Coincidentally I read a post on twitter about a lot of theft at an event over the weekend, and organisers were warning competitors to keep valuables locked up.
I use the word coincidentally as on Monday morning (my day of rest) I awoke to an email and text message from the yard to say that our stable block had been raided.
I`ll admit, I went into a bit of a panic, combined with the fact that I was in Wales and couldn`t get back to inspect the damage.
My stable neighbours went up to the yard, along with forensics and the police and the area was photographed, searched for fingerprints, and any other clues. Meanwhile, I made a list of the things in my stable and cupboard (rugs, brushing boots, grooming kit, Pessoa etc) so that my friend could check what was missing. It`s amazing how much you accumulate over time.
My main concern was that in my cupboard I had the key to the field, and a spare key to the feed shed. The other girls were in a similar situation.
Thankfully, the only thing that had been taken out of the eight stables was half a tube of out of date Sedalin (the owner hadn`t got as far as throwing it away). The cupboards had been emptied and things scattered randomly. Tendon boots at the front of the stable were flung against the back, and my keys were placed prominantly on top of the box outside my stable. Brushes were everywhere. Someone`s pair of clippers were thrown on the floor.
It was strange. Were they doing a rekkie? If so you`d expect they wouldn`t have moved anything so we weren`t suspicious. Were they looking for drugs? If so do you really expect the average horse owner to have a stable full of tranquiliser? Were they just causing trouble? Or drunk?
And what would they have done if one of the horses had been in? Run away screaming, or let the horse out the stable? How would the horses have reacted?
That evening I was rung by the police to confirm my details. The policeman explained that I would receive an individual crime number but due to a lack of evidence and that nothing had been taken the chances of solving the crime were slight.
We always assume our belongings are safe. Of course, tack is locked away, but I would estimate my gear in and around my stable alone would cost a few hundred pounds to replace. At competitions our car is locked with the majority of the gear is in the car, we still have the travel boots and grooming things, plus whatever else we chuck in the trailer last minute. A passing thief would still have a pretty haul.
About eight years ago my Ivor Williams trailer was stolen out of our drive, underneath my brother`s bedroom window. It was never found and the police reckoned it was in Ireland by the time we reported it missing. I was gutted, especially as my 18th birthday present from the yard girls of a show grooming kit was stolen too.
Then I remembered another incident when the security of my old yard was compromised. The yard owner got up early one spring morning and went down t the yard with her five dogs. She fed the three stabled horses and went into one of the old buildings to get some hay for them. Then she popped off to town for an early appointment before coming back at about eight to do the morning chores. During the morning she heard from the farm next door that they`d caught a pair of criminals crossing their fields with a strimmer.
To cut a long story short, when the yard owner had gone to get her hay for the horses the criminals had been in the process of stealing her strimmer (which was hidden under some rugs in an empty stable. So as she walked in to get the hay they hid in the empty stable next to her! How scary is that?! It`s strange her dogs didn`t notice, but then if they were busy sniffing for rabbits out in the yard they wouldn`t have smelt them.
Really, when you stop to think about it there could be robbers hiding round every corner…