Get Your Horse Microchipped

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:

FEI Passports and ID

The Jockey Club Microchip FAQ

USEF rule change

(and an article explaining the change)

USHJA presentation on microchipping

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.

26 thoughts on “Get Your Horse Microchipped

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  1. This is definitely on the list for the next year or so- partially because USEF rules blah blah blah, but more importantly for the reasons you listed above. God forbid the worst should happen, I need to be able to find my boy and take care of him!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Both of my show horses (or rather, my show horse and my baby who is slated to become my show horse if she ever starts acting her age haha) are registered with the Andalusian registry. I sold two mares earlier this year who were also Andalusians, and microchipped.

        My retired OTTB jumper and my husband’s trail horse need to have an appointment made once I figure out if I have to buy them or if my vet has them already — it’s one of those things I always forget to do!


  2. It’s definitely on the docket for us. Especially since theft seems to be more common and goodness knows my horse is like a golden retriever and would probably go with anyone on any trailer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I chipped the dogs without even thinking of it, but never considered it for Cosmo. He is pretty recognizable, but I’ll be getting him chipped also. Thanks for all the info!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Conrad came from a shelter & he was automatically chipped. Since my last 3 horses have had lip tattoos, I wasn’t too concerned, but then here we’ve had really bad fires and floods in the last decade and a microchip seemed like a really good idea in light of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Been on my mind since the talk of federations/associations starting to require them. Since mine has such a recognizable brand (a cross within a horse shoe – obviously not a breeding brand!) I never considered microchipping him, but your point about any natural disaster and him being loose makes me want my phone number embedded with him! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is on my list, thanks to USEF. I think it’s a good idea overall for many reasons, but honestly I’m not looking forward to shelling out the cash to get it done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really wasn’t too expensive in the grand scheme of horse things–less than the cost of Eli getting shod. And lifetime registration is included in the cost of the chip itself for the chip that I bought.


  6. Do you insert the microchip yourself, or do you order it through your vet and they insert it? I do it on dogs and cats all the time in my profession, but horses seem much different….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I ordered the chip myself to provide to my vet. For horses, an equine vet has to do it–the chip is imbedded into a ligament on the left side of the horse’s neck. My horse was sedated for the procedure.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Definitely! The next day, I couldn’t even tell where it had been implanted, but knowing my contact info is permanently attached to my horse is a relief.


  7. Karen, FYI, Equine Rescue Network is/was late to the microchip party. Stolen Horse International began offering microchips to owners for this purpose long before ERN ever did and has had the NIP Registry in place for far longer. Debi Metcalfe literally wrote the book on the subject of equine theft (“Horse Theft: Been There, Done That”). Janine Jacque’s organization, such as it is, cannot hold a candle to what Stolen Horse International ( has done for years.

    If you want more information, you can either go to the website or I’ll be happy to provide you with it. Debi Metcalfe has written many magazine articles and appeared many, many times at events such as Equine Affaire, Road to the Horse, Southeastern Horse Expo, New York Horse Council, Ironwood Mountain Mule Days, and many others. She’ll be appearing at the Certified Horsemanship Association International Conference at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN on Oct 22. It’s open to the public if you would care to attend.

    Join us on Facebook and become a part of the NetPosse. We’ve been ‘riding the internet” for nearly 20 years now.

    Liked by 1 person

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