These days, it takes more to keep horses safe, secure

EQUESTRIAN

November 14, 1993|By MUPHEN WHITNEY

The spate of recent horse mutilations throughout Maryland have led to a series of State Police briefings for horse people.

State Police representatives have been sharing information with the equestrian community in an attempt to deter these crimes and to catch the perpetrator.

There are two things that all horse people have to be concerned with: prevention and evidence protection. This column will discuss prevention and a future column will deal with providing and protecting evidence.

Most of us always have arranged a secure environment for our horses to ensure their safety. Traditionally, we have been concerned with such things as good footing in the paddocks, lack of drafts in the barn and healthy sources of water. Very few of us have ever considered having to protect our horses from a madman determined to mutilate them.

But no one is safe these days, and we must beef up security around our barns.

The Maryland State Police offer the following suggestions:

* You must secure the perimeter, interior and exterior of the place where your horses live. Walk around your property with a criminal's-eye view and see how easy it would be to have access to the horses.

* Put up as many obstacles as possible -- such as fences and gates -- to deny easy access to your property. Keep your view of the barn area unimpeded by shrubs or equipment, and secure all windows.

* Lighting is one of the most cost-efficient ways to secure your property. Even better is combining a motion detector with lighting. Consider a beam-type alarm system for the barn, and put some barn lights on timers. Put a baby monitor in with the horses

* Post no-trespassing signs.

* Always be alert for suspicious activity -- chances are your barn will be cased before an attack or theft. Call the police at once if you observe suspicious activity.

Get the best description you can of anyone engaging in suspicious activity. If it is dark out, try to see the vehicle the suspect is using and describe the placement and colors of the headlights, any distinguishing features of the vehicle and the direction of travel.

* Involve your neighbors in your concerns and enlist their help in being vigilant.

* Make sure you have good records on your horses and can identify them.

Help clean up the trails

Have you signed up yet for Saturday's trail work day?

Trail clearing work will take place at the Piney Run Equestrian trails at Martz Road (off Liberty Road) near Eldersburg. Work will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon.

Wear long-sleeved clothing and bring long-handled pruners or clippers if you have them. This is important work to keep the trails open.

These trails are open to all horsemen, not just those in Carroll County. The Carroll County Equestrian Council depends on all of us to keep the trails in good order.

For more information, call Carolyn Garber at (410) 875-2630.

Trail schedules change

Don't forget that a new trail schedule is in effect during hunting season.

The trails at Union Mills are open for equestrian use Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The Gillis Falls area is open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

These schedules will be in effect until Feb. 28.

The Piney Run Trails are still open to horses seven days a week.

Austrians win team title

The gold medal in the recent 1993 World Pair Driving Championships was won by the team from Austria.

The silver went to the German team and the team from Poland took the bronze.

The U.S. team, including Marylander Gary Stover, finished sixth. The U.S. team was defending the gold medal it won in 1992.

Calendar of events

Today -- Anne Kursinski Clinic, Shadowbrook Farm, Baltimore. (410) 796-4947.

Today -- Dressage Schooling Show. Equilibrium Horse Center, VTC Gambrills. Introductory, training, first- and second-level classes. (410) 721-0885.

Wednesday -- CCEC Educational Seminar on equine insurance. Agriculture Center, Westminster. (410) 833-4593.

Friday -- Deadline to register for the Dec. 4 Pleasure Horse Seminar sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Service and the University of Maryland. (410) 848-4611.

Saturday -- Trail Work Day. Piney Run Equestrian Trails. Martz Road off Liberty Road, Eldersburg. 9 a.m. (410) 875-2630.

Dec. 4 -- Mid-Maryland Horse and Pony Association Awards Banquet. Frock's in Westminster. 6 p.m. Send checks ($18 adults, $8 children) to Jim Wiles, 608 Jasontown Road, Westminster, 21158.

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