We Ask the Industry: What Security Measures Do You Take at Horse Shows?
Last week, over $200,000 worth of tack and horse show items were stolen at the Henry County Saddle Club in Newcastle, Indiana. In 2014, tack valued at $130,000 was stolen at the Reichert Celebration, and in December 2014, over $75,000 worth of tack was stolen at the Denver Stock Show.
Unfortunately, these thefts appear to be a far too common occurrence in our industry. GoHorseShow talked to Billy Williams, known as “Billy the Night Watchman.” At major shows, he charges six dollars a night per horse to watch and check on horses every hour during the night.
From Purcell, Oklahoma, Williams attends shows like the Congress, AQHA World Show, Silver Dollar Circuit, and AQHA Level 1 Central Championships. His crew walks through and checks on each horse at least 10 to 12 times every night. He also has people who can be hired to sit in front of stalls if they are concerned about the safety of a particular horse.
Also, while Billy’s business is not licensed as a security company, he says that the fact that his crew walks through the barns every hour during the night helps ward off thieves. “There was one individual that was going to different parts of the country stealing stuff at several horse shows. I saw him at the Congress one year and notified the police, and he was arrested,” Williams told us. “Unfortunately, if someone wants to steal your tack, they will find a way, but I do think we help ward off these criminals.”
We also asked other people in the industry what they do to protect their horses and tack. What do you do? Let us know.
Jessica Ross – We always hire a night watch when it’s an option. It helps not only for safety but the care of your horses. We’ve had a horse get sick in the past and been notified by our night watchmen that something wasn’t right. That could’ve genuinely impacted the horses well being. Unfortunately, you always take precautions, but the way tack stalls are set up, I feel if someone wants to steal from you, they’re going to figure out how – whether it’s during the day when you’re out riding or overnight. It’s just regrettable that this is a real issue at large in our business.
Lainie DeBoer– So sad that we are having this discussion. Unfortunately, we have had things stolen over the years, and it makes me sick. We do have a camera system up at all times at the shows. I can review any footage as the company saves it on a cloud. We use Stall Watch. They are an incredible company. One time, my one camera was not hooked up, and they called me because they noticed I was using one fewer camera. They just sent me all new technology for a crisper picture, higher resolution and better WiFi.
Angie Proctor-Reichert – It’s unfortunate to hear of the recent theft. For security, we keep someone at the stalls at all times during the day. At night, we have two to three cameras on at all times (video and picture cams). We do tend to hang all the buckets at the back of stalls, and sometimes tie horses there with feed, free choice hay and water. There have been times that the horse stalls were locked shut with cell numbers for emergencies. The tack stall is often covered over the top to deter thieves. I encourage everyone to record all saddle ID #s and any identifying marks to help track down thieves selling it on the market. I unknowingly purchased a stolen Harris work saddle last year. I saw a notification ad on Facebook and went to check the saddle for an identifying mark. It was there, so I called the police right away then contacted the owner and promptly returned the saddle. The thief was caught. She received extended jail time for several months and must repay for all the stolen tack that she took and sold to several people. It was the id #s and identification marks that helped put her where she belonged.
Lauren Louw – For most horse shows, we use the regular lock or chains on our stalls. At this Newcastle, Indiana show (a show held after the recent theft at these fairgrounds), we left all of our show tack in the trailers and will have to get it out as we need it and keep the trailer locked. For larger or longer horse shows, we utilize the stall watch cameras and apps. For the Congress and this year at the NSBA World Show, we have a security guard that stays at the stalls all night until we get back in the morning. He has a list of names of customers and friends who are the only people allowed in the stall area. We like it for peace of mind.
Elizabeth “Spike” Brewer – We keep our show tack in our trailer until show day and keep the trailer locked at all times. Before this, we did not secure our tack stall, but I’ve already bought a lock for the next show. We do not utilize cameras or hire night watchman as at the few shows we attend, they typically aren’t available. I do think they are great ideas if possible. I’m a light sleeper, so it’s not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night and go for a walk and check horses and the stalls since we stay on the grounds. To date, I’ve never noticed anything out of sorts. I admit I used to have a sense of security at the shows and didn’t worry about it unless at a show in a big city. It saddens me that at a more local facility in such a small town, that thieves would strike and take advantage of the great people at the shows. It appears that someone with extensive knowledge in the industry targeted specific brands and high ticket items in reviewing the list of what was taken. It has indeed made me more aware, and in the future, we will be looking at keeping things even more safe and secure as best we can.
Melissa Henry-Shetler – To be honest, I haven’t thought much about it until the incident in Indiana. We’ve been very fortunate with our items and haven’t had anything like that happened to us. We do lock our tack stalls at most shows, but there are some facilities that we feel very safe. That being said, we do worry more about security at the bigger shows like the Congress in Columbus, Ohio. Although at bigger shows like this, I do sleep in the barn, so I do feel like it’s less of an issue for us. And we are also riding at all hours of the night, so we are around our stalls more often.
Katy Jo Zuidema – People like Billy Williams have indeed become more valuable now. All he and his people do is walk around all night and take care of us. We use Billy Williams as a night watchman, and we lock our tack room door, but that’s it. I’m not sure how to proceed.
What do you at shows to protect your horses and tack? Let us know in the comments section of the article or on our Facebook Page.