Plait found in mares mane Beds/bucks/herts Borders Warning!!

what do you put on your horsie when traveling? tick as many as required...


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My horse is freezemarked, both of them are micro chipped and my tack is kept at home. I've always taken security very seriously and am well aware that overall not many horses are stolen in relation to the fear of the crime.

That said, people on this thread have had horses stolen, some never to be reunited with their owners which is just awful. I don't want my horse to go to another home to be loved by someone else ~ I want her with me where she belongs.

I had hardly read anything about blooming plaits before this happened, I've read far more since, but I am utterly sick and tired of people telling me that it wasn't a plait. Three people looked at my mare, two of us are in our 40's and our yard owner is in her 60's ~ she has been around horses since her teens and my friend and I have had horses for 20 odd years each that makes a combined experience of around 80 years, please don't anyone try and tell us what we saw or didn't see. And no, it couldn't have been children.
 

Judziah

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I can't believe how vicious this thread is!!!

It's a good thing that the original poster noticed a change...because bottom line with horse theft is simple - STAY VIGILANT!!!!!!!!

If you have owned a horse with a long mane that's lived in the same field for 10 years and it's never had a plait appear then you're very lucky, they're a bitch to remove at times....if one day you go down and notice that suddenly your horse's beautiful knot-free mane has a clear plait in it then notify the police, tell your neighbours and start varying the times you visit your horses...and most of all...UNPLAIT YOUR HORSE!!!!!!!!!!!

The 'plait tag' started because the most commonly stolen horses are those who live out...they're usually cob-types or coloured...as such, are usually kept 'traditionally', ie. unpulled manes...many of these horses will have had 'dreadlocks' and plaits before but it's usually something the owner picks up on after the horse has gone...

...after all, how often do you ignore a plastic bag snagged in a hedge? It appears, the next day your horse is stolen...the bag must be a notification! This was the biggest owner frightener a few years back...every plastic bag had people terrified!!!

And THAT is why people 'yawn' at the subject...they are not saying that the loss of a horse is minor...they are saying that it is bordering on scaremongering. That is not to say they don't care or that the original poster is intentionally trying to cause people distress...it just means they've heard it all before...and some people are just tactless.

If you have no evidence that it is a genuine 'tag', then do a little research online, read forums...it's the same with internet viruses...Before you forward that email of another warning, consider if it's genuine or just someone with an overactive imagination or a big heap of paranoia!!

My pony gets plaits all the time. He has long but thin hair and it plaits beautifully in one spot by itself...so much so I used to scream at my sister thinking she was doing it...when she moved overseas and it still happened, I realised it was happening naturally.

If you want people to be warned, then give them proven information....otherwise it's just the story of the boy who cried wolf....people stop listening.
 

DebbieCG

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Judziah, not quite sure exactly what you are trying to say, as you begin with good job original poster noticed a change etc and then end with if you want people to be warned, then give them proven information....

As far as they could, the original poster and then Mikoletta have given as much information as they could, obviously about a genuine concern that they had with the intention to make people aware who may have horses in that particular area that something a little out of the ordinary seemed to have occured.

This does not mean that any horses are being or will be stolen, just a take care note really.

The reason I first looked at this post was because of the heading and after reading the original poster's comments I did not think for one moment about scaremongering. The only reason I inputed on this thread was because of the extremely unkind and dismissive comments that I was reading - normally I don't usually post.
 

_HP_

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Please.........if you find another plait can you take photo of it. I think the main problem here is that there seems to be no photo's of actual plaits/tags in horses mane's. All I have seen are wind tangles like in the photo's I've added to the tread.
 

netposse

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I have a question about your identification markings. In the US a freeze mark and a freeze brand are put on with the same technique but are actually different in look and registration. One is a trademarked ID that can only be put on the neck of the horse by certified technicians. The other is a brand, usually on the hip or shoulder that anyone can design and do themselves. Which mark do you have? I am assuming that you have the international 134 khz microchip as well.

I was so glad to hear that you do have your horses marked. All of mine have been since we found Idaho. Before her theft none of them were and we didn't even know people were stealing horses.

They all have freeze marks, freeze brands, hoof brands and microchips. Two of them have lip tattoos and they are gaited horses. The TB Protection Society did the tattoos for us so that I could see how they were put on the horse.

