Microchipping: Frequently Asked Questions

Microchipping: Frequently Asked Questions

The American Quarter Horse Association will begin the transition to microchips in place of lip tattoos to identify racing American Quarter Horses effective January 1, 2024. Here's what you need to know.

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When will the transition to microchipping in place of lip tattoos in racing American Quarter Horses occur?

  • January 1, 2024

If my horse has been identified by tattoo before January 1, 2024, do I need to have my horse microchipped?

  • No. Horses who were identified by tattoo before January 1, 2024 shall be allowed to continue to utilize their tattoo as means of identification.

How will identifiers collect microchip information, and where will it be stored?

  • AQHA is currently developing