How would you feel if someone stole your tack? Your beloved saddle that fits your horse like a glove, or their new, anatomically designed bridle that they love and you saved up your hard-earned pennies to buy? You would probably be angry, upset and frustrated, not least because your training and competition plans will be disrupted until you replace the stolen items. Good quality tack also represents a significant investment of your money and the time you spent researching, fitting and taking care of it.
That’s why it’s so important to take steps to keep your tack secure at home and at events. We’ve come up with ideas to help you protect your tack at all times, some of which are straightforward and easy to put in place. Others might take a little more effort, but they are all worth it in the long run if they help you keep your tack safe , secure and out of sight of thieves.
Tips to keep your tack secure at home
- First things first, take a look at the yard as a whole and check how easy it is for people to gain access. Is there a gate you can lock at night, and is the tack room easy to spot and access?
- Then make sure the tack room itself has a secure lock for quieter times and overnight, and if there are windows, look into getting bars fitted to stop someone smashing them to gain access.
- If your yard is very busy during the day and fully locking the tack room or gates isn’t possible, consider a locking keypad and a code for daytime use.
- When you’re securing your gates and doors, invest in the best locks, padlocks, chains and other equipment that you can afford, as cheap security products really are a false economy!
- Look into having CCTV and motion-sensor security lights installed to cover the area around the tack room. Obviously, security lights near the stables will be set off by horses and other yard animals so this may not please any closer neighbours or allow the horses to get enough rest, but a single light near the tack room could be a good deterrent.
- If it’s not possible to secure your property as much as you would like, you can purchase tack lockers that can be secured to the tack room floor with bolts, and place saddles, bridles and other high-value items in them.
- Purchase a tack marking kit (these can be a set of metal stamps with letters and numbers for postcodes, phone numbers and names) or a Datatag saddle marking kit, or see if your local HorseWatch can come and do it for free.
- Horse & Hound magazine also recommends taking an inventory of your tack room if you have a lot in there, so it’s easier to track if something goes missing. It also allows you to ‘check’ items in and out if people borrow them and even photograph saddles, bridles and other valuable tack for insurance records.
Tips to keep your tack secure at events and clinics
- Even though it’s tempting to let nerves or excitement distract you at shows, it’s important to stay vigilant when you’re out and about. Don’t forget to pop valuables and tack in your car or lorry (and lock it in!) when you’re course walking, registering and even grabbing a burger or a bacon butty from the catering van…
- Make sure you know exactly what you’ve taken with you so that you can check it all back into the lorry, trailer or tack locker at the end of the day – this also helps you make sure you’ve packed everything the day before!
- If you have a little extra budget to spend, take a look at the secure mobile tack lockers on the market and speak to brand representatives to see what they recommend for your setup.
- Ensure all tack and rugs you take to clinics, shows and competitions are clearly marked, just in case a fellow competitor accidentally picks up your kit instead of theirs.
If the worst happens then make sure you report the theft and then try to make the stolen goods too hot to handle. Posting on local equine Facebook pages and contacting the event management if you’re away from home are both a great idea in the short term.