I am not saying everyone needs to do what we did. My situation is unique in that I am sought after as an expert in the field of theft and ID for consultations, speaking engagements, and TV/print news. I am like a sponge, learning everything that I can about theft and the many thoughts surrounding the crime.

I applaud you for being proactive in protecting your horses. The only thing I see that is missing is a sign stating that your horses and equipment have permanent ID. We do sell them here to raise funds for the organization but that is not the reason we developed them. We did it because a sign is your first and best line of defense against theft according to law enforcement officials.

For instance, if you have a burglar alarm in your house in the US, there is a small sign down by the driveway that states that fact. It is meant to make a prospective thief leave your house alone for fear of being caught. In our case the sign is meant to do the same by stating that the horses and equipment carry identification that can make them traceable. Our sign also has our logo and contact info on it so it implies that the owner has knowledge about theft and would be more involved in finding the horse should it disappear. Thieves prefer the people who are clueless or ill prepared so their job is easier.

We were revisited twice before we put up our signs along our fence lines. No one has bothered us in the past four years. If they do, unlike the time in 1997, we are prepared to find our horses this time.

We are trailriders so when we travel in our trailer to a park we take our signs with us and put them in the truck in full few in hopes that our truck, trailer and equipment will be there when we return. Yes, I have had cases filed with us where all of the above mentioned were gone when the owner returned. One person returned just in time to watch their truck and trailer pass them by as they were returning from a ride. There was no cell phone service so there was nothing they could do at that moment but drop their jaws with shock.

I hope this helps.
 
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My friend had it on her phone, can't imagine that it would be very clear on here though. Wish I had camera with me but you never do when you need it do you
 

netposse

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Is your freezemark on the neck? Don't regret microchipping your horse. That will be his proof of ownership when we find him. I do think that a visible ID with a microchip covers both ends. I am not sure what you mean about a freezemark. In the US a freezemark is on the neck and is a series of symbols that are translated into an ID number. Is it the same in the UK? A freeze brand can be anywhere. Which do you have?
 

The_snoopster

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Freezebrands in the uk can be done anywhere but tend to be either under the saddle area or shoulder i have seen some on the neck also, my mare who is coloured as been done to one side of her tail.
The symbols are a mixture of numbers and letters and have 3 or four symbols in a line or in a square depending on the area of the horse that was marked.
 

DebbieCG

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Just to re-iterate the importance of micro-chipping and freeze-marking in general, (and also showing warning signs that this is in place) the following is from the News Items of the Missing Horses on Loan website:

Missing loan horse court case dropped

18 November, 2004
The Crown Prosecution Service has discontinued its case against a Wiltshire woman who was due to appear in court over an allegedly stolen loan horse because the horse was not microchipped or freeze-marked.

Thames Valley Police and Horsewatch in Oxfordshire have been investigating the case of a 15.2hh palomino gelding known as Ieuan who went missing in 1991 while on loan.

Owner Susan Peter from Bewdley, Worcs, was told that her former eventer had died while on loan to Dilys van Tromp, who was then based in Kelmscott, Oxon, but has since lived in Gloucestershire and now runs Brokerswood Farm riding school, Trowbridge, Wilts.

However, Ieuan, now in his 20s, "returned" in autumn 2003, when he was bought by the area's Horsewatch co-ordinator, who realised that she had investigated his disappearance more than a decade before. Dilys van Tromp, was charged with theft in summer 2004.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has discontinued the case at a stage when it was about to be listed for the Crown Court, because of difficulties associated with identifying the horse. Despite the opinion of an equine vet, the CPS concluded that since the animal was not freeze-marked or microchipped at the time it went missing, it could not categorically be said to be Ieuan.

WPC Sue Burns from Thames Valley Police, who has been heading up the enquiry, says: "This is very frustrating and has wide-ranging implications for all owners who might be relying on vaccination certificates or passport diagrams to identify their horse if stolen.

"The message to owners is clearly that all equines need to be protected with individual identification."

Despite the CPS's decision, WPC Burns would still like to hear from anyone who might have purchased this horse between 1991 and 1994 (tel: 01608 648715) or e-mail: Sue.Burns@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (18 November '04)
 

netposse

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Thanks for the explanation! After reading your reply I did a little research and found that the mark you have is basically what we call a farm freeze brand. Anyone can put the brand on, we did our own, and you can make it up with symbols, letters or numbers. It would be nice if everyone had them for visible ID and theft deterrent. We custom ordered our brand so all of our horses have the same brand registered to our farm. It is unlikly but a freeze brand can be altered and in the US is practically impossible to trace once the horse is out of the state of registry. That is why I have microchips too. Is there one national registry that all brands are in in the UK?
 

