A disturbing set of horse-related incidents has been reported in Stornoway, Scotland. Here are 5 common-sense tips to keep your horse safe no matter where you are.
[top image: Chris Court, used under Creative Commons license]
Something strange is going on in Stornoway, Scotland–threatening phone calls, horses being deliberately let out to wander the roads, and even wire snares showing up in horses’ fields are just a few of the mysterious crimes. No one knows who is behind it yet, but it is suspected that the events are related, and that the intent is malicious.
Of course, if someone really wants to get to your horses or tack in the middle of the night, there’s only so much you can do as a horse owner. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your horses from crime.
Lock up everything at night. Lock up the tack room, driveway gate (if you have one) and all of your vehicles. You may also want to put a padlock on the hinged part of gates to prevent an intruder from simply lifting a locked gate off its hinges.
Take off your horse’s halters. Not only can it help to deter horses’ own devious plans (and losing halters out in the field), but it’s an extra step that could deter potential thieves–especially if you keep the halters in the barn or a locked tack room while horses are out. Of course, there are downsides to doing this–you might want to have halters handy in case of some other emergency, or if your horse is hard to catch, keeping his or her halter on might make more sense.
Keep important documents in a secure place. Proof-of-ownership documents, equine passports, even your binder of Coggins–all of these could be used by an unscrupulous person to try to resell or move your horse. Don’t make it easy for them, and keep these things locked up somewhere.
Install security equipment. Even if it’s as simple as a motion sensor-activated light or a sign saying “Smile, You’re on Camera,” suspecting they’re being watched could deter an intruder. And if you suspect someone is coming to your farm who shouldn’t be, surveillance cameras (even ones with night vision!) can be found for under $100. And barn dogs count as security equipment too (even if you know they wouldn’t hurt a fly).
ID your horse. If your horse is lost or stolen, clear pictures taken beforehand will help law enforcement to identify him, and to spread the word via social media. You should also make sure you know the ID numbers for horses with freeze brands or racing tattoos. Other ID options are to microchip your horse, or weave an ID tag into his mane.