No place is safe from thieves. They will come at anything given the opportunity. Keeping that in mind, every individual must take the required security measures to protect their property from such opportunistic criminals.
Stables are a lucrative target for burglars with plenty of valuable assets to steal. Top that off with a lack of security and they become an easy target as well.
Stables don’t just house expensive mounts, tack, and equestrian equipment, but might also attract vandals who enjoy destroying property and hurting and killing innocent animals.
For a horse keeper, there is nothing more distressing than to hear that their horse was stolen or hurt, and sadly, nefarious criminals give no regard to the animals’ wellbeing and will go to any extent to get what they want.
In September of 2020, a horsebox was stolen from stables near Burton Salmon after which the Police issued a security warning to horse owners in North Yorkshire.
With the theft of horses, rugs, and equestrian materials being a common problem for horse owners and an attractive business for thieves, it is crucial to adopt the best security practices to keep it all safe and secure. Read on for our top horse and stable security tips:
TIP # 1: THINK LIKE A THIEF
To catch a thief, you must think like a thief. The best starting point in enhancing your stable security is to single out all the weak spots and vulnerabilities. Once you’ve done that, it will be easier to focus on the main areas and come up with the most practical solutions.
Take a walk around the property and try to assess all the entry and exit points. See if it’s easy for an unauthorised person to break in. If there is any valuable equipment lying around, see how easy it would be to steal it without getting noticed.
Burglars like to case targeted properties to plan out their course of action, therefore, you need to carefully analyse your surroundings and be suspicious of random people and strange vehicles around your property.
TIP # 2: SECURE THE PERIMETER
Perimeter protection is the most basic form of security that acts as the first line of defence against trespassers. What would you do if you wanted someone to stay out of your property? You would build a wall and reinforce it to stop anyone from gaining unauthorised access.
They’ve been building walls, ditches, dikes, and moats throughout history to not just keep intruders at bay but also to serve as a defence against attacks, and there’s a reason it’s still being done; its’s highly effective.
When securing your stable, perimeter fences can help keep intruders out. You must ensure that the fence is sturdy enough to not be easily dismantled. Wooden fences are a much safer option than wires since the latter can easily be clipped apart, and that too fairly quickly.
To add a bonus security measure, you can combine the two, wooden fences and wires, to make it even harder to get in by running an electric wire along the wooden fence board.
You also need to ensure that the gates and fences cannot be simply lifted up and that the main doors and windows are inaccessible by reinforcing them with a sturdy frame, good quality locks, and steel bars.
TIP # 3: LIGHT IT UP
Burglars and intruders hate anything that draws attention to them and makes breaking in difficult. One such thing that puts them in the spotlight (pun intended) is the use of security lights.
A dark, poorly-lit property provides just the right amount of cover and blind spots for criminals trying to sneak their way in without getting noticed.
Illuminating the stable and yard will help put everything in clear view, especially during the night when visibility might be compromised.
However, it is very important to use the right kind of lights and place them strategically around the premises for maximum effectiveness.
Motion sensor lights are an excellent deterrent that automatically turn on as soon as someone steps foot under them. They can be placed outside the stables and at the yard entrance and can be particularly useful in not just scaring intruders from trying to gain access but also alerting the owners and neighbours of the intrusion.
LED lights are a great budget-friendly and energy-efficient option that work well in all kinds of environments. When placing them inside a stable, make sure to put plastic safety covers on them to ensure they don’t cause injury to the horses if the bulb breaks.
Also, make sure all the internal cabling is in conduits since exposed wires may be a hazard to the horses and rodents, and keep the light switches away from the animals and somewhere a horse can’t access them.
TIP # 4: LOCK IT UP
Locks have been used around for centuries to keep property and valuables safe and are one of the most basic forms of security measures one can adopt.
Although it is crucial to keep your property securely locked, many people fail to understand the importance of strong locks and reinforced doors and windows.
Burglars love to break-in through the main doors and windows and are masters at snapping weak locks to gain entry into the premises.
Stables and yards are particularly susceptible to theft due to the valuable items that can easily be stolen if not locked away properly.
Horses must be kept in a secure paddock with a strong padlock on the gate. The fence lines and the security of the gate must be checked to make sure it can’t be easily broken or lifted to gain access.
The horse trailers must be placed away from the barn and all movable objects such as tack, trailers, and other stable equipment must be secured using chains and heavy locks.
All valuable equipment must be kept away from plain sight since high visibility gives would-be thieves an incentive and increases the chances of them getting stolen.
All stable owners must have a complete security assessment of the stable yard done by a professional MLA-approved locksmith and invest in suitable high-quality anti-snap locks and fittings for the property.
They must also be regularly checked for damage and rusting through maintenance checks since opportunistic thieves are always on the lookout for such vulnerabilities and a compromised locking mechanism has the power to put your entire property at risk.
A great alternative for tack room security is to opt for keyless entry systems, also called access control systems, instead of the traditional lock and key method.
Access control systems control, manage, and establish access permissions for users while granting access to authorised people and restricting access for unauthorised ones.
Since keyless entry systems eliminate the need for keys, they use alternative authentication methods to grant or deny access such as access cards, keypads, biometrics, and smart access.
TIP # 5: HORSE IDENTIFICATION
Horses are an attractive target for thieves making horse theft a serious problem in the country. According to the North Yorkshire Police, horses, ponies, and equestrian equipment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds are stolen each year.
Permanent identification in the form of microchipping helps to not just discourage potential thieves but also increase the chances of the animals being recovered and returned to the rightful owners in case of being stolen.
