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Spin-off from WEF Rip-off: Black market tack?

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  • Spin-off from WEF Rip-off: Black market tack?

    So I asked where these stolen saddles and custom men's show boots and other speciality, serial-numbered whatnot gets sold.

    One poster said "Anywhere the thieves want."

    Oh really? And where is that? Where does the tack that falls of the back of a truck tend to land, in your experience?

    Is there a tack black market that rubes like me don't know about?

    I feel compelled to ask. Alter-up if you feel the need, but can you answer this question?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    Serial numbers are no deterrent, they can be changed or you could find somebody who really didn't know what they were and had no interest in researching why they were there or what they meant. They don't have to sell the stuff for retail list you know, heck of a mark up with no cost on their part.

    Swap meets out of the immediate area (many have vendors selling tack). Craigslist without mentioning brand. We have had a few on e bay come up on COTH.

    Also can sell privately one on one to those who the thief knows want the specific piece of tack. Or just by word of mouth around the barns to people who want a bargain and are not going to ask questions.

    It is probably good you don't know anybody who would do this, speaks well for your friends.

    I, unfortunately, had a (quickly ex) brother in law with a drug problem and several relatives who worked at the track leading to some...interesting... items that spent a few days in his car from time to time.

    I never figured out any legitimate reason why he had 10 racing girths and 3 ring bits for 3 days one time and a backseat full of wool coolers and halters another.... Said they belonged to his other cousin (who was a landscape contractor with no horses at the track or elsewhere) and he was helping to sell them. Yeah...but why take them to TJ to do that?

    If I had asked, I am sure he'd say the tailgate fell open on somebody's truck, he tried to stop them but could not and did not get the license#.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • #3
      I see custom show boots on ebay all the time and rarely is a serial number given in the description (unlike saddles.) I would think that other than saddles it would be pretty easy to resell online.

      Even with saddles, I always see a few threads on here every now and then about a saddle on ebay looking suspicious and COTHers cautioning others away from it without doing more checking first.


      • #4
        I certainly don't have any personal experience with black market tack - just putting on my conspiracy theorist cap for a moment- but other than Craigslist/ ebay, what about selling overseas? Some of these thefts seemed awfully organized (thinking of the WEF thefts), which kinda leads me to suspect that maybe there is an international black market tack ring ?? Sells to South America/ Russia, whatever. Who knows, maybe its just one very organized group selling to one well outfitted farm in another country...
        Unrepentant carb eater


        • #5
          Many moons ago before there was Craigs list and ebay, our tack room at a barn in Rochester NY got broken into, everything gone. Several other places too. Quite a while later some of the tack turned up in Texas (there was a bunch of fancy western stuff that the BO had)

          I had a steuben that was stolen another time. Ad showed up in local paper two weeks later. I called, spoke to someone, told them my sad tale, arranged to see saddle after I got out of work. Turns out the number was a person I sort of knew, and when I arrived 3 hrs later, the saddle was "already sold". Hmmmm....
          We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


          • #6

            So easy to resell bridles and halters. Who can say it was definately their bridle versus the other 1000 bridles by that manufacturer?

            Easy to remove bridle tags and the like.

            Saddles are tougher because of serial numbers etc but I'm sure that there are many who buy used saddles without checking serial numbers etc.

            Tack trunks with logos and names are tough but those panels can also be removed easily and then new panels put on by the new owners.

            Once they are removed, there is no way to tell whose trunk it was originally.

            The horse passports and paperwork probably went into the garbage quite quickly so as to not incriminate anyone should they be found on their person.

            Coolers etc can be resold too especially if they didn't have a monogram on them. Hard without that to prove it was yours....


            • #7
              People can be such jerks...


              • #8
                I'm starting to wonder if there are ANY honest people out there.


                • #9
                  Think about it... where would you actually check a serial number on a saddle? The original company might have a record of who they sold it to, but if the person selling it says that they bought it used, well... do you contact the original owner?

                  I'm sure that most of this stuff ends up on eBay, or Craig's List, or something similar. Easiest to sell it and ship it away to someone across the country. You can tell them whatever story you like... my kids stopped riding, my husband made me sell my horse, I got pregnant and I'm getting out of riding, my ex left all his riding stuff when he ran off with his secretary... take your pick. The buyer will never see your face.


