Thieves stole an estimated $40,000 worth of bridles, girths, pads and saddles in a barn break-in on May 24 in Calgary, Alberta, five minutes away from the Spruce Meadows showgrounds.
Victims believe the thieves may’ve had an inside connection or at least were knowledgeable about tack, as the nine missing saddles were the most valuable ones in the barn.
“All of the lockers in our tack rooms have locks on them. The lockers were locked, and the tack room was locked,” said Katie Macleod, whose saddle was stolen. “The next morning I got a call from my coach, and she told me that all the locks had been cut.”
Macleod described the barn as a small hunter/jumper facility. “We range from cross rail hunters to 1.20-meter jumpers,” she said. “We don’t show very much, just around Calgary, with the occasional away show every few years when we save up for it. Many of us are college-age, people who had to save up for months—sometimes years—to get the nice things that we have. A lot of us are trying to go through home insurance to try to replace it.”
Macleod, 22, works as the media services representative at Spruce Meadows. “I manage one, maybe two shows a year, and they’re usually small schooling shows,” she said.
While the girths, bridles and pads will be difficult to track down, the saddles have serial numbers. Macleod has been in contact with consignment shops in the surrounding area as well as across the U.S. border in case they show up.
“Not something you ever expect to happen to you, and pretty devastating when it does,” she said.
If you have any information that could help recover the stolen items, please contact the Calgary Police Service at (403) 266-1234.