DebbieCG

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Am not entirely sure but I think there are about two main freezemarking companies in the UK. Perhaps another poster can confirm.

Am not aware of any horse owners putting their own brand or marks on, just the companies.

There is one central database for stolen horses and ponies (stolenhorseregister.com), but they are only listed if you have a crime reference number and the owner or person in charge of the stolen horse sends the details to the Register.

There are some different organisations/websites that may list certain stolen horses/ponies or certain breeds (Shetland A1 news includes stolen shetland ponies on its website).

I think there are several authorities that you can obtain your equine passport from which is now compulsory for all equines in the UK to have (Horse Passport Agency is one I think). Again, perheps another poster could list them, or maybe there is only one now? Not sure.

I believe, due to EU regulations,It is now compulsory for all foals to be microchipped at a certain age.

I believe the above info is correct, but perhaps any other posters could elaborate if not entirely correct.
 

netposse

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It seems you guys have the same problem we have here in the US, one registry. Our government is trying to develope one and is pushing it but there is much opposition for a multitude of reasons.

Thanks for the information. Looks like I have more research to do. My learning curve never stops curving! :)
 

DebbieCG

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Just copied this from Horse Passport Agency front page:

Horse Passport Legislation...
The Law, Horse Passport Regulations (2004) requires all horses, ponies and donkeys in the UK to have a passport, and for that passport to be kept up to date. The enforcement of the legislation ensures the continued availability of veterinary medicines such as Bute. These medicines would otherwise be withdrawn with serious welfare implications for horses.


News...

2010 Fees - 26/11/2009

Despite the increase in VAT our passport fee will remain at £21 in 2010. There will be no increase to the fees charged by our On Line Services (change of ownership £12.50 and amendments £10) and updating microchip details will continue to be free.

Change... [Read More]

Microchipping Now A Requirement For A New Passport - 01/07/2009

From the 1st July 2009 Directive EC 504/2008 requires owners to have their equine microchipped before applying for a passport. If your animal is already microchipped you will still need a veterinary surgeon to verify that information on your passport application form.
 

DebbieCG

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Also, very importantly, there are Horsewatch groups around the UK which are listed by the UK Horsewatch Alliance website. When a pony or horse is stolen (or with any equine equipment etc. type of crime) most owners seek help and advice from their nearest Horsewatch group. (Copied paragraph below is from Horsewatch Alliance website front page):

UK Horsewatch Alliance is group of people from Horsewatch groups all over the country, who will meet at regular intervals to work together to provide a network of information and support to combat equine crime. <font color="blue"> </font>




In my opinion, however, there are still more changes that need to be made at Government level to help prevent horsetheft.
 

fruity

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Happy New Year Everyone..

I have just come back from putting my horse to bed tonight, when a plait was found in another horses mane! Looked a bit like a dread lock but was an obvious plait! We believe that she could of been ear marked for being stolen, so this is a warning.. She also has a foal at foot and seems untouched at present...

Thanks for reading

[/ QUOTE ]

ok so from the first post made why has it turned into everybody ranting at everybody.
whether you agree or disagree could a simple post saying thanks for the heads up, no need to express any opinions on what you believe to be scare mongering

if you are greatful for the heads up say so.
if like me i dont personally agree with plaits meaning they are 'tagged' then there is no need to comment imo

i dont really think the first point was inteded for people to argue over what they believe, cant we not all just act like responsible adults?

[/ QUOTE ]

I totally agree with you on this. I posted on the dog forum the other day and got my head bitten off for breeding from my terrier,only asked if anyone new of a decent stud jack russell out there !!!!! some people get very personal for no reason,i hate people like this.
 

Cuffey

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This plait reported in my area--a couple of weeks later a pony's tail hacked off in the same field (no hair found)--ponies now very nervous
10 Tails similarly hacked off in 3 incidents about a year ago in the same area.

 

fruity

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I would say that looks like a wind tangle more than a plait,my welsh d gets them all the time and he is out 24/7. If you look you can see the tangle on the left of that developing into something similar. Know it doesn't explain the tail fiasco though,sorry to here about that.
 

