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The BHS has issued a stern warning to horse owners and riders after an estimated £25,000 worth of tack was stolen from a livery yard near Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Thieves broke in to 17 outbuildings in the early hours of Wednesday morning, making away with 25 saddles and innumerable bridles and leather items. They used the livery yard’s wheelbarrows to ferry the items across three fields, even ripping off the roof of one tack room when they found the door impregnable.

Sharon Adams, manager at Ryknild Livery Stables, explains: “They took just tack, and they left loads of stuff in the hedge, which implies that they ran out of space. They even left a petrol strimmer which they had taken from the office. Their vehicle must have been big though, as they made away with a lot of tack.

“One of the most bizarre things is that they shut all the gates, and they didn’t cut all the strands of the electric fencing. There were horses in the field, and they just cut the lower two so that they could get under, which was nice of them. Or maybe they thought the horses would hinder their operation somehow,” she adds.

“The main problem of course, is that if tack isn’t marked or coded, then it is very hard, if not impossible, to identify it, even if it were found.”

The BHS responded with advice that no valuable tack should be left at yards unless it is securely locked away and people live on the yard. Mortice locks, according to the society, are better than padlocks, which can be easily broken. Post-coding tack is not foolproof, but can be very helpful in identifying retrieved items. Some of their most insistent warnings related to replacing tack after a theft.

A BHS spokesperson said: “If the worst happens, and determined thieves do find a way, don’t immediately replace your equipment and put it back in the tack room. Thieves will give you enough time and then make another raid on your yard.

“Taking saddles and bridles home and bringing them to the stables when necessary may not be so convenient for you, but it is far less convenient for thieves,” she stressed.