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The prospect of having your horse stolen is something that terrifies all owners. But we can take precautions to minimise the risk of being targeted by horse thieves.

Follow Horsewatch Alliance’s expert tips to help protect you and your horses from becoming a target of criminals.

  1. Change your routine regularly and be aware if there are strangers on your yard or in your fields.
  2. If you do see a stranger note down their description as soon as possible so you don’t forget any important facts about their appearance.
  3. Check your fencing daily at close range, as it may appear intact, when it has been cut in preparation for a robbery.
  4. Check your gates to ensure they cannot be opened whilst locked. Ensure the gate cannot be taken off its hinges by turning the bottom hinge upside down and/or weld the tops over.
  5. Monitor your horses’ behaviour — they may appear dopey and be drinking excessive amounts of water if they have been doped ahead of a theft attempt.
  6. Be on guard with potential livery enquiries and unusual interest in your stock. They may be thieves casing your property.
  7. Check the approach to your horses, field or yard for unusual tyre marks, etc.
  8. Freezebrand your horse as it is the only visual deterrent. Any person can read a number whether or not they are involved with horses. Mark your rugs to indicate the horse is marked.
  9. Never leave headcollars on — if you can’t catch your horse the thief can’t either.
  10. Make sure you have good quality photographs of your horses to assist the police in the event of a theft.
  11. Always report suspicious vehicles and individuals the police, your Horsewatch co-ordinator and alert your friends and neighbours.

For more advice on protecting your horse and property visit http://www.ukhorsewatch.org.uk/Info.html