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Horse show security (fictional)

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  • Horse show security (fictional)

    Ok, it's been a while since I've been on the show circuit (I'm not gonna admit how long!). Back when I was showing, we'd leave our horses in the temporary stables without worry - sometimes someone would sleep in the tackroom (heck, I've even slept in a stall), but it wasn't out of fear that something would get stolen.

    I know things have changed, but could you tell me how much? Do most of the big shows have overnight security? I'm planning to have a horse disappear out of the stabling at Eastwood Equine (in Quebec). I'm going to check with them first, and if they mind I'll make up a fictitious barn, but I'd like to know how likely my scenario is. It's for the 3rd book in my 'Blaze of Glory' series, so it's a fictional situation, obviously

    Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. – Goethe

  • #2
    I don't think that it's out of the relm of possibility at all to have a horse stolen these days. It seems like I see a new "My horse was stolen!" flyer on FB every week.


    • #3
      I will say, because of animal rights extremists, our dog shows have had security for many years now and no dogs left there overnight.

      For what western rodeo/playday, etc. people tell me, today they also have security at their events.
      With today's cameras and surveillance, starting at $25 a month gets you 24/7 direct surveillance right now from local companies.
      That is what schools have.
      It is a very cheap extra security for event facilities to have.

      Hope that helps a bit.


      • #4
        Some do. I wouldn't put any faith in any security solution because thefts at horse shows usually occur during show hours and a security person is not going to know one rider from another, so someone can just waltz right in and take whatever they want if they look like they are supposed to be there. In fact, that's how many thefts occur. Someone walks in, acts like they are supposed to be there, and walks away with whatever they came for if they present themselves accordingly. If you're going to have a horse theft from show grounds at night, you have to establish a few things. First and foremost, who is going to be or who should be around at night? Is it just a few security guys or a single one walking the grounds? Are the owners, grooms, riders, etc. all ten miles away in motels? Are some of them on the grounds to take care of their horses at night? If so, how many people are likely to be there and what would they likely be doing that would keep them away from the horses? You have to imagine every bit and piece in your mind to make it work and take your experiences at shows to form how those things go together in your story.
        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


        • #5
          At most of the shows I go to the security is whatever the facility normally employs wether there is a horse show going on or not. Most state fairgounds have a full time police staff assigned, county fairgounds are usually regularly patrolled by the sheriff's department, and private facilities usually have someone who lives on site.

          Occasionally tack or show clothing gets stolen at shows, and purses/wallets are a common target (I'ld say I go to 2-3 shows a year were this happens). Once in a blue moon a horse trailer is stolen (usually a small one). I have never heard of a horse being stolen.

          Most of the shows I go to at least a few of the barns have grooms staying in the stalls. When I have stayed in the stalls if there are clip clops in the night I wake up, usually a horse has gotten out, once in a while a horse is colicing and someone is walking it. I don't think anyone has grooms stay in the barns for security, just for convenience or cheapness.


          • #6
            I agree that people are unlikely to quesiton someone who acts like they belong there. With fewer people around at night a horse being led off might get more notice than one being led off in the middle of a busy day. If someone acted like they were supposed to be there pulled a horse out of a stall, covered it with a sheet and shipping boots and led it to a waiting trailer not only will nobody likely take undue notice but they wouldn't be able to accurately describe the horse either.
            "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


            • #7
              My information is all comparatively old, but you might be able to use it to flesh out your scenario. I know of one horse theft from a fairground - there were two shows a week apart, and these out-of-town horses stayed over. One morning there was only one horse instead of two. Someone had decided they would like to have a horse. It was quickly recovered, and that was the reason given.

              A friend and I did security patrol at a Pony Club Rally in Washington. The show facility had a restaurant/bar facility attached, and this was open late, with resulting traffic. We were concerned about drunks perhaps wandering the stable area, as well as colic and all the myriad things horses can do to themselves. I think that we were the only visiting club that was really concerned about this, as "our" parents were the only ones who patrolled the barn that night. We traded off with another of our parents at 2 a.m. or so. It was totally uneventful as we walked all of the aisles and checked every horse several times. If someone had come in and acted as though they belonged, I don't know if we would have questioned their presence, but we probably would have questioned the removal of a horse, as the rally was the next day. This was the only time we did night security at a rally.
              At a regular horse trial, three of us (two adult women and a girl) arrived late at night at the stabling. We were the only English-speaking people on the grounds. The barn staff could direct us to our stalls, but little more. They were all male and nice enough, but we were a little nervous as we walked our horses for half an hour in the ring and put them to bed. Not long after that trip, we heard of a woman in a similar situation (lone woman, near-empty location) who had been raped by a barn employee.
              "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."


