Should You Microchip Your Horse?

Microchips: an easy, indisputable way to definitively identify a horse. In situations such as evacuations due to natural disasters or horse theft, it’s easy to see how microchip identification is invaluable. Other forms of identification are more subjective than a unique microchip number- markings change with time, tattoos become more difficult to read, and brands can be altered.

A microchip can also serve as proof of ownership, deter fraud in the sale of a horse, and identify at-risk horses at auction. But did you know the microchipping is also replacing older identification methods in breed registries? Did you know that many competitive organizations now require microchips?

Since 2013, the FEI has required microchips for competing horses. As of 2017, the Jockey Club requires microchipping for registration of Thoroughbred foals. The USEF and USHJA have required microchips since 2019. The AQHA is encouraging microchipping through the AQHA Microchip Pilot Project. The European Union has required microchips for foals since 2009. RPSI, Norwegian Fjord, and Oldenburg breed registries require microchipping.

The process of getting your horse microchipped is simple. First your veterinarian will scan your horse for an existing chip. Providing a chip is not found, your veterinarian will clean and prep the location for microchip placement. The standard location for placement is on the left side of the neck, halfway between the poll and the withers, within the nuchal ligament of the neck. The microchip is then scanned before placement to make sure the chip is read correctly. Each chip has a 15-digit unique number. The chip is inserted into the site and scanned again after placement to ensure it is read properly. Most horses tolerate this quick procedure very well, although the site can numbed with an anesthetic prior to chip placement if desired. Please contact us if you are interested in getting your horse microchipped. This procedure can be easily added to your horse’s next preventative care visit.

See the following links for more information on microchipping and show requirements:

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