Horse theft

Crime of stealing horses

Horse theft is the crime of stealing a horse. A person accused of stealing a horse is known as a horse thief. Horse theft was fairly common throughout the world prior to widespread car ownership. Punishments were often severe for horse theft. In several places the sentence of death was carried out.[1] This was seen as a deterrent against horse theft.[1] Death for an agricultural crime such as horse theft is seen as inhumane under most modern systems of law.[1] Horse theft is an uncommon crime today.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia, ed. Wilbur R. Miller (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2012), p. 1034
  2. Jonathon Green, Crooked Talk: Five Hundred Years of the Language of Crime (London: Random House, 2011), p. 98