              • Original Poster

                Thank you all! LexInVA, you make an excellent point - with so many comings and goings, it's probably more likely for a horse to disappear during the day... so I think my story will change accordingly The Eastwood show is a big, H/J 'A' show, so there's lots going on.
                Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. – Goethe


                • #9
                  This has been years and years ago...but my mom's horse was stolen from a show ground. She and another gal had been head to head in competition all year. Horses were stalled. Mom and her family had gone to get some lunch before her competition that afternoon. Came back. Horse was gone. Long and short, they think that her fellow competitor had arranged to have the horse taken. He was recovered and the "mystery" was never solved. He had been turned out in a pasture several miles away. Not injured, hurt, sold...just removed and "lost" long enough that she couldn't compete.

                  When I was showing in TX (not H/J but Western), we actually had to have papers on us and horses were checked coming and going. The bigger concern at that time was horses being drugged/poisoned. We all took turns during the multi day shows keeping guard over our horses. They were literally NEVER left alone.
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                  • #10
                    OP, if this show is big enough, perhaps management could hire law enforcement to moonlight as security at night? Just to give you another angle. I know that during some of the bigger city events, such as Race Week (sailboats), the event hires us with department permission for overnight security. We still use department-issued equipment.
                    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


                    • #11
                      There was a horse taken from one of the big shows around here not that far back. I believe it was part of an ownership dispute, and the horse was taken during the day. If you look like you belong/know what you are doing, people are less likely to question I guess. Also at this show, the trailers park on grass, so easy to look like you are taking the horse out for grass, slipping it in your trailer, and off you go.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by CHT View Post
                        There was a horse taken from one of the big shows around here not that far back. I believe it was part of an ownership dispute, and the horse was taken during the day. If you look like you belong/know what you are doing, people are less likely to question I guess. Also at this show, the trailers park on grass, so easy to look like you are taking the horse out for grass, slipping it in your trailer, and off you go.
                        Thanks CHT - that's pretty much exactly my fictional scenario! Ownership dispute and trailer parking included
                        Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. – Goethe


                        • #13
                          I'm not familiar with the specific show you mention, but at "A" H/J shows in the USA, there is usually a private security service you can hire to do night check. The price is usually very reasonable BUT the quality of service depends very much on which firm the show is using. Also, they only check each horse once an hour, so there'd be plenty of window to make a horse go "poof" but probably less than an hour before it is *noticed* that the horse is missing, even if the horse is not necessarily immediately determined to have been stolen. If this is an H/J show, don't forget braiders and grooms will also be around at all hours of the day & night as well. Just walking in during the daytime would probably make more sense, fictionally speaking.
                          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                          • #14
                            These days, in this economy, people report finding EXTRA horses in their trailers, barns etc. That is not a joke, so maybe you can work that in to your book.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Chall View Post
                              These days, in this economy, people report finding EXTRA horses in their trailers, barns etc. That is not a joke, so maybe you can work that in to your book.
                              I'll work on it, Chall. Might have to add a book 4 to the series for that!
                              Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. – Goethe


                              • #16
                                Are your books published?
                                I'm interested in checking them out!
                                Originally posted by katarine
                                I don't want your prayers, tiny cow.
                                Originally posted by Pat9
                                When it's time for a horse to go to a new person, that person will appear. It's pony magic.


                                • #17
                                  I remember a few years ago that a nice mare WAS stolen at a show up here in Canada...I have Palgrave in my mind, but am not sure.
                                  Just found a quick link - http://www.qnet.com/~saddleup/stolenhorses1.htm so that might give you something to go on as material!
                                  Also you might want to look into the theft of four horses (and the subsequent killing) from a college rodeo team last year. The horse's barn name is Cash, but I am on the way out the door to work - there is a FB group about him too!
                                  Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
                                  Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by Emily&Jake View Post
                                    Are your books published?
                                    I'm interested in checking them out!
                                    Hi Emily! The first two are published (they're part of a trilogy), and you can find them here. I'm posting the links to the Kindle version, but they also exist in paperback. 'Look Twice' just came out so it's not listed everywhere yet


                                    Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. – Goethe


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks, DeeThbd, I'll check it out. It's a scary thought to have a horse disappear!
                                      Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. – Goethe


                                      • #20
                                        Oooh thanks for the heads up on book two! Just got it on my Kindle Really enjoyed the first book!