Sadly even amongst our own compatriots security at equestrian events is becoming ever more important. We have valuable tack, cameras, handbags, wallets, phones etc as well as horse, dogs and vehicles.
There have been many instances where 1 or more of the above has “gone missing” from the horse box park. Hunts in particular where all the vehicles may be parked at remote spots and left unattended for many hours are regularly targeted. Trailers unhitched and towed away, vehicles broken into.
Basically it is down to common sense! If you are leaving your vehicle unattended then hide valuables well out of site, preferably in a locked compartment, lock the towing vehicle, cab and grooms doors and if the lorry ramp is down lock any connecting doors from living to horse area and/or put the ramp up. Tack lockers should be closed and locked, trailer hitch-locks fitted.
All this may take a few minutes but compared to the hours of grief reporting the theft and then trying to replace missing items that is nothing. Have some sort of clear marking on bridles and saddles at least, so that you can quickly and confidently identify them as yours.
I know at Area events horses should not be left tied up outside a vehicle if there is no one in attendance, but why does that mean you can do it at other events? Horses have gone missing like this, however a loose horse is very dangerous to both itself and the general public. Even the calmest horse in the world can be spooked by a rattling trailer passing behind it and break loose. Either have someone watching them or load them up, making sure there is plenty of ventilation even on a cold day.
Have your name and Club’s name and mobile number on a large card clearly displayed in the windscreen so if anything is amiss or a horse in distress organisers can be made aware and announcements made. A number plate read out over the PA system is often of little use. Look out for your friends or neighbours parked nearby for any problems or suspicious goings on, after all we are all from the same equine community.
Let the event organisers know of suspicious looking people wandering about the horse box park. I have personally had a good camera stolen from our lorry at a very reputable venue with only about 2 or 3 vehicles there, and know of many people who have lost cash, purses, tack etc in the few minutes they nipped back to the secretary’s tent!
If you are sleeping overnight in your lorry make sure all external lockers are locked! Lots of tack has gone missing at big events and championships overnight. With a little effort we can look after our own and other peoples property and cut down on crime at horse shows.
Dominic Langdon-Down, Rother Valley