Van Recovered – Tack, Not So Much

Got a call late last night that the police had found my van just a couple of miles from home.  Unfortunately most of my tack was taken, though clearly the thieves didn’t know diddly squat about horse tack.  They took five whips (longe, two dressage, two driving), which were essentially worthless due to age/cracking/damage, but left behind two pristine white cotton longe lines and an absolutely one-of-a-kind longeing cavesson.  They took my bridle, but left behind the quilted bridle bag and the flash that belongs to the bridle.

They took ONE side rein and for some reason that really bothers me.  I’d rather they’d taken both.  The side reins were specially ordered for me by a good friend and handcrafted, and since I use side reins so rarely, they were in like-new condition.  What the hell am I going to do with one side rein, other than be reminded the other was stolen?!  They took my saddle, but left behind the saddle cover.  They took two stall bandages, but not the polos.  And they left behind my pail with brushes, hoof pick, shampoo, conditioner, sponge etc…  Oh, and they were kind enough to leave behind my rasp, but took my helmet and riding gloves, along with my helmet bag.

My van is in rough shape.  The steering column is a mess and my key wouldn’t fit in the ignition.  Dead battery.  And somehow they managed to put a huge dent in my right front fender.  Seriously?  You drove it two whole frigging miles and couldn’t do that without denting it?!  Or, did your hotwire job end up short circuiting the whole vehicle, and in a fit of rage you kicked it?

The local tack shops are on notice and I’ll be spending the next while searching Craigslist and Ebay for my stuff.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky.


16 thoughts on “Van Recovered – Tack, Not So Much

    • Ditto on the hugs.

      Along with marking tack, remember to lock your doors even at the barn. A few years ago here in Walnut Creek, CA tack was being stolen from almost all the barns in the area. I can’t remember but the thieves were either caught or almost caught and stopped. They weren’t horse people but they learned that a lot of us feel our barns are super safe and leave our cars unlocked when we’re there. They’d hide out and when no one was looking, snatch and grab.

      • Just down the road from me! And thanks to you and Indy for the hugs. What local tack shops do you know of that sell used tack? I’ve contacted Happy Trails and Arney’s. I understand that most in the area only sell used stuff on consignment.

        • That’s been the trouble isn’t it? Lucky for me I don’t have the time or money to own so USUALLY I count on the owners to deal with most tack issues. I liked Clayton Saddlery until it closed years ago of course. I’m going to guess your best bet might just be BAEN (Bay Area Equestrian Network). I know its not the most convenient way to go. If you’re ever down this way, let me know! We can grab some coffee or something.

          • I do have a ‘stolen’ ad up on BAEN hoping the local horse people will keep their eyes open. I try to avoid Walnut Creek, simply because the only times I’ve had to go there were to visit the beloved IRS office. 🙂

    • Sorry to hear about the stolen tack, that sucks!
      Unrelated, how do I send you information? For example, I have been following your conformation analysis and I want to further educate my eye so I have been practicing. I searched the internet for decent conformation shots which turned out to be somewhat of a task (to find a good one anyway). I stumbled on a mare I thought made the cut so I’ve “critiqued” her using your methods. I’d love to hear your opinion on whether I got it right or not and if in fact the mare makes the cut.
      Lastly, you have a post about the stifle and hock angles but I don’t recall seeing any information on what the ideal angles are. Perhaps another post elaborating on the “hind-limb” could be in the making?

      • You can e-mail:

        There are no ‘ideal’ angles other than they not be extremely open or closed. Angles will vary depending on several factors. There is at least one, probably two, articles still coming for the hind limb before summarizing our set of sample horses.

  1. I think this is another reminder that most thieves are petty, a professional thief is going to take the good stuff. This whole thing has reminded me of when my bit was taken. The thief took two bridles only. One was an english bridle of pressed leather in a kind of sick orange color, but it was the only english bridle that has ever fit on my large horse. The bit was a nice straight snaffle 6″ that fit too. Bad as that was, the western bridle was a pretty nice, not best quality, but good thick leather with intact stitching, black with dye that never rubbed off, with silver dots and matching reins. All this was replaceable. Except my western bit. I looked for about 3 years for that bit. I guess I’ll never stop keeping an eye out for it, a few years back I say a similar one on ebay, I still look for that bit on every horse I see in the area and check out tack sales on CL.
    I guess all this is just to comiserate with you, glad you got the van back, but sorry it’s in such bad shape. Definitely a whole lot of hassle.

    • Oh and guess what. The western had my horse’s name on it. I still have an identical name plate that I hold on to just in case I ever find it. Dumb? You bet!

      • No, not dumb. The bit on my bridle wasn’t overly expensive, but is quite rare. I’ll probably be looking for it and the rest of my stuff for years as well. My girth was also handcrafted, so not too many of them exist, certainly not in the US, and not in the length I bought it in either. I’ll be able to spot all my stuff, even the cheap whips, from a mile away.

  2. Sorry to hear it but have hope! There were a number of saddles stolen from Ontario not long ago. Stupid thieves tried to sell them/consign them to Apple Saddlery where they were recovered. All is not lost, keep your eyes open and make sure you post brand, size, colour, distinguishing marks anywhere and everywhere you can. Horse people can, and do, help each other out. 🙂 Best of luck, hope you find them!

  3. Not a horsey robbery … but years ago, my car was broken into during a 20 minute rest stop at the Oregon dunes, while we were less than a hundred yards from the car, but behind the dunes (which are huge). We filed a police report, and a couple of weeks later about 3/4 of our stuff was mailed back to us by the local police, who found it in a dumpster. What stayed missing were various items of clothing. I had been wondering indeed about the proliferation of used clothing stores along that stretch of highway. . . all this is a very good warning, though, about securtiy especially in the summer as we move our horses around and leave gear in trucks and trailers.

  4. Walk the whole route they took and look in ditches, dumpsters and bushes. Search a several block radius of where the van was found and do the same thing. Also check the pawn shops, that is a common place to get rid of things, most of them are really nice about keeping an eye out if you give them a list.

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