Eli is an ex-racehorse, so he has an identifying lip tattoo that pretty much means he will not likely be passed off as a horse other than the one he is. Even better, his tattoo is still really easy to read–it is one of the clearest tattoos I have seen on a 13-year-old horse. But his tattoo doesn’t tell people who his current owner is. A microchip can.
So why microchip a horse? Several reasons …
Some associations and breed registries oriented toward horse sports and competitions already require it, and many will require it soon. Here are some examples, and yes, I am biased toward the organizations that have the most impact on my riding life:
(and an article explaining the change)
There are other, less enjoyable reasons to consider microchipping your horse …
Nightmare number one–your horse is stolen. He could be anywhere, he could end up anywhere. If he ends up at auction, will a microchip help? Maybe. The Equine Rescue Network is working on it.
Nightmare number two–fire, flood, or severe weather and your horse survives, but is wandering loose, no longer in his paddock, pasture, or stall. He may even be injured. Again, the Equine Rescue Network is working on it, and has a handy microchip FAQ.
Your contact information AND your vet’s contact information can be attached to the horse, for ease of finding any veterinary information that might be helpful. The information itself may not be stored via the chip (although with some chips it can be), but the vet clinic’s phone number is nearly as important as the owner’s.
I ordered a microchip from Microchip ID Systems, and they are partnered with the Equine Rescue Network in maintaining the Equine Protection Registry.
Microchip ID Systems also has their own FAQ about their equine products.
My last suggestion is to be sure to check with your vet before scheduling an appointment for microchipping as to whether they can provide you the microchip or if you have to provide one yourself. Microchipping horses is still not as common as microchipping dogs and cats, and Eli’s vet currently does not supply microchips, so I had to buy one online.
Eli is now microchipped, which is a little peace of mind for me.