With the recent theft of over $130,000 worth of tack and clothing at the Reichert and $75,000 in tack earlier this year at a show in Colorado, GoHorseShow wanted to know from people in our industry what preventative measures they are taking to ward off thieves at the shows? Additionally, what type of insurance coverage do they carry to make sure they can recover their losses? We talked to equine insurance agents, horse owners, and trainers about their personal experiences and any advice they have for others in our industry.
Joni Nelson (pictured right)--As for changing the types of locks or chains on our tack stalls, we have not done so. We are very adamant on locking our tack stalls, but, if a person wants in they can get in with bolt cutters or by going over the top. We have started leaving our big Australian Shepherd in our tack room to deter thieves. As for what was covered in our circumstance, our own personal items were covered in our home insurance policies. The customers, excluding one, was covered in their own insurance policy-- homeowner's again. Even out of state, most everyone was covered. I would say that anyone that has any tack worth anything to them, please get it covered--from your favorite bit to your favorite or not so favorite halter, saddle bag, reins, fake tails, etc... it all adds up. I think a good idea is to take video of all your equipment and make sure the serial numbers are shown. It is an easier way and quicker way to document what you have--picture and receipts are great also. Biggest things to remember are get insured (everything), take videos or pictures, keep records, and unfortunately be prepared. One more thing--make sure you take care of insuring your own tack. Don't assume that your trainer, or whomever has your equipment, has insurance to cover yours. I don't think anyone is safe anymore!
Jenna Dempze--I am currently working with my insurance agent to compile a comprehensive list of all my tack and clothing. I have major items listed on file with him, but, with all the recent thefts, I am reviewing what is listed and going over everything more thoroughly. I have the necessary information for replacement but I need to have it organized better so that in case of a theft situation it is readily available and easy to file a claim with the insurance. I'm also checking into the coverage of items at horse shows; I always took for granted that these items would be covered. I will be adding an extra policy to cover things at the shows that are in the trailer, tack stall, and our motor home if it is needed. I will be taking photos of all saddles, bridles, saddle pads, spurs, hats, and clothing items. I also will be filing all receipts that I have to verify the prices of the items. I think all this extra work on the front end is worth it in the case that something terrible like the recent thefts happen. I think we all underestimate the value of horse items we accumulate. It takes a long time to save up money and acquire tack and other show items; especially for a young trainer.
Brittany Boyd--As an Agent for Sonora Insurance, I've recently been asked about insuring our valuables at the show. People want to know if their homeowner's insurance covers tack. The answer is a definite maybe! Coverage can vary greatly by carrier and policy -- you should contact a qualified and experienced insurance professional to review your coverages and answer specific questions about your individual situation. Here are some helpful hints: Having an inventory of your tack can be a very helpful tool in both determining proper coverage and documenting items in the unfortunate event of a claim. A list of items, receipts, serial numbers, photographs and other supporting information are all very helpful items. Loss Prevention is always the best way to avoid claims. Keep your tack in a secure location and locked up. Cable locks can be helpful in tack stalls.
Kellie Hinely--I have recommended that all of my clients keep pictures of their tack and record serial numbers. I haul tack for my clients, caring for it as it was my own but I am not responsible if it is lost or stolen. My homeowner's insurance covers anything that belongs to me. I have suggested to my clients that if it would be a hardship to replace stolen tack, they should consider insuring it.
Lainie DeBoer--I think it is really disappointing and a very sad time in our industry. I guess I will be having a big talk with my insurance agent. I do know that all my of tack and equipment is covered personally through my business. We do lock up at the horse shows, and try to take as many measures that we can. We are talking about putting up cameras this year. We have in the past along, along with surveillance signs. I think we also need to seriously talk about a night security guard. I know of other barns that hire them, maybe it's time. I just feel bad, it is expensive enough to be showing and now we have to add on more expenses.
Lisa Ligon--The current homeowner's policy we have covers our personal property but not customers. I recommend our customers get their own policies to protect their property. We write into our contract that we are not responsible or liable for theft of any kind. Our trailer is always locked, and we use a chain and a padlock for our tack stalls. I feel if they really want it they will get it.... cut your lock, climb the wall or in Oklahoma City, they can pull the dividing walls if you don't get those included in your chain loop. Hiring a guard is nice, but expensive and leaving a guard type dog in a tack stall could prove useful, however, if it harms someone, the owner is liable. It is very sad that people would do this to each other, but when the value of the show tack and cost of show clothing is so high, I can't say I am surprised by the theft. My heart goes out to those who were effected at Reichert.
