Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Tack Theft

Staying with the tack theme, this week is slightly reminiscent and also relevant to current times.

So, story time. Apparently people like to steal my shit. I think I am cursed with a sign on my forehead that says “please, take all my shit, its not like I can afford replacements” and everything that I own that says, “please, take me!!!”, but I have gotten my tack and apparel stolen from me on the regular.

The first incident was a while ago. I don’t know if any of you remember this, but ALL my tack (yes all of it) was stolen out of my barn and horse trailer. This was about 6 years ago when I was home on summer break.

I know you’re thinking, ‘well, that was stupid, why didn’t you keep it locked up or something?

You’re so right.

I was incredibly naïve, thinking we lived far enough away in the country that NO ONE would know I had thousands of dollars worth of tack hiding in my shitty run down barn and horse trailer, but god bless it someone did. What pissed me off more is that it HAD to have been a friend, because no one else would know a) where I live b) that my tack was worth that much and c)see my shitty barn and think, “I’m gonna ramsack that dump”.

Bunch o’ bitches!!

Once I got over my anger from that, I was more sad than anything. I had worked so hard to save money to buy nice things and ALL of it got taken from me in one night. I’m talking bridles, breastplates, saddles (THREE OF THEM) and girths. ALL. OF. IT.

I was devastated and rebuilding my collection was so slow. I “luckily” had one saddle leftover; because I NEVER used it (too small) it was stored in the garage and missed the thievery.

a 16 inch saddle does not fit this 18 inch ass
 I used that jump saddle (Crosby) for literal years, and just replaced it this year with a properly fitting saddle. It actually was my favorite, but never fit me past age 12. Along the way I also acquired a Burney Bro’s saddle that I adored; I purchased this because the Crosby fit neither Yankee, nor myself. It was also very cheap (in the, I-paid-600-dollars-for-this-dead-cow cheap), did not fit me and bought from an ex-boyfriend (LOL) so I got a good deal.  Anyone who rides in it loves it, and it is awesome, just too small for me. 

Le Burney Bros

Still did not fit me

However, did not fit B at all, wheras the Crosby did…but that saddle fit me even less than the 17in Burney. NOTHING FITS ME, its a curse. Enter the ETT steal, a 18.5 Marcel Toulouse I got for less than half the retail price this January. WIN.

Backing up.

Then, there was replacing my Isabelle Werth dressage saddle that got stolen—my love. God, I was heartbroken. Luckily, I found a County saddle on Ebay that fit the bill and it was like Christmas getting it in the mail. I never had the luxury of testing and trying saddles or spending thousands on a nice saddle, so I always just crossed my fingers and hoped the second hand things I found would work. THANKFULLY it fit the horse, because this was small fortune for me in college (still is).

the only unmounted pic I could find of it
Along the way I also acquired several very nice bridles and breastplates through gifts, tack scrounging and mostly recently, ETT. Girths are easy to come by too.

However, through all these years since the first incident, I have lived absolutely paranoid my shit will get stolen again. I literally never let saddles leave my sight at shows, and used to always take them home from the barn in MO, until my house was robbed (HAHAHA YES THIS HAPPENED, what is my life). Luckily, the thieves did not recognize the worth of my tack and left it, but took all the electronics and whatnot. Whatever. I will never have nice things again.

I also never thought that someone would steal clothes, until my ENTIRE set of show clothes including my helmet, XC vest, boots, coat etc was taken at Champagne Run 2 years ago and I haven’t gotten around to replacing most of it because money. They must have seen it all in the garment bag and though, ‘omg how nice of this person, gathering it all up for me in one convenient package, imma take it, BYEEE’. Literally while I as in the bathroom….I cannot watch my shit at all times and keep eyes on everyone. God I hate people. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. AT A SHOW. Easily about $1,800 right there, gone. Fuckers.


After that, I got my shit insured, like, all of it. It was easy to put on my renters insurance, which is attached as a rider to my car insurance.  I should have done this ages ago, and I generally do not fear leaving it all at the barn anymore.

Until recently….

Things have been disappearing from my tack box…

 First it was a martingale attachment. I thought nothing of it, and it was easy and cheap to replace. Whatever. Then it was a girth. Okay, maybe someone confused it with theirs but it was a TSF girth and I was HIGHLY annoyed. No one owned up to it when I asked. THEN a nathe bit I borrowed and ended up having to pay for because someone took it, even though B didn't like it. Worst was, it was stolen right off my bridle. I. WAS. PISSED. Lastly, some schooling boots I had. Not the worst loss ever, but, um, still mine.

We had two shady boarders that ended up getting kicked out and I am hoping it was them, because I can’t foresee any of our original boarder gang doing such a thing. BUT STILL. I am out items and I am not happy.

I am also worried with 40 extra boarders now that things might…disappear. I don’t know everyone and all our things are in very close quarters, easily mixed up, etc.