Tinseltoes

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My section A gets those tangles all the time and theyre aweful to get out.At first I thought someone had been messing about,but considering she isnt people friendly,I just took it out and some more appeared eventually,so I knew it was the weather.She had one two days ago.
 

*hic*

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[ QUOTE ]
This plait reported in my area--a couple of weeks later a pony's tail hacked off in the same field (no hair found)--ponies now very nervous
10 Tails similarly hacked off in 3 incidents about a year ago in the same area.



[/ QUOTE ]


Does it not cross your mind to wonder why anyone would bother spending time and effort "plaiting" a horse when in less time they could have had a knife across the tail and be gone with it?

Three horses near here at an animal rescue had their tails cut off - I'm assuming you mean just the hair and not through the bone - by the owner as she was offered money for them. If someone near you had similarly been offered money then they would have just taken the hair and run.
 

bailey14

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[ QUOTE ]
I yawned because it's all mass hysteria.

And for the record, no, I've never seen one of these plaits.

However, I have a good friend who found her mare with it's vagina between it's back legs and it's vulva slashed open. It wasn't reported to the police because the vet decided it was a kick, and with no medical evidence to prove she'd been assaulted, the police weren't interested.

So I do know what it's like to be genuinely scared for my horses! Plaits? Pssh. Try finding your horse half dead from blood loss.



[/ QUOTE ]

I have to agree with Harper_Gal. I think this is mass hysteria. If people are worried about horses being stolen then for goodness sake GET THEM FREEZEMARKED its not rocket science. This is a visible deterent unlike microchipping which is next to useless. You might not want your horse 'marked' as it might look 'ugly' but if your horse is stolen you would feel devastated and may never see it again. Stolen horses can end up slaughtered or sold on to home after home. Would you rather that than splash out £50 or less for a freezemark and five minutes of slight dicomfort for your horse? Come on folks. Lets stop these stupid stories and get real.
 

Cuffey

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[ QUOTE ]



Does it not cross your mind to wonder why anyone would bother spending time and effort "plaiting" a horse when in less time they could have had a knife across the tail and be gone with it?

Three horses near here at an animal rescue had their tails cut off - I'm assuming you mean just the hair and not through the bone - by the owner as she was offered money for them. If someone near you had similarly been offered money then they would have just taken the hair and run.

[/ QUOTE ]

A picture was requested--a picture posted

I have received a number of reports of plaiting within a small geographical area from experienced owners--most are just puzzled--it is a new phenomen to them--most have kept horses and or ponies for 30 years.
As a Horsewatch Co-ordinator I have been in the position of trying to re-assure upset owners that their horses are very unlikely to be stolen but just to remain vigilant

I have owned native ponies with long manes and never had wind tangles like that.

The ''sarcastic'' posters on this thread need to have some understanding and compassion for those owners who have got upset about this and been accused of scaremongering
I sincerely hope they never experience having their horse stolen or interfered with but perhaps then their attitudes may change
 

bailey14

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I know your comment wasn't aimed at me (well not completely anyway) but surely if you are a Horsewatch Co-ordinator isn't your stance that people should get their horses freezemarked. I find it incredible (and this is getting at no one in particular) that people will spend a fortune on the latest saddle, bridle, bit, feed, supplement, rug, etc, etc but not have the simple common sense to freezemark their horses. So if I were you rather than blast people for stating their opinions when you say: T [ QUOTE ]
The ''sarcastic'' posters on this thread need to have some understanding and compassion for those owners who have got upset about this and been accused of scaremongering
I sincerely hope they never experience having their horse stolen or interfered with but perhaps then their attitudes may change




[/ QUOTE ] how about instead realising that these people (me included) have these other peoples interests at heart.

The results speak for themselves:
So far to date Freezemark 100% recovery record. I think Farmkeys is 97% but don't quote me on that.
 

*hic*

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[ QUOTE ]
As a Horsewatch Co-ordinator I have been in the position of trying to re-assure upset owners that their horses are very unlikely to be stolen but just to remain vigilant

[/ QUOTE ]

In that case I would have thought you'd be pretty damned fed up of all the "Warning plaits found: horse about to be stolen" posts that are appearing on here and winding up the people who then phone you! THAT is what makes me so mad - the scaremongering and upsetting people who have no need to have been upset - and causing clogging up of systems such as Horsewatch have in place for reporting of real issues.