Kaleena Katz Weakly--At most of the shows, especially, Congress, it is a must to lock all tack rooms every time you walk away...not just at night when leaving for the hotel/trailer. It's a pain but so far it has helped my trainers. All trainers, assistants and clients must work together to do this within your group or it doesn't help. If no one is right there at your stalls to keep an eye on things, the doors must be closed and locked up at all times...even if you're just walking to a friends isle for five minutes, or sitting in a lounge a few stalls down...it's just not worth it. We use all kinds of locks since we have three different trainers at the Congress, and it's a pain to remember all the combinations but I just keep them in my phone so I don't forget. I definitely keep all my show clothes with me until the day I show so there are no chances of anything being stolen. If you can't count on the people within your barn to help lock things up, then, I wouldn't keep anything of value in the tack stalls, until the day you have to show unfortunately!
Susie Johns--First of all, we lock our tack room and dressing rooms when no one is around the barn. I have had my wallet stolen from a rental car before, so we try to be very careful. I know our Blue Ribbon Saddle's all have ID numbers and Vern, Rita, and Jeff Habighorst record all saddles ID numbers, which is great. As far as my clothes, they would be hard to replace but I'd be sad as I love all my Paula outfits! And they are all "one of a kind" outfits, so I only hope they would be easy to track down. I would be so sad, but I know my homeowner's insurance policy would cover my loses. I feel everyone needs to band together and be vigilant to each other and report anything suspicious. It's too bad we even have talk about these issues!
Kevin and Amy Smith--With the recent thefts, we have been forced to look at the way we protect our investments in tack at horse shows. In the past, we have locked our tack stall but not at all shows. This will change. We spend way too much money to not protect what we have. I believe we can all work together to accomplish this as well in terms of watching over your entire aisle. Get to know your stall mates and take the time to help. We are all in this together and its time to rid ourselves of the bad apples.
Karen Evans Mundy--Being a Markel Insurance agent, I personally have my farm/home insured with Markel. Markel's Equine Farm Policy covers a certain amount for tack. However, if someone has very expensive tack like show saddles etc., we recommend they be itemized and scheduled, so the total cost of their tack will be covered in the event of a loss. That coverage is only good for the policy holder's tack and does not cover clients' tack. I am not sure if people's regular homeowner's policy will cover their personal tack, as everyone should check their policy and or call their agent to find out. Most homeowner's policies will cover a certain amount of personal property, but once again they need to make sure exactly what it will cover. Mundy Quarter Horses does lock their tack/ feed stalls at night. We just use a chain and a lock. Nothing super fancy. I feel like a real thief will find a way to steal if there is a lock or not. It is like someone breaking into your locked house. It is a shame that people have to go to this horrific measure, as to steal!
A great oppertunity here for someone to go into the the survalance camera business at major horseshows. You can't make a move in a Wal-Mart with out it being taped. why would it not work at major show circuits
I would hire private security guards , I know it sounds drastic , but I am a bonded armed security guard and I know that this would never happen if I were there . The cost would be minimal if you split the fee between clients .As a horse person and someone in the security industry this really makes me angry!
I know some people actually bring a cot to the shows and sleep in the tack stall overnight. Not only to be with the tack, but to be with the horses. There have been issues with people stealing horses earlier this year as well. It's sad and its disgusting that some people would stoop so low.
One thing we all need to look at is the fact that these thefts are usually done by people with an inside knowledge of the horse show industry. A street thief would not know the difference between a work saddle and a show saddle or even an english and western saddle. And the places to unload all of this specialized equipment is so limited. Many comments above are so correct; if they want in they will get in no matter how many locks or how much chain. At the Reichert, they timed their event to coincide with the volumes of people moving out; nothing looked out of place with someone carrying equipment out of a barn. We all need to be more observant not only of our tack stalls but those next to us, in the same barn or across the grounds. We all know each other if not by name usually by sight. If something looks hinky it probalby is...don't just stand there, ask! Ask them who they are or what they are doing. IF they belong there they can tell you the name of the person whose tack stall they are in...and make a scene if they don;t belong there. There is safety in numbers and if you yell, I assure you that there will be many other horse and equipment owners there in a heartbeat!