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Horse and pony security

Every year we take reports of quantities of equine equipment having been stolen, in particular tack and rugs. It is very rare for horses to be stolen, however it is wise to take sensible precautions for their security.

To prevent these crimes, horse owners should ensure that:

  • Your horses and ponies are freeze or hoof marked and micro-chipped, with their details up-to-date and on a national database.
  • Your horse passport is up to date and has a record of your horse’s marks.
  • All your tack is postcoded, tagged, micro-chipped, freeze marked, engraved or chemically marked.
  • Consider security of your horse box or trailer by parking it in a well lit area and ensure that all doors and ramps are locked and consider use of wheel-clamps, ground anchors and hitch-locks as well as alarms and immobilizers.
  • Tack rooms are not ‘named’ but are securely locked with a five-lever mortice lock to comply with insurance policies. Your tack room should be constructed of brick or concrete block. If it is constructed of wood then it can be reinforced with steel plate or mesh. Windows should be protected with bars and grills and doors and door frames should be reinforced with steel. Saddles and bridles should be locked to their racks.

Stable yard security

  • Robust fences and hedges with secure gates prevent horses straying and thieves from getting close to the property.
  • Gates are made more of a deterrent if they are chained and hinges protected with anti-lift locks.
  • Refrain from leaving head-collars and lead ropes in fields as they could be used by thieves to remove horses.
  • At entrances to remote stable yards display signs warning thieves that your horses and tack are security marked.
  • Position your stables, tack room and valuable vehicles close to your main where they can be clearly observed.
  • Consider your use of lighting particularly if it is dusk to dawn.
  • Some stable yards make use of alarms and even CCTV. Keeping dogs in the stable complex could also be considered, to raise the alarm.
  • Visitors to the stable yard should be escorted and restricted in their access to the site.

Tangled or ‘plaited’ manes

From time to time we get reports of horse owners finding plaits or unusual tangles in their horses’ manes.

In most cases, this has probably been caused by the mane getting tangled by the wind, mud or plants like thistles, and is nothing to be concerned about.

There is a rumour that these plaits are a marker for the theft of the horse, which does cause worry. However, we are not aware of any link between tangled manes and horse thefts.

Nevertheless, please be vigilant. Horses, stables and tack rooms can be a target for criminals, and it’s worth taking every possible step to protect your horse and property.


You can also follow our Horsewatch scheme on social media – via NYP Horsewatch on Facebook, and @NYP_Horsewatch on Twitter – so you can find out about future events and be made aware of any equestrian crimes in your area.

To get in touch with the scheme, email horsewatch@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Horse and equipment identification pack[pdf]