In any case I thought that the Horsewatch take on it was that there was no evidence of "plaited" horses subsequently having been stolen?
 

DebbieCG

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I'm sure Harper_gal and Jemima_too &amp; Gang will have an unreasonable answer for this (they always do!)


The following is from A1 Shet News, a reputable on-line equine site:


On Monday (2 Nov) night a horse was stolen from a field in the Guildford area. The people who took her sawed through a wooden post and rail fence to get out and this happened between 3pm and 6pm in the afternoon. The police were informed and so were the microchip company who circulated her details to all the ferry ports etc. As you can imagine the owner was completely distraught. Late Tuesday (3 Nov) afternoon she received a phone call from the police to say her horse had been found in Hollyhead, Wales . She was tied to a railing at the ferry port and the ferry to Ireland had gone without her. So today she is driving to Wales to pick her up. Several things have come to light in this story:
1. A week ago her horse had a small plait in its mane when she went to get her in from the field. She describes it as very small, almost like a tangle. She disregarded it as kids messing about (her horses are out in a field with others). However, this is how people mark horses to be stolen later. Ie. One person marks them, another then comes later and knows which one to take.
2. The ferry port at Hollyhead do not check horses passports or microchips. This horse was travelling without a passport.
3. The police believe the reason this horse was left behind was because she was microchipped. Although the UK is lax about passport and microchip checking, it is apparently more common for horses to be scanned on entering Ireland . The people who take them will scan them and dump them if they find a microchip. This horse also had a large obvious scar so this may have been a contributing factor.
The police told her that horses being dumped at a ferry terminal is not uncommon and they usually turn out to be stolen. They have had horses left in a lorry on the actually ferry!
This story has a happy ending for H and E, but it makes you wonder how many other stolen horses were on that ferry to Ireland .
The owner has asked me not to give any more details because of the police investigation that is on going, but has given her permission for me to relay this story, mainly to highlight:
1. If you find your horse with a small plait in its mane or tail please do not ignore it. I thought it was common knowledge that people knew about this, but several people I've spoken to since were not aware of it.
2. If your horse isn’t microchipped please consider doing it. The owner of this horse describes her as ‘nothing flashy, just a normal 14.2 bay mare’ so please don’t think it couldn’t happen to you.
Please do not ask me to provide more details regarding the horse or owner as I can’t, but please spare a happy thought today for H and E who should be having a (probably very emotional) reunion in Hollyhead later on today. West Mercia Police
 

DebbieCG

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By the way the above also highlights the loopholes concerning travel out of the UK - there should be changes at Government level concerning checking all horses that exit have valid passports etc.

Perhaps this loophole should be explored by the makers of the Cutting Edge Channel 4 documentary 'The Horse Detectives' if they were to make a follow-up documentary about the continuation of horse theft in the UK.
 

bailey14

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Yes I have seen this before now, but it doesn't mean anything. It could be that they have been duped by the story too. I remember not long ago in Birmingham there was an urban myth concerning a child that was stolen out of a shopping trolley in Asda whilst the mothers back was turned. Security guards in the store raced to stop traffic from leaving the carpark, everyone was stopped from leaving the store on foot, police were called, and eventually police burst into the ladies loo where they found the little girl dressed as a boy with the abductors about to shave the little girls head. It was reported on a couple of web sites, but it was completely false, the story was an urban myth. Unfortunatley whilst these rumours continue to circulate people will believe them, and like chinese whispers they escalate hugely. I am sure if a thief is going to steal an unmarked horse they would not bother messing around plaiting its mane, they would do something less obvious like pick 'the only grey in the field' or the only bay with a blaze or whatever. Its got ridiculous this story.
 

Serenity087

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Now would I be a Kentish lass, or a lass of Kent?
I do believe the guildford horse story was found to be a scam.

Can someone honestly answer me this.

Do you HONESTLY think the people that are able to circumnavigate all your high tech security systems, make a mockery of the UK's equine identification system, get horses out of the country or across the other side in no time at all actually rely on PLAITS to identify the horses they're going to steal?

In the day of the camera phone and mobile sat navs, you really think that these people are stupid enough to plait a horses mane when all they need is a photo and a co-ordinate?

Don't underestimate your enemies. Seriously.
 
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