Permanent Identification in horses

Horses September 27, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Equine Freeze Brand 
on Shoulder


Using colorings and markings to identify a horse is a good method of horse identification, but what if a horse has no unique markings, such as one with solid bay coloring and no white facial or leg markings?

How would the owner identify his or her horse from a group of solid bays with no white markings? One way to do this is to use permanent identification methods to mark the horse.

Not only does this give the owner a more specific way to identify the horse, but it also deters theft and increases the recoverability of that horse. Horses can be permanently marked and identified in several ways, including:


  • hot iron (fire) branding
  • freeze branding
  • electronic identification
  • lip tattoos.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.