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), microchipping is a legal requirement for all horses, ponies, and donkeys since it allows the local authorities to easily track down the stolen animals.
There are other forms of permanent identification methods such as freeze-marking and hot branding, but they are more painful than microchipping and cause suffering to the animal.
Animals must be given love and respect and, therefore, horse owners must opt for the least painful method to keep their beloved mounts safe and secure.
Take photos of the horses from all sides, particularly if they have unique marks or scars, and keep the details of the markings in a safe place to be used in case they get stolen. Also, make sure to keep the horse’s passport locked away since they can’t be sold without them.
TIP # 6: HORSE WATCH SCHEME
The Horse Watch scheme is an initiative that helps fight horse theft in rural areas where members of the equine community need to work together and create a secure environment for their horses, equipment, property, and vehicles.
Horse Watch members work along the same lines as the Neighbourhood watch and keep an eye out for their own horses along with the neighbours’ horses and stables and any security breaches on either property.
One of the scheme’s main aims is to encourage members to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, which may include identifying strange people and unfamiliar vehicles and informing the police right away.
TIP # 7: GET A SECURITY DOG
Dogs aren’t just lovable pets and friends but also serve as a great security investment for stable owners. They have been used to protect livestock and property for ages and are extremely dependable in doing so.
Most dog breeds get along with horses really well and can be trained to keep intruders out of the property. They can pick up on discrepancies in their surroundings, such as certain words, voices, and body language, and can evaluate situations to understand what is a threat and what isn’t.
Their ability to react quickly, coupled with their inherently curious nature of roaming around and sniffing things ensures that no suspicious behaviour goes unnoticed and that action is always taken. The first reaction that they give out is a loud bark, which is sometimes enough to startle the intruders.
Even non-aggressive dog breeds bark at the sign of an intruder, making them a living and breathing burglar alarm. Some of the best dog breeds for security include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Akitas, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
Other noisy pets that can be used to deter thieves and potentially stop a crime from happening include geese, llamas, and parrots.
TIP # 8: BURGLAR ALARMS
Despite how effective dogs and other noisy animals are at keeping intruders at bay, there are a few loopholes when it comes to relying on them completely for your security.
For one, they can sometimes easily be lured in with treats and be harmed or stolen. All animals are at risk of theft and conniving criminals know exactly how to remove them from their way.
To counteract this issue and to ensure the safety of your horses, stables, and security animals, there are other technologically advanced security measures that you can take for maximum protection along with the aforementioned tips.
Burglar alarms work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect any suspicious activity, notifying the owners, keyholders, or anyone in charge to take the necessary action.
They come in different types and offer varying levels of protection. Depending on the security risk and the size and location of the stable, you can choose between bells-only, dialler, smart, and monitored burglar alarms.
Bells-only burglar alarms offer the most basic level of protection and sound an alarm when triggered. They rely on the owners, neighbours, and passers-by to hear and respond to the alarm. Dialler alarms do the same with the addition of contacting relevant people in the event of an alarm trigger.
With smart burglar alarms, the systems are connected to your smart devices allowing you to control them remotely and through a single tap on the screen. They also enable you to receive push notifications whenever the alarm picks up something out of the ordinary.
Monitored burglar alarms work by sending signals to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) via telephone lines or the internet, where experts monitoring the system check and verify every alarm ensuring that no alarm goes unnoticed.
TIP # 9: CCTV CAMERAS
As a general rule of thumb, you must try to make sure that there is always someone present on-site to keep an eye on things and alert the authorities in case of something suspicious happening.
However, for certain reasons, this might not always be possible. Even if it were, it wouldn’t be a very effective security measure since it’s not physically possible for someone to keep an eye on every corner of the property.
For this reason, it is recommended for stables and horse owners to invest in a good surveillance system that not just helps monitor every inch of the premises but also acts as a great deterrent.
CCTV cameras can be placed on all the main access points, in and near the tack room, and inside the horse’s stables. They can be used to record and monitor the footage both in real-time and also to be viewed later.
In addition to being one of the most effective deterrents against burglaries, a CCTV camera’s recorded footage helps identify criminals, aiding the law enforcement agencies to catch the perpetrators quickly and easily.
There are various types of CCTV cameras, each of which comes with specialised features used for a specific purpose.
The most popular ones include bullet, dome, C-mount, PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom), day/night, infrared/night vision, network/IP, wired, wireless, and high definition (HD) CCTV cameras.
Choosing the best one for your stable and yard security depends on several factors that include the camera’s resolution, the field of view, placement (indoor or outdoor), power supply, budget, and additional features that include professional CCTV monitoring, smartphone notifications, remote access, and two-way communication.
TIP # 10: CONSULT WITH A RELIABLE SECURITY COMPANY
Every property is different and has its own set of security risks and vulnerabilities. Understanding the individual needs is necessary for taking the right security measures to counteract the issue.
Every stable owner must run a thorough risk assessment of their property and analyse the main areas of concern. It is recommended to have a reliable security company help with the matter since they are experienced at what they do and can provide unmatched suggestions and recommendations to maximise security.
At Calder Security, we understand the special security needs that stables have and are here to provide you with a comprehensive solution that includes not just professional installation but also monitoring, maintenance, and repair services of state-of-the-art security systems including burglar alarms, CCTV cameras, access control systems, and anti-snap locking mechanisms.
We are SSAIB-approved installers and MLA-approved locksmiths and have been working in the security industry for over 40 years. We do not compromise on quality and install only high-quality security equipment by trusted brands.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our experts right away!