Riders should be more vigilant and lock up their tack at shows, following a string of thefts at high-profile competitions.

Last month, competitors called for better security after around £16,000 worth of tack was stolen at the Blue Chip Championships at Hartpury.

Gloucestershire police said nine lorries were plundered on 13 April. It was the second year running that lorries were burgled at the showjumping fixture.

Then at the Welsh Masters (19-22 April), the Animo tradestand was broken into and stock stolen. So far, nothing has been recovered.

Wales and West Showground’s James Broome says riders need to take more responsibilty. “While the Animo incident was unfortunate, it was a one-off.

What we need to be more worried about is people eaving tack unattended,” he told H&H.

“People must lock stuff up and be more security conscious. What’s the point in having a tack locker if you’re not going to use it?

“It’s often specialist gear that’s being taken. This suggests it’s people who are at the show, which makes it harder for showgrounds to tackle.

“We have stepped up security, but the first thing people do is blame the shows. They need to take responsibility, too – there’s only so much organisers can do.”

He also warned that tack locker keys can be similar, so extra precautions, a padlock for example, should be used.

There were also reports of handbag thefts at Belton and Arena UK recently.

Insurer NFU Mutual said tack theft is the most common theft claim made under its horse and rider policy. The company paid out more than £243,000 for stolen tack during 2010.

Nicki Whittaker of NFU Mutual said: “Tack, car keys and purses are commonly stolen. It is unlikely anyone would question someone walking around carrying a saddle.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (24 May 2012)