Poll Recap: Identification Methods

Poll Recap: Identification Methods

Some breed registries and organizations require lip tattoos as a form of identification.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Permanent, tamper-resistant, and accurate identification of horses can provide positive proof of ownership should you and your horse become separated. In last week’s poll we asked our readers what type of identification methods they use for their horses. Over 500 people responded to the poll, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 521 respondents, nearly one-third (148) said they use microchips as a form of identification for their horse, while 75 individuals (14%) said they use freeze branding. Another 50 respondents (10%) indicated they use lip tattoos as a form of identification, and 17 respondents (3%) use hot branding. The remaining 231 individuals (44%) said they do not use any of the forms of identification mentioned. 

Additionally, 48 individuals left comments about identification methods for horses.

Poll Results

Many people commented about the use of microchips:

  • “My Lusitano is microchipped but my mixed breed mare is not.”
  • “I have 18 Miniatures and each one has a chip.”
  • “My registry requires microchipping.”
  • “I microchip all horses but also have Warmbloods with hot brands from breed registries.”
  • “I would like to microchip my horses.”
  • “We should do microchips, but we haven't.”
  • “I was thinking of microchip, but I've heard problems with chips migrating.”
  • “I would like to chip, but my veterinarian doesn't like them.”
  • “My five horses all have microchips”

Some commented about their horses’ lip tattoos:

  • “I buy off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs), and all are lip-tattooed. If one was not I would microchip.”
  • “My OTTBs, of course, have lip tattoos.”
  • “My OTTB has a tattoo, although it's a bit hard to read at he's 18 now.”
  • “As most of mine were OTTBs, they were lip tattooed. But anything I own in the future will be microchipped.”
  • “I have a tattooed OTTB and an unmarked Thoroughbred/Belgain cross mare”
  • “My OTTB has a lip tattoo.”
  • “My OTTB had lip tatoo when I got her.”
  • "One horse has a lip tattoo because he was part of the Arabian racing industry. My second horse has no identification."

Several people said they have photos or registration papers for their horses as forms of identification:

  • “I have photos and breed registration, but nothing marking the horse.”
  • “My horse has very unique and distinct markings which would easily allow me to identify her.”
  • “Pictures and registration papers are the only identification forms we have. We have Appaloosas, so their marking are pretty unique."
  • “Color video and still pictures.”
  • “Just have pictures of all sides and markings.”
  • “Photos and registration.”
  • “Unique patterns, scars, and markings.”
  • “I refer to their registration papers.”

A few people commented on the use of branding for identification:

  • “I would prefer hot branding, but let my brand certificate expire.”
  • “One horse is freeze branded with ranch brand of breeder, but the others have no identification. I have considered microchips.”
  • “My horse was branded by his breed registry.”
  • “She was freeze branded when I got my sweetie.”
  • “One of our three came with a brand.”
  • “We have a registered brand.”
  • "Hot branding horses is illegal in Australia."

Others referred to other forms or methods of identification:

  • “Our Thoroughbreds are all DNA registered and also we take extensive pictures of each one.”
  • “My horse has only a charm with contact info on his halter/bridle.”
  •  “I use dog tags.”
  • “Eye-D.”
  • “I am interested in learning more about all procedures, including pros and cons.”

Interested in learning morea about identification methods for horses? You can find out more about the benefits of various equine identification methods from our archived webcast on equine identification, download a free horse identification form, and stay up-to-date with the latest horse identification resources on our "horse identification" topic page on TheHorse.com 

This week we want to know: How do you use longeing for training and exercising your horse? Vote now and and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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