Precautions Against Horse Theft

You love your horse that is why theft is always a concern for horse owners. While you can’t be with your horses 24 hours a day, you can be proactive and minimize the risk of equine theft.


Identify your horse

Horses with visible identification, such as a freeze brand, are less appealing to thieves. Tattoos and microchips can also permanently identify your horse, making it easier to reestablish ownership if he should ever be stolen. Be aware, though, microchips aren’t a surefire identification strategy, since there are multiple kinds of microchips which require different scanners to read them.

Maintain current records

Keep up-to-date records on every horse. Include copies of all ownership papers. Also include photos which could help to identify your horse. Take photos of facial markings, unusual coat whorls, scars, permanent blemishes, and your horse’s tattoo or freeze brand, if he has one. If your horse is microchipped, include a copy of his microchip registration in your records, as well.

Observe your farm carefully

Know who should be present at your farm, and when. Keep an eye out for unfamiliar people or vehicles, especially if they appear repeatedly. Take note of the make, color, and license plate of strange vehicles, if possible.

Make trailers inaccessible

Store your horse trailers out of sight and far from the road. Keep them locked, and keep hitch locks on them with the keys stored securely. Also be sure to lock your trucks and remove the keys.

Post signs

Posting signs around your property can help to prevent theft. “Beware of Dog” signs, or signs which identify that a security system is in place can be helpful. Also consider posting signs on the horse stall doors stating that each horse is microchipped.

Consider paddock safety

Try to avoid ever locating paddock gates close to the road. If you do have gates which border the road, make sure that they are heavy-duty and always kept chained and locked. When you turn out your horses, remove their halters and take their halters back into the barn – this would make horses more difficult for a thief to catch.

Make your farm unappealing

Little measures, such as keeping property gates closed, can help deter thieves. If you don’t already have them, install security lights on your farm to draw attention to movement and to make it more difficult to approach the barns without alerting others. Try to frequently alter your routine, and consider investing in a security system for your barn.

Keep your farm well-attended

A clearly inhabited house on the barn’s property is a major deterrent to thieves. Make sure that lights are on at night, and try to always leave a vehicle in the driveway, even if no one is actually home. If you go away for a few days, invest in a house- and barn-sitter who can stay overnight at the house to be a presence on the grounds.

Stay in touch with your neighbors

Your neighbors can be powerful allies in preventing equine theft. Let them know who is supposed to be present at your farm, and have them keep an eye out for unusual activity. Offer to do the same for them, and keep in touch to update each other about any concerns seen in your neighborhood.

Plan ahead and stay alert to head off horse theft before it can occur. Make yourself very present on the premises, and keep your barn well-attended and monitored. Report any suspicious activity you observe to the police, and be proactive to avoid horse theft.

Image Source: Photography by Brittany Sparham

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