I can think of a couple of solutions. If there are other doityourselfers that you know, you may all get together and decide if anyone is willing to sleep in the tack stall and check on the other horses periodically, or pool resources to hire someone to do that. Some shows actually have security staff walking about at night. Or, if you know some of the BNTs who are at the show, ask if they'd be willing to have their groom check on your horses too, for a fee. If your tack is more expensive than the horse (certainly more likely to be stolen being smaller, LOL) just take the tack back to the hotel with you at night.
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died. 3/17/12, Jenny has crossed Rainbow Bridge; 5/23/2012 Snowy too now.
We lock tack in the trailer or tack stall (inside locking tack boxes so its out of sight). We also pay night guards to watch the horses. Usually a few barns pool together (if the show doesn't provide the service) to pay the guard so it isn't much of an expense. At certain shows, we hang drapes and a roof on a tack stall and two of the grooms or working students sleep there.
I will never lock a stall for fear that of fire, or need of emergency colic treatment when I'm too far away with the key.
In the past I have always locked my tack stall with a combination lock and chain. I never had terribly expensive tack however (at least until my recent County saddle collecting started...) When I did not have a tack stall I kept everything in a trunk that, at the end of the night, was chained to the stall and not easily removable without dismantling the entire trunk. Obviously, the trunk was locked as well.
Horse, left emergency #s on the stall. Never had anyone touch my horse that I know of. I also generally stayed late and was there early. Never ever locked the horse in - couldn't live with myself if there was a fire or other emergency.
When I was showing alone, basically everyone on my show circuit knew who everyone else was... and if some lurker went into your tackroom and wasn't supposed to be there, someone would say/do something about it. In the entire breed industry in which I was involved, I can only recall one instance of bad theft, when a horse was stolen with his tack several years ago. Sadly, I don't think they ever recovered the horse.
There are certain show grounds/facilities that are more notorious for theft than others. I know that the security guards themselves at the Kentucky Fair & Expo Center in Louisville steal purses/wallets, I learned the hard way to keep my money, ID and credit cards on me at all times. As far as tack thefts I have seen/heard of stuff stolen out of trailers in parking lots (including entire trailers being stolen) far more often than out of tack stalls in barns, there is generally more people around the barn at night, parking lots are pretty empty. If you have concerns about someone doing something to your horse I would be sleeping in the tack stall right next to it, not in a hotel room. And then there are concerns for your own safety, but at a certain point you have to either put on your big girl panties and not be afraid of the world or just stay home.
We always did a nightcheck at 9-10ish (sometimes later if i was DD and driving people home from the pub ) :P
But also have paid security $1 per horse/per night for them to check on it a couple times and check/fill water. Adds up at those big shows even with only a small number of horses. So good deal for the guards.
Also contact # for us and vet are on doors. Tack stall is locked with normally drapes.
Many times, on those long barn aisles, several groups of people or trainers will pitch in for guard coverage. It is a good deal. We often pool resources and hire a security guard. Most of them do a good job, but last year we caught one of them sleeping on the job.
Cost varies from location to location, but it is worth it for a sound night's sleep.
Last year I took Sophie to the IDHS(NA) inspections at the VA Horse Center and when the time came to leave the security guard helped me to hitch up my trailer. I had to wonder "How did he know this was my trailer?"
Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
"I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
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