Have you ever went out to the barn in the morning to feed and discover you don't have anything to feed? Someone has stolen your horse and all the alerts and bells start going off. You immediately run to the phone or use your cell phone to call the police and neighbors, right away and report your horses are stolen or missing.
I haven't had that happen and I don't know of anyone personally that it has happened to, but I have seen many a post on Facebook about people's horses either stolen or have gone missing. If you know a person who has posted such, you too get on high alert for your own horses and their safety.
Nowadays slaughter is becoming an easy way to get big bucks in a hurry without too many questions asked. False documentation can be written up and is given to a veterinarian who in turns gives the person a "clean" bill of health and off the hoards of horses go across the country lines to either Canada or Mexico never to be seen again. It is a huge concern because these horses aren't ill, low in weight or have a terminal illness. The horses are fat and healthy. They may be stolen. Now, I can't tell you where the meat goes after the slaughter, but I can tell you according to research most of the meat cannot be used for human consumption, at least, it shouldn't be.
This isn't about slaughter though, this is about general safety of your horse in its home area. Have you put certain safeguards in place so that it is much harder for your horses to be stolen? For instance, locks on gates, chains around corral panels? Granted, locks and chains are mostly for honest people, but for someone looking to grab and go, these can offer some deterrence over just a hook, latch or rope.
Signs in place also give you some leverage when it comes to making the call to the police. No trespassing signs are some homeowners salvation. I have seen many "warning" signs not limited to the usual but also to include signage about your state's laws in relation to equine activities or a no fault/no risk sign. Security camera signs are helpful too. My neighbor has this sign up with some cameras at various places in his yard. They may or may not work, but they are helpful in the event someone wants to burglarize his home. You too can place these cameras all around your home and barn.
Change up your routine if at all possible. It sounds creepy, but it happens... someone is watching your every move. They check the time you leave for work, as well as anyone else in the house. They check the time when someone returns to the home. You might like routine, but so do thieves and your horses may not be the only things taken.
Aside from these known dangers, have you taken the time to walk your fences to make sure there aren't any breaks or cuts in the wire that may make it easier for horse thieves to steal them or your horses to get hung up and cut on them? Most veteran riders/owners probably don't give the simple things too much thought anymore, but if spotted early a small gash can be treated fairly easily and inexpensively without a vet. If you wait, it could turn into something very serious.
Fly masks are priceless when it comes to summer time gnats and flies. As are fly sheets, fly leggins and spray. As well as hanging traps for flies, mosquitos and bees.
As it has been said many times, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take the time to safeguard your horses now, rather than waiting to become a victim of an accident or theft.
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