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Horse Identification Methods

How to record a non-race tattoo number or microchip with AQHA.

If you're considering a lip tattoo as a means of permanent identification for your horse, AQHA is happy to add the tattoo information to his record.

Lip tattoos have been around for many years and have been used primarily for race horses. With the popularity of microchipping as another means of permanent horse identification, we want to make sure you're comfortable with the process of adding lip tattoo and microchip information to your horse's AQHA record.

Both of these identification methods are an excellent choice in recovering your horse in the event it is separated from you. And AQHA does its part by recording the information from lip tattoos and microchips on horses' permanent records.

This gives AQHA additional resources for looking up a horse in our database. We can identify the record of a horse by:


    • Registered name


    • Registration number


    • Lip tattoo 

      • AQHA will request the color, gender, and approximate age of the horse to cross reference


    • Microchip


    • Registered name or number of sire and dam

AQHA Customer Care can help with any of these searches, or members can visit AQHA Member Services to conduct your own horse research using the horse's registered name or number or that of the sire or dam. AQHA members get $10 in free records research each month.

AQHA will record microchip and tattoo information free of charge.


    • If you'd like to microchip your horse, most veterinarians can perform this simple procedure.

When having either procedure performed, ask the professional for signed documentation. Once the procedure is complete, submit the documentation or a copy of the documents and your horse's AQHA registration certificate to AQHA. The information will be added to AQHA's database and to your horse's registration certificate.  The certificate will be promptly returned to you.

While lip tattooing is only required if a horse is going to run on the track, and microchipping is not a requirement at all, AQHA is happy to record both identification methods in our system and can search for the horse with the tattoo number or chip information. This is a valuable step in responsible horse ownership and will help us help you in the event your horse becomes separated from you.

Additionally, AQHA records brands as identifying marks in a horse's record. We cannot search our database for brands, but we do like to record brands via a description on the horse's certificate and any photos the owner sends us.

Contact AQHA's friendly Customer Care department for help every step of the way: 806-376-4811 or via our online contact form.