Protecting Against Theft

Unfortunately, there has been a huge spike in horse related thefts lately. I've heard of entire yards being emptied and horseboxes being stolen in broad daylight. The thieves seem to have gotten very cocky and have no fear of being caught.

Most security precautions only protect items up to the point of theft but not beyond. But what can be done to guard items once they have been stolen? You need to make sure your items are permanently marked so that they can be identified at a later date. Warning labels and stickers are important too - if they make a thief go elsewhere then they have done their job!

Identifying weak spots is a good place to start. Leaving tack unattended at shows and leaving car doors unlocked are one of the most common mistakes. As is leaving rugs out to dry, leaving a tackroom open or leaving a horsebox unprotected at a yard. Tack, rugs and other gear aren't cheap and it only takes one opportunist thief to clear you out.

Tack Room

  • A Security door: Many of these are also drill proof and would require special devices to open them. Most thieves aren't going to draw attention to themselves by attempting to break through a steel door!
  • CCTV Systems: These provide a deterrent to potential thieves. They can also be used to identify people. 
  • Alarms: There are a few phone watch companies in place. These will contact you (and the police at your request) should there be a break in or unusual activity. 
  • Padlocks: The bigger and stronger the better. Smaller ones can be snipped open using bolt cutters.
  • Windows: These are a common point of access. Bars should be placed on the inside. Bars on the outside are easily removed.
  • Hinges: make sure these cannot be unscrewed. It will make a thief think twice about removing the door!

Tack & Equipment

Tack and rugs are attractive to thieves as they are easy to sell on and not easily identifiable. Horseboxes are at risk too. The potential profit easily outweighs the planning and organisation that it takes to steal such a large item. They prefer new and expensive items as they are both in demand and have a high selling price.
  • Microchipping: Microchips are inserted into the tack. These are read with a scanner and can be checked against a database. However this method only works if stolen tack is scanned.
  • UV Light: Tack is marked using UV markers. This leaves tack looking normal, however it displays information when viewed under a UV light. Thieves wouldn't know tack is marked , but if any stolen property was ever recovered it could be identified. This method only works if tack is checked using a UV light. 
  • Stamping: Leather can be stamped with your phone number or Eircode. This is a permanent physical deterrent that makes stolen tack easily identifiable . 
  • Locks: Bulldog products also do a wall bracket that locks your saddle into place. 


  • Painting on Surname/Phone Number: Enamel paint is perfect. It shouldn't rub, fade of wash off. Emulsion paint will need to be redone every year as it washes out. This will, however, affect the resale value. Marking rugs in this way has the added bonus of allowing others to contact you should your horses escape!
  • Sew On/Heat Transfer Letters: Bear in mind that if these are removable!
  • Locks: I've also heard of extreme cases where owners have had to use locks on the front of their rugs to, essentially, lock their horses into their rugs.


  • Locks: Bulldog products do hitch locks that can be used while the box is being pulled but also while it is stood up in a yard. These have the advantage that you can lock your horsebox to your jeep - ideal if you leave your box unattended at shows or the beach!
  • GPS Tracking: These can be used to track and locate a missing horsebox. 

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