Horse owners urged to be vigilant at equine events

Horse owners urged to be vigilant at equine events

Following the recent theft of £16,000 of tack from competitors at the Blue Chip Championships at Hartpury in Gloucestershire,  the NFU Mutual is urging horse owners to be vigilant at equine events.

The theft of tack is the most common theft claim made. The insurer paid out over £243,000 in claims for stolen tack during 2010, with the theft of trailers the second most common claim.

Commenting on the problem of theft at equine events, Nicki Whittaker at NFU Mutual, said: “During an event, owners are often distracted and the security of their equipment and personal belongings is the last thing on their mind. It is quite common to walk around a showground and see lorries and trailers left open and even personal belongings such as handbags and mobile phones left in the cab of the horsebox or on the front seat of a car.

“Items of tack, car keys and purses are the most common items stolen and, in the hustle and bustle of an event, it is unlikely anyone would question someone walking around carrying a saddle and bridle. Thieves can calmly carry items of tack to a waiting vehicle without being challenged and one lady had her Land-Rover stolen after thieves firstly stole the keys from her handbag.”

Even when tack is marked, recovering stolen items is not always straightforward as they can end up being offered for sale hundred of miles away from where they were stolen. Unfortunately, the recovery of such items is often reliant upon the buyer knowing how to check if the tack has been stolen and notifying the police of any suspicions.

Whittaker concluded: “Complacence amongst competitors is a thief’s best friend. Simple measures such as such as improving security, remaining vigilant and not leaving items of value on display make it harder for thieves to target your property and sends a strong message to criminals operating at equine events – you are being watched!”

Security guidance
ü        Never leave tack and equipment lying around at an event as this is very tempting for opportunist thieves - if it is not in use, it is much safer locked in a tack locker or in then boot of the car .
ü        Amid the excitement of a show or event, do not forget that thieves may be on the prowl – keep valuables out of sight and lock your vehicle when you leave it or make sure someone stays with the vehicle.
ü        Have all your items of tack marked or fitted with a microchip tag.
ü        Keep your vehicle keys with you at all times or hand them to a friend or family member to safeguard whilst you are competing.
ü        Tack claims are very disruptive, so precautions to avoid a loss are far preferable to the hassle of replacing tack.
ü        Make sure you have adequate insurance for your tack and personal belongings.
ü        Underinsurance (and lack of insurance) is a big problem as far as claims are concerned - while customers may insure a brand new saddle for the purchase price they also need to ensure that older saddles are covered for what it would cost to replace them with new, plus ensuring they've got the cost of stirrups, leathers, girth, numnah   etc included either in the saddle's sum insured or under general tack
ü        If you see anything suspicious, notify the show organiser or the police and make a note of the person’s appearance and vehicle details