Microchipping Your Horse

Register and track your horse with this important identification tool.
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Microchipping Your Horse
Veterinarians insert the microchip in the middle of the crest on the left side of the horse's neck. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

Each spring the veterinarian comes out to the barn where I board my off-track Thoroughbred and, stall by stall, conducts exams for health certificates, pulls blood for Coggins tests and administers vaccinations. This April, she came armed with another tool. After each injection and blood draw, she used a scanner to check the horse’s neck for evidence of a microchip. If it didn’t beep in recognition, she inserted a chip into the horse’s crest, noted the identification number and continued to the next horse.

Increasingly, major equine registries and organizations are mandating horses be microchipped with 15-digit International Organization of Standardization (ISO) chips for identification purposes. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has required it since 2013. All Thoroughbred foals born in 2017 and later must be microchipped to register with The Jockey Club. And, starting in 2019, all horses competing at United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) events, as well as the Thoroughbred Makeover, must have one. Western disciplines don’t yet mandate microchipping, but organizations such as the American Quarter Horse Association are encouraging it through educational and pilot programs.

How it Works

The microchipping process itself is fast, simple and low-cost — typically $30-60 per procedure

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Written by:

Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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