarm. For advice concerning remote locations, please visit the Alarms For Farms (opens new window) website.

Tack and equipment security

  • Consider ‘postcoding’ and marking tack and equipment using the premise postcode and house number or first three letters of the property name.
  • Consider marking bridles on the underside of the headpiece, where it fits behind the ears of the horse.
  • Engrave synthetic saddles on the stirrup bar.

Note: It may not be advisable to use punches or engraving on items that could be weakened or damaged by this process ie reins, thin bridles or stirrup leathers. Ask your Horse Watch coordinator for advice.

Thames Valley Horse Watch (opens new window) coordinators have access to tack marking equipment and would be happy to provide additional advice.

  • Consider marking saddles with a unique ‘Datatag (opens new window) for equestrian tack’ Radio Frequency (RF) transponder. Warning studs show that the saddle has been identified and registered using Datatag (opens new window).
  • Consider keeping photographs and written records of all tack and equipment.
  • Invest in secure storage units, kitemarked to BS EN1143-1:2005.

More information on tack marking can be found on the Horse Watch website (opens new window).

Horse security

  • Owners should take colour photographs in both the winter and summer from each side, head and tail and any scars.
  • Consider freeze marking or microchipping horses.
  • All horses need a passport.