Poll: Small Majority of Readers Use ID Methods on Their Horses

More than 860 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What kind of identification does your horse have?"

results of poll on identification on horses

Results were as follows: 

  • None: 36.68% (318)
  • Microchip: 21.57% (187)
  • Freeze brand: 18.11% (157)
  • Lip tattoo: 14.65% (127)
  • Hot iron brand: 5.77% (50)
  • Other: 3.23% (28)

Readers shared what they use for identification purposes in the comments below.

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  • one has lip, and 1 has hot iron the rest has none
  • I planned on microchip but my vet said they would travel and were useless.
  • Would use microchip if easier to use
  • He's a Pinto with distinctive markings.
  • Unique Conformational Abnormalities
  • Mine has both a freeze brand and a microchip for identification
  • he is a wild mustang and his brand is on his neck
  • whirl map on papers
  • checkmark
  • Beaux is a Mustang!
  • scars that they hav gotten over the years
  • also a double dimple on his neck
  • My horses have no ID, they are pets but I dont think they are in danger of being stolen.
  • He's a registered TWH with unique markings
  • special markings
  • One branded and microchipped, one neither
  • Freeze Brand- PMU Percheron Mare # "81".
  • Microchip, freeze brand and lip tattoo
  • Brand Inspection ID Registration Vet Records Xrays Ultrasounds
  • and a lip tatoo. He's a Standardbred retired harness racer and an excellent saddle horse.
  • also one with a lip tattoo
  • Micro chip
  • all horses should have permanent ID
  • registration papers
  • Simple freeze branded in a VERY visible location!
  • Micro chiped and freeze brands
  • US and European
  • body markings
  • only pictures to id her
  • Would like to freezebrand my 3 Arabians, but cannot find a vendor
  • It is a Holsteiner breed assoc. brand.
  • and microchip
  • AND MIRCO CHIPPED
  • I plan on microchipping my colt, multiple photographs might not be enough
  • Microchip--and my saddle too
  • 1 hot iron branded, 1 lip tatoo other 3 nothing
  • Leather neck straps with farm name and phone #
  • Ontario, Canada - not required. Registered with breed assoc.,BUT farm/horse I.D is coming!-
  • Freeze brand and Microchip
  • DNA typed
  • freeze brand and microchip
  • Older arabian mare is freeze branded, younger ones have nothing
  • Lip tattoo, small roan spot on neck, and white hair on his back (saddle) and nose (chain)
  • Only 1 of my horses has a hot iron brand. The other 5 have no id on them.
  • Microchip for my boys lacking their paperwork
  • thoroughbreds
  • 3 don't have any. one had a hot iron brand when we got her
  • OUr horses have both freeze brands and microchips.
  • 1 horse-lip tatoo, 1 horse-hot brand
  • after 20 years the freeze brand in unreadable
  • and a freeze brand
  • I keep pictures on file but am thinking of freeze branding in the future.
  • I have photos and EIA forms for each horse, but nothing on the horses routinely
  • Our registry requires microchip
  • 23 minis all Microchipped.
  • all have microchips, freeze brands, and the TB also has a lip tatoo. even minidonkey has chip&brand
  • he has photo registration papers
  • 4-way yearly/seasonal pics, whorl patterns & any markings + micro chip
  • all 3 of my horses have been microchiped
  • just white markings
  • mustang freeze brand
  • just distintive natural markings
  • per NHR breed requires them
  • I am planning on microchipping my horse
  • Holsteiner; registerd in Germany
  • hot iron branding is cruel and has no place in this day
  • exracer
  • my horse has both a freeze brand and a lip tattoo
  • They also have chestnut photo identification done by the Jockey Club in year's past.
  • TB racehorse
  • Sadly none. other than recording their markings.
  • 2 have none; 1 has two ranch/hot iron brands
  • We have several horses-two have lip tattoos, one has a freeze brand and two have microchips
  • Registration papers and Coggins
  • My mare was branded by the ranch where she was born and raised.
  • freeze brand-mustang,microchip-percheron,lip tattoo-thoroughbred
  • hires digital photos from 4 sides
  • In Vulcan!
  • blm burro
  • microchip is the only way I have heard to truly prove ownership
  • DNA testing for registration purposes
  • A brand, and S with an L thru it
  • We have 5 horses. 3 have freeze brands and 2 with lip tattoos.
  • My brand represents the lazy cow.
  • ear knotches
  • Required of all race horses. In addition two freeze brands.
  • Btwn all my horses I have several types---freezebrand, lip tat, microchip, & hot iron brand.
  • photo
  • nothing except their markings
  • white markings & base color noted on AQHA reg. papers
  • microchip and a freeze brand too
  • 3 Freeze Brand - 18 - none
  • One has a freezebrand and the other a microchip
  • i'm not aware that any are actually effective
  • My Morgan has an F 3 on his hip - my Quarterhorse has no identification
  • Freeze branding under the main. It is a felony if a branded horse is stolen.
  • lip tattoo and foal papers on file
  • I have horse with tattoo, chip. and brands
  • former racehorse, standard lip tattoo
  • & microchip-I have a fear of theft-caught someone trying to steal our horse trailer
  • and freeze brand
  • I have horses with microchips, freeze brand and digital photos
  • He's a retired racehorse, it is starting to fad in his old age
  • And one is a Fjord so looks like many others.
  • CHIP IS EASY TO INSTALL AND TRACK FOR BREEDERS
  • Perhaps the more obvious the better to avoid theft.
  • color
  • Thinking about getting a hot iron brand. Don't trust microchips as they migrate too often.
  • Mustang!
  • Microchip AND freeze brand
  • I have an awesome BLM mustang w/freeze brand id.
  • on some not yet on all
  • My stallion is breed-branded, but I am looking into micro-chipping.
  • All 6 of my TWH's are microchipped
  • Brand inspection card for Colorado, even though not branded- will prove ownership, not reg papers.
  • Her lack of branding has been a nagging concern of mine. looking into freeze branding. Pretty costly
  • and identifying scars
  • My 2 Mustang have brands the rest don't
  • tattooed once they go to the track
  • All three of our horses are microchipped. We like it and is impossible to change, unlike brands.
  • One has a brand and the other has none
  • At least for the 2 TBs; the Arab is evidently not marked
  • She is a registered Arabian and has no id except her papers and the markings noted on them.
  • Markings on the registration papers
  • s very distinctive scar on his shoulder
  • My TW came microchipped and I had my 1/2 Arab chipped last year
  • would love to have them freezzze branded but its next to impossiable to get thm to come
  • BLM mustang brand giving info via symbols for date and place of capture
  • TB ex racer - ran once came in last - has had nice life as show hunter & now low level dressage
  • one has a microchip and an ID tag on halter. 1 has blm brand and tag on halter
  • Microchip sounds GREAT though
  • ottb
  • One has a freeze brand, the other has a lip tattoo.
  • Updated pictures with whorl identification --freeze brand is next
  • She has a freeze brand on her L.shoulder and one on her L. hip

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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