Two small children had to be reassured by their parents after thieves broke into a stable yard and stole their pony saddle in a haul of £5,000 worth of tack.
It means Florence Rosten, four, cannot ride their Shetland pony Arnie to school from their Stowupland home with her brother William, seven, until the insurance is sorted out.
Their mother Kate said: “They heard us talking about it and we had to go and show them where they [the burglars] had been and what they had done.
“Their main concern was that the horses were OK. The children are OK but it’s terrible.”
Police are linking the burglary of the stable yard across the road from the Rosten’s house, early on Thursday morning with another in Burnt House Lane, Battisford, the night before.
Kate believes the thieves used a van to carry off their haul, only leaving behind one of Florence’s stirrup irons.
Kate said: “At least they didn’t come into the house. They took two pony saddles, my saddle, rugs, my body protector and general stuff. They also took my neighbour’s saddle, which was in my tack room.
“They also took odd things – they took my riding hat and nobody buys used riding hats.”
Arnie, who was named after Arnold Schwarzenegger because of his tough attitude, has been a regular visitor to school because Florence has ridden him there since William started school.
Suffolk Police say the Burnt House Lane burglary was between 6.30pm on Tuesday and 6am on Wednesday.
An offender broke into an outbuilding and stole a leather head collar, white silk hat with brown spots, numnahs, Ariat Bromont riding boots, liveryman clippers, Pro-lite air jacket, three bridles, a Wintec saddle and a Bates saddle with a total value of about £2,000.
Tack thefts often go in spates, so police advise horse-owners to review both perimeter security and outbuilding security at equestrian premises and say mortice locks used to secure doors should conform to BS 3621.
Padlocks should be hardened steel close-shackle, conforming to European Standard EN 12320 and achieving the security grade classification five or above and used with an equally strong locking bar.
Consider the use of an intruder alarm where large quantities of tack are stored.
Limit access to your tack room from adjoining stables or buildings or over the top of any partition walls.
Never leave tack and equipment lying around the yard – if it is not in use, lock it in the tack room and use an alarm!
Mark your tack. Tack can be effectively marked with your postcode. Postcoding can be done with ultra-violet marker pens, engraving, stamping or even paint. Property marking may dissuade a thief if you advertise the fact that your property is coded.
Take photographs of any valuable equipment. If they are stolen, the police can circulate the photo to dealers who can then look out for your property.
By taking the time to register property on www.immobilise.com people can ensure it would be identifiable to all law enforcement agencies across the country. Immobilise is a free service.
Anyone with information relating to this crime should contact PC Sarah Reavill from Stowmarket on 101 quoting ST/15/3436 for the Stowupland crime and ST/15/3405 for the Battisford one or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.