For the most part right now, half my things live in my parents old barn (winter blankets, spare wraps, polos, saddle pads etc) and the spare leather goods (boots, martingales, breastplates, the 7 nosebands I somehow hoarded) live in my car until our tack room is completed. BUT. I am anxious again about things possibly disappearing. Not just because of boarders; the new barn is off a slightly busier country road and the driveway is so long its mistaken by drivers as an actual road sometimes, and then they see horses and drive all the way down and get out and WANDER AROUND, oh my lort, it scares me. Not just because of our leather goods but because horses!! What if someone fed them something or tried to steal them, or our tack or OUR TRAILERS.

God, it gives me anxiety. Luckily my boys are in the far pasture and good luck to anyone trying to steal B, he will probably kill you. Yankee would follow anyone though….

Yankee, in dog form

So, I  took to getting a trailer lock for my trailer, and I also put name tags on literally everything I own, leather and blankets. Also both boys got microchips. Not sure what to do about large pieces of tack, but at least its all insured and I can just hope no one--boarder or stranger, steals it.

I want to suggest to BO maybe putting a code on the tack room door, or gate at our driveway…but with 60 boarders I can see that never actually staying closed/people sharing passwords with friends and family defeating the purpose.

I am paranoid. Help.

So what I want to know this week is what all of you do to keep your horses, tack and equipment safe and locked down. Do you keep it/them at home, locked away in the house? Do you insure it/them? Does it live at the barn in a locked tack room? Do you do nothing and hope for the best? Tell me dear readers, what do?


  1. People are the worst 😑 I have a locked tack room at my house where I keep 90% of my tack, but some of my nice stuff is at the barn where I keep Ruby.... Not gonna lie, it makes me nervous sometimes to have it there. The tack room is only unlocked when there is someone on the property, but still. Ugh. Why can't people just not be shitty??? Don't take shit that isn't your, mkay? Perfect. Everyone's happy.

  2. HOLY CRAP. That is pretty much the worst story of tack thievery I have ever read, times 3. I really feel for you.

    Mine is so minor in comparison, but the barn I RECENTLY BOARDED AT (I'm looking at you, eventing barn) my girth disappeared, I showed up one day to find my bridle being used on a school horse in a lunge line lesson (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, EVENTING TRAINER). And I strongly suspect my saddle was used in their IEA lessons.

    What the actual fuck is wrong with people, that they think they are entitled to other people's things???

  3. people are awful. I used to be really paranoid about my shit getting stolen, especially my saddles. They got locked up always. I used to lock my trunk but I realized I don't have anything in there I mind people 'borrowing'. My barn isn't as big as yours tho.

    ugh my heart hurts for you that ALL your stuff got stolen. there's like some kind of barcode thing for saddle security if i remember correctly, maybe do that for the saddles? Or just keep them with you. At all times. Forever.

  4. Jesus christ people are the actual worst.

    Lock all of that shit. I've heard of people microchipping saddles... or I know for a while those QR code tags were a thing. I'd be tempted to get locking everything after your experience - locking saddle racks, a big ass thick wood tack locker bolted to the wall with lots of locks... something. I've had little shit happen here and there (someone moved my horse trailer because I was in their spot, we had annoying teenage boarders who took shit, etc) but I've never lost anything significant.

    I think nameplates and tags are a good way to deter small time "I'll just borrow this" type people but I'd definitely share your experience with your barn owner if they're a relatively sane person. If you get a tack locker, put locks on it. I've seen locking saddle racks which might be an option; I've got my saddle serial numbers photographed but haven't gone as far as to microchip them or use some of the methods I've seen (branding, those QR code plate things) because, honestly... nothing I own cost over 700$. I don't want to have to replace anything, but at the same time... a lot of the protections cost money and I already spent all of mine acquiring the pretties. Speaking of... I should make sure they're covered under my insurance...

  5. What the heck is WRONG with people?! I just don't get it, especially since I'm the kind of person who will GLADLY lend just about anything, if a person just asks nicely. Luckily I have never had my things taken beyond a bottle of fly spray or something dumb like that, and have never locked up my tack. It's just awful that you've been stolen from so many times!!

  6. Ugh, that is the worst! I can't believe they took a bit right off a bridle! I keep the majority of my tack locked in my trailer at the barn. We have open tack rooms with no locks or even doors (don't ask me why that seems to be a good idea for a tack room) and tons of different boarders. So far a complete western bridle, some brushes, a couple dressage whips and now a dressage girth have walked away... It makes me so upset. My name is literally sharpie'd or nameplated on everything.

  7. That really fucking sucks and I am so sorry it happened to you :( I remember one barn in our town was regularly ripped off I think by an old disgruntled employee. Never underestimate old employees coming back and ransacking the village so to speak.

  8. Well that's just rotten. I used to be really obnoxious about labeling everything, but I've toned it down a lot. In barn borrowing would be difficult because my stuff is really distinctive and I'm pretty much there every day. Haven't dealt with outright theft. Yikes. Do not like thinking about that at all.

  9. I keep most of my stuff in my house. Most home burglars aren't going to know what it is and won't touch it. My "away" stuff (horse show stuff that lives in the trailer) is all extremely obnoxiously colored. Over the years, I have amassed a collection of neon yellow, green and orange buckets, lunge lines, spare halters, lead ropes and whips that would make any would-be thief's eyes bleed. Nobody even wants to steal my stuff, but if they did I could spot it across the show grounds.

  10. I ride and board at a small private barn, and our tack room is locked every night. I also have my precious Antares saddle insured bc not only is it a PITA to replace a saddle, the thing was frickin expensive. I'm generally pretty careful with leaving my stuff around (I don't) and since it's mostly adults at our barn, things really never grow legs and walk away, save for a few lead ropes that ended up reappearing a few days later. However, when I lived in Texas, I kept my Stanley trunk locked up tight to prevent the children (read: teenagers) from thinking "Jenn won't mind if i borrow this!" and never seeing my stuff again. While I don't own a ton of super nice tack, it's more about preventing theft because it can be a PITA to replace, not to mention, being out the money.

  11. We had a major string of theft in the Louisville area a couple of years ago. It was very weird, as whoever it was stole very specific things. They did not really steal the most expensive saddles. Almost seemed like they were shopping for a specific horse. Farm equipment also stolen. It was bizarre. I think a few bridles were eventually recovered. We ended up getting those locks with a code and just gave boarders the code of course. Someone also had their horse trailer stolen. It was found at a racing stable about 15 miles away. Call local tack shops, see if anything fitting descriptions of yours have been consigned. Also watch ebay. Seems futile but you could get lucky. I made a call to the Hitching Post (tack store) and the guy IMMEDIATELY gave me the name of a woman who had been stealing from him for years. Turns out, she was a former boarder at the farm I was at. We could never prove she did it, but she sure knew when no one would be at the farm.

  12. I keep a lot of stuff at home and lock up what I can at the barn. I also write my horses name in sharpie on pretty much everything else, often with "Please DO NOT use!" I've been luckier than you, but all the little things I "lose" like scissors, gloves, detangler sprays, xc boots, spare reins, leathers, girth etc add up to a big bill every year!

  13. That's crazy! The only thing I ever experience close to that was when I was leaving a barn (I had given notice but it was like the 20th and I wasn't leaving until the 30th) someone dumped the contents of my locker into the lost and found. I lost a halter and some feed buckets somehow through that... which irritated me.

  14. What the what?!? Such a nightmare, I can't even imagine. I keep my halter/leadrope right next to Tesla's stall (for convenience/emergencies, etc.) and I came out one night to find the lead rope missing...and after scrounging around I found it connected to another horse's is maroon and green braided - so crazy distinct... I like the idea of putting the little bridle tags on everything....ordering now....

  15. Someone stole your bit right off your bridle??? That's just shameful.
    I have been super lucky in terms of theft. There have been plenty of opportunities for someone to nick off with armfuls of my gear. My car & garage have been broken into but luckily junkies don't know how expensive saddles are!
    I keep really valuable stuff in my house. My paddock shed is padlocked & I don't keep anything super spesh out there....

  16. Dude that sucks! There are some shows you have to be careful because people will tie up to your horse truck and saddle their horse with your gear and ride off the Showgrounds but I'm lucky that apart from the very fluid gear borrowing between me and my bestie I haven't lost anything

  17. I've had stuff stolen and it really does suck :-( Nothing worse than some low life helping themselves to your hard earned possessions! Do you have a lockable tack trunk (if you're really paranoid, you could even chain the trunk to something)? You could also suggested that your BO put up some fake/dummy security cameras (presuming they don't want to pay for the real thing).

  18. Oh god I just got the worst bout of anxiety. I've always had a personal tack room that I kept locked growing up and when I moved to ID I had a shared tack room. I kept a lot of shit at home and luckily everyone was too dumb and redneck to know what was actually worth money and would steal the shitty western saddles. Anyways the next barn I moved to had a coded tack room so no major theft there..but then I had to move my stuff home. Yesterday night the light was on in my tackroom. And no one has been in there in a few days. I threw up a little. Luckily nothing was gone, but my door for it is a piece of shit and doesn't have a lock so I'm buying a 100lb door and bolting it shut. My house is right off a main country road and I'm honestly so scared of something like that happening.

  19. Wow, that really sucks. When I'm at a show I take all of my expensive tack home/to the hotel with me each night, but thankfully haven't had to deal with it happening at a boarding barn yet.

  20. This is one of the many reasons I couldn't handle boarding... I'm too paranoid and anxious. I keep all of my stuff locked in my car except for his winter blanket which is on my screened porch with the attack squirrel. All of my stuff is at home obviously since I don't board. There is always someone home, we have a gate and dogs, and guns lol. People don't mess with us thank goodness. I can't imagine all of that happening... That's horrible. Getting insured and microchips is smart. I want to do both of those things. I worry about getting in a wreck and all my stuff getting stolen if they tow my car.... I'd lose everything... I hope your stuff starts safe at the new barn.