Gloucestershire Horsewatch is a voluntary organisation run by the equestrian community and supported by Gloucestershire Constabulary.
Its aim is to prevent, reduce and detect equine related crime - this official site gives general guidance on a whole range of security measures covering horses, tack, trailers, horseboxes and stables.

Gloucestershire Horsewatch


 POLICE LIAISON: PC Melanie Campbell 0845 0901234 x4182




Advice & Information




Crime Prevention measures you can take yourself


Horse Identification

  • Take colour photographs of your horse in summer and winter.
  • Ensure that it is standing correctly as shown in the horse passport.
    Take photographs from the side, front and behind.
  • If the horse has a particular mark or scar, photograph that separately, making sure it is clear where on the animal the mark is.
  • Ensure marks, whorls etc are shown on a suitable diagram.
  • Download Horse ID chart here.

Security Marking

  • Have your horse security marked.
  • Marking your horse and tack does deter thieves. 
  • Ensure that you check your horse at least twice daily and vary your times.
  • Avoid leaving headcollars or lead ropes dangling at the gate - this could help thieves.
  • Present recognised methods of security marking for equines are:
  • Freeze Marking

This is done humanely by freeze marking a number on the horse's body (usually on the saddle patch) with chilled irons. This leaves a unique number for life. Records of freeze-marked horses are kept and registration papers are issued to owners.  Freeze marking also acts as a useful deterrent to horse thieves as it is easily visible.

  • Hoof Branding

This involves having your post code branded on your horse's hooves. You purchase the branding irons and have your farrier apply the brand. It requires periodic renewal as the hoof grows.

  • Microchipping

Microchipping involves having a mircrochip injected into the skin in the horse's neck by a vet and the microchip used is registered on the "HorseSafe" computerised system. When a scanner is passed over the microchip on the horse the identification appears on the scanner and can be matched with the record on the computerised system allowing the owner to be traced.


  • All saddlery should be security marked. You can have your tack postcoded using a metal punch or engraving tool.
  • It is not advisable to stamp your code on reins and thin bits of leather.
  • Your postcode can be engraved on the stirrup bar of your saddle.
  • Do not be tempted to engrave your postcode on any bits - this could leave your horse with a sore mouth.
  • Your Horsewatch co-ordinator may recommend where to have your property marked.
  • Photograph your saddlery, especially if it is unusual. This helps with detection of stolen goods.
  • Keep a comprehensive list of all your tack. Include all necessary details as this will help identification.
  • Stolen tack is difficult to trace without a saddle's make or identifying numbers.

Horseboxes & Trailers

  • As with other equipment, photograph your horsebox/trailer.
  • Ensure vehicles are immobilised when parked, but still available in an emergency.
  • Use wheel clamps, hitch locks, car alarms, car immobilisers.
  • Consider having your trailer security marked with your postcode, e.g., large vinyl sticker on top of box that can be seen from the air.
  • Personalise your vehicle(s).
  • Park them in a well-lit area at night where you can keep an eye on them.
  • Modern security devices make it difficult for thieves.

Stables & Paddocks

  • Consider installing burglar alarms and security lighting.
  • Your local crime reduction officer will be able to give free professional advice on all aspects of building security.
  • Do not mark the tack room door entrance. This will make it easy for the thief.
  • Do display signs that advertise that your property has been security marked.
  • Use substantial padlocks on doors but do not padlock a horse in its stable.
  • Gates should be padlocked and hinged.
  • Keep your fences and hedges in a good state of repair.
  • If you see anything suspicious, report it to the police. In an emergency dial 999. Alert your Horsewatch co-ordinator.

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