As of December 1, 2017, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will require horses and ponies to be microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 compliant chip to compete in classes that require United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) registration.
The microchip verifies a horse’s ID, which allows the horse to compete for points and prize money and to be eligible for certain USEF and USHJA programs and awards.
Here’s how microchipping works:
Microchip implanting is safe, quick, and relatively simple. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and it is coated silicon to help secure it underneath the skin midway down on the left neck in the vicinity of the nuchal ligament. Microchips are implanted by licensed veterinarians, who thoroughly sterilize the area of implantation before administering a local anesthetic at the insertion site.
A 14-gauge needle is then inserted under the skin and into the ligament to inject the chip, which is assigned a 15-digit number. The procedure usually takes under 15 minutes and costs less than $100.
In addition to competition requirements, microchipping is an important part of equine management and can be helpful in the following situations:
1. Theft – If a horse has been lost and is suspected to be stolen, a microchip will be useful in quickly identifying the horse and returning it to its rightful owner.
2. Disaster – Natural disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes often displace horses. If those horses are rescued by emergency shelters, scans for microchips will almost always be performed.
3. Loose Horse – Loose horses that are retrieved by animal services will be scanned upon intake and can be quickly returned to their owner if microchipped.
Contact your veterinarians at Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 for more information on microchipping your horse.