FEMALE jockey Nina Carberry is outraged after thieves stole expensive winter rugs from her horses in an overnight raid.
The talented amateur jockey discovered the theft this morning.
Designed to keep horses warm during the winter, the rugs can retail for up to €150.
"Plenty of places are being robbed at the minute and good rugs would retail for €100-150," Nina's agent Shane Lyons told the Herald this morning.
As well as being a leading jockey, Nina, inset, heads up a successful bloodstock business at her home in Ratoath, Co Meath. Theft of horses, rugs and equestrian equipment is a common problem for many owners and is a lucrative business for thieves.
Gardai do not hold specific figures for horse- theft alone, as statistics are combined along with stolen cattle and sheep.
Once taken, horses are very difficult to recover, and the ease of movement between Ireland and the UK adds to the problem. It is estimated that many are quickly sold for horsemeat and that the more valuable animal is shipped out of the country. Ports do not have the resources to check the true ownership of animals.
Gardai do not have microchip readers or the technology to identify the actual owners of animals, so micro- chipping doesn't work. The theft of tack, horse trailers and equestrian-related products is also happening on a regular basis.