Theft Prevention

Follow these tips to reduce your vulnerability to equipment or horse theft.

From AQHA Alliance Partner Country Living Association, with contributions from Kristin Syverson

Crime in rural areas has become more of a problem today. Isolated rural locations are prime targets for theft. Criminals are able to steal with little chance of being seen.

Even if you don’t live in an isolated rural area, you are not immune to the threat of equipment or horse theft.

    • Put identification numbers on tack and equipment in standard locations, and advertise your participation in an I.D. system. Some local law enforcement agencies have arrangements where you can receive a number from them in case your property is burglarized.
    • Secure your tack and storage rooms with an effective lock.
    • Don’t store important documents or registration papers in your truck or trailer, especially if you regularly leave them unattended by the barn.

Maintaining proper records is just one component of being a responsible horse owner. AQHA's Buying and Owning Your First Horse report helps you sort through all the others. This 17-page report is specially designed to help make sure nothing slips through the cracks when you buy your first horse.

    • Be sure to lock your truck and trailer. Put a lock on your trailer’s hitch, as well. Not only will this save your truck and trailer, it will make it harder for horse thieves to load your horses and drive off with them.
    • Identify your horses through branding, tattooing or microchipping. The thief will be reluctant to take horses that are marked. If a horse is taken, the ownership of a microchipped horse will be easier to prove.
    • Have adequate lighting at the farm. Let nothing go unseen. Light experts recommend a "soft" light that will avoid a sharp contrast between darkness and the illuminated area, making it easier to see.  Consider adding motion detector lights, as well.

Be Prepared for the Unthinkable
Stolen Horse International, a theft-awareness program that strives to prevent horse theft, advises you to keep these records on your horses:

    • Updated photos of your horse with age and season. Make sure the horse fills up the whole photo frame. Take a photo of what your horse looks like muddy. Also, take a photo of a family member with the horse so you have even more proof that the horse is yours if it is stolen.
    • Important legal documents: the bill of sale, Coggins papers and registration numbers. AQHA's large zipper binder is perfect for storing registration papers and other information.
    • Contact list with important phone numbers. Write down the names and phone numbers of your insurance company, veterinarian and the police in your city, county and surrounding areas. If your horse is stolen, you might become nervous and flustered and forget numbers you normally know by heart.

It's easy to get flustered when bad things happen to your horse, especially if you are a first-time owner.  Settle your nerves with the calming influence of AQHA's Buying and Owning Your First Horse report.

Watch for and report any suspicious behavior in your area.

In rural areas, it is important that neighbors watch out for one another. On property where a single owner’s eyes can’t always be the watchdog, it is nice to know that others have your back. If you see any suspicious activity on a neighbor’s property, let your neighbor know.

Don’t be afraid to step in and question unfamiliar visitors to your neighborhood. By working together, neighbors can help lower the number of crimes in their rural community.