As well as a normal freezemarking service, this company offers a personalised branding service. Customers can choose from either letters or numbers providing the combination has not already been used. Customers can also make use of the 24-hour helpline in the event of theft or straying.

Cost: Prices start at £44.95 for one horse including the first year’s registration and VAT, 2-5 cost £39.95, 6-10 cost £35.95, while 11 or more are subject to arrangement.

Annual registration costs £10 per horse by standing order.

For more information contact Freezemark Ltd. (tel: 01295 690090) or email mary@freezemark.ltd.uk

Ear Tattooing

This method of identification is really only suitable for dogs and involves a permanent tattoobeing placed on the inside of the ear.

The National Dog Tattoo Register

This method requires no anaesthetic or sedation and leaves a permanent and visible identification mark in just seconds.

Cost: It costs £7 to a tattoo a puppy’s ear, while an adult dog costs £20.

For more information or to locate your nearest tattooist visit: www.dog-register.co.uk

Hoof branding

Equibrand

Equibrand supplies hoof branding irons that allow your horse or ponies’ feet to be permanently marked with your postcode. Rebranding is normally necessary twice a year and can be done by your farrier when he shoes your horse.

The branding irons come in two sizes, 9mm and 12mm, and are available in either a forge heated or electrically heated version.

Cost: Forge heated branding irons retail for around £160 while the electrically heated version starts at around £340.

For more information contact Equibrand (tel: 01327 262444) or visit: www.equibrand.co.uk .

Safeguarding your property

There are a number of things you can to make your yard more secure and to prevent theft. By following a few simple guidelines you could help make the life of a would-be thief very difficult.

  • Nosy neighbours can be good neighbours, particularly if your horses or yard are isolated. They are often the ones who notice suspiciously parked cars or unusual circumstances.
  • Don’t be afraid to question strangers lurking around your property, but don’t put yourself at risk. It does not hurt to be suspicious.
  • Consider installing burglar alarms and security lighting. Openly display signs that your property has been security marked.
  • Check your insurance policy. Most insurance companies insist that tack room doors are locked with a mortice lock. Check for clauses such as “new for old”.
  • Do not mark which door is the entrance to the tack room. Secure all doors with substantial padlocks (but never padlock a stable door if an animal is inside).
  • Check that all gates are secured with padlocks and have hinges fitted so that the gate cannot be lifted off.
  • Ensure that your fences and hedges are in a good state of repair and that there are no gaps or sagging fences to provide easy access for thieves.
  • Develop a routine of checking and double-checking before you leave your animals/property.
  • Rugs can be marked with permanent markers using stencils, or with plastic lettering.
  • Have tack marked either with a microchip, by engraving the stirrup bars or die-stamping the leather.

For more information contact your local crime prevention officer through your police station.

Information courtesy of Horsewatch, for more information visit: www.ukhorsewatch.org.uk

Read the full feature on stable security in this week’s Horse & Hound (12 June 2003), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse& Hound delivered to your door every week.