                  • #10
                    They may never see a face, but remote transactions always leave an electronic trail resulting from the transfer of funds. Craigslist/cash transactions are another matter...
                    Inner Bay Equestrian


                    • #11
                      Interesting. In all honesty, it would never occur to me to check the serial number on a used saddle to see if it is stolen. I sold 3 on ebay last year that did not fit my horses and I don't think any of the buyers checked the serial numbers on those. I also bought 2 used saddles and although I did check the serial on the one I purchased, it was only to verify the year made and whether or not it was wool flocked.

                      Now I'm looking for a new CC saddle and will be paranoid about buying a stolen saddle.
                      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                      Witherun Farm


                      • #12
                        I don't even know the serial numbers on my saddles.


                        • #13
                          I've bought and sold several used saddles on eBay and elsewhere. I always take a pic of the serial number when I'm selling one so they can verify age size and model of saddle, but I have never contacted a company to follow up on a serial number on one I bought. I have a hard time believing many people do. I'm very honest so call me naive but it doesn't even occur to me to do that, to be honest. Also, what happens- you contact the saddle company, they tell you what tack shop it sold to, and then??... I just bought a new saddle and I didn't fill out any special paperwork so I doubt they keep track of everything for time infinitum. Even if you could track down the original owner, saddles are commonly sold or traded. I honestly don't think most people spend countless hours tracking down every prior owner of a used saddle. Do you do this when you buy a horse? How do you know it wasn't stolen? Unfortunately it will probably be reasonably easy to sell or trade in the stolen goods. Since this is high profile case maybe (hopefully!) it will be harder and maybe they will find the items and the thieves.
                          Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by czgm7r View Post
                            I'm starting to wonder if there are ANY honest people out there.
                            I'll counter this with "scratch any cynic, and underneath you'll find a tarnished idealist."

                            There ARE honest people out there, but no one hears about them. We hear about this mess instead. And while being educated is always a good thing, and being a little careful/paranoid is great for protection, it does make it seem like there are less and less honest people.
                            COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                            "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                            • #15
                              Honest person tale: big A show in Va, dropped some new saddle pads off a forgotten to close tail gate and someone found them and tracked me down to return them!
                              Ever travel around a show ground after a show and everyone is gone? You would be amazed at what gets left behind! One barn I worked at had monthly shows and when we cleaned up the next day I found things like spurs, crops, martingales, coolers, grooming stuff, etc. If it had id, we tried to find owners but otherwise we gained stuff!
                              As far as selling used stuff. imagine a newbie to riding who is looking for stuff and really has no idea about brand or type other than what someone may have mentioned and they find it on Ebay or elsewhere at a good price with a good story behind it. Yes they will bid and no they will not check out it's history.


                              • #16
                                We need to find a way to put ID chips in tack like we do for pets. Or a "locate my saddle" gps locator like we have with iproducts. Expensive, perhaps, but technology is getting smaller and cheaper every day.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Deedot View Post
                                  We need to find a way to put ID chips in tack like we do for pets. Or a "locate my saddle" gps locator like we have with iproducts. Expensive, perhaps, but technology is getting smaller and cheaper every day.
                                  There are companies that have microchips available for saddles.

                                  Chips4Tack is the only one I can think of at the moment.
                                  I walk into the barn and hear her soothing nicker, feel her soft muzzle against my cheek, her warm breath on my skin, and it is at that moment I realize there is no where else I would rather be.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by PinkMartini View Post
                                    There are companies that have microchips available for saddles.

                                    Chips4Tack is the only one I can think of at the moment.
                                    It's a lot easier to remove a chip from a saddle than to remove it from a pet. The bad guys will just remove the chip and any info that ID's the saddle.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Trevelyan96 View Post
                                      Interesting. In all honesty, it would never occur to me to check the serial number on a used saddle to see if it is stolen. I sold 3 on ebay last year that did not fit my horses and I don't think any of the buyers checked the serial numbers on those.
                                      I recently sold a saddle and several people asked for the serial number, perhaps to check to make sure it was not stolen, or else to verify size/panel configuration, and other details. I did notify CWD of the new owner's name when I sold it, and gave new owner a bill of sale with all the info from under the flap on the bill of sale, including the serial number. Maybe someone should develop a huge data base of saddle info so everyone could check before they buy.


                                      • #20
                                        Thank you for the reminder that I should probably photograph/record the serial number of my saddle.