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U.S.A.: Tack, Trailers, and Equipment Theft
Posted on Saturday, October 01 @ 13:53:20 MST by donna

Horse Tips and Suggestions Here’s a question for you: What is the next
best thing for a thief to steal other than your horse? Your tack or trailers! As you know, these essentials to our riding pleasure are very expensive. How many of you mark your tack or take good precautions to prevent the theft of these valuable items? Remember, it’s YOUR responsibility to safeguard your property.

The information below belongs to Stolen Horse International,, the first and only 'one of a kind' 501c3 organization. Dedicated to victims of theft, your will find theft and horse ID educational information and horse identification contacts and products. Home to the Idaho Alert for missing horses and the NetPosse Volunteer network...visit today!
copyright (c) Stolen Horse International 2003 All rights reserved. SHI's information may not be copied in any form without permission

Tack theft is a very good way for thieves to easily make money. Consider, for just a moment, the price of a show saddle: Hundreds, even thousands, of dollars! It’s absolutely imperative that you mark your property, lock it up, and enlist someone to watch your trailers, tack boxes, and equipment.

Tack, trailers, and equipment are even harder than horses for law enforcement officers to track. Let’s say you’ve not done your job and your saddle gets stolen. You call an officer and give a description. “My saddle is brown,” you say. How on earth could this saddle possibly be tracked? So, you add, “It has this special kind of silver or color that makes it unique.” Folks, this is simply not enough for us to make a positive identification. In fact, in most states, it’s not even enough probable cause for an officer to obtain a search warrant to check a location for it. Help yourselves by helping the officers beforehand. Mark your items.

The following is a true story about how thieves can operate during a show.

A fair comes to town and livestock shows are the main event for several days. It’s easy for the thieves to learn just who is going to be participating in the shows. How? The fair program lists what animals, farms, or ranches are competing!

Many people proudly wear some type of cap or clothing emblazoned with the name of their ranch or farm. Certainly, this shows pride in their ranch or farm, but guess what? It also makes it easier for thieves to figure out who that person is and where he or she will be on a given day.

To learn the location of specific trailers, only a few simple questions need to be asked around the barn area: “Excuse me; I’m looking for John Jones. Do you know where his trailer’s parked?” To make it even easier, most fairs have cow people in one area near the cow barns, and horse people in another area near the horse barns. With the help of the show program, the thieves now know where their victim’s property is located, and where the victim will be at a certain time. They know how long they have to go through a trailer because the event times are printed on the show program. Just think, if you saw someone lugging a saddle around near the trailers at a horse show, would you think anything of it? Likely not—this is certainly a common sight. If you saw someone enter a trailer or camper, would you think anything was going on? No, not unless you knew exactly who the camper or trailer belonged to. Hours later, the victim returns and finds his trailer and camper ransacked. Cash, credit cards, saddles, tack, and anything else of value is gone.

I investigated a similar case two years ago. I never found the thief. The fair ended and the thefts stopped. The fingerprints I found came back with no matches. There were no further leads, and the investigation ended.

To sum it all up, here are my personal tips on prevention of tack and equipment theft.
  1. Mark your saddles with your driver's license number, initials, or date or birth. Do not use your Social Security number. Mark underneath or on the back so that it doesn’t show, but can be used to positively identify your property.
  2. If you have tack boxes sitting around, lock them. If your boxes do not have locks on them,
    put one on them. Place your boxes inside your trailer or camper, if possible.
  5. My personal preference is to assign one member of the family or staff to stay with the trailers, campers etc. when the shows are going on. A thief does not want attention.
  6. If you have personal items such as credit cards, cash etc. at the camper or trailer, place them inside a safe. You can buy a mobile, fireproof safe at many places. With some locks and a few chains, you can make sure the safe stays put, unless someone has the key. Remember, the thief is on a time clock, and he knows it. Hide the safe in your trailer or camper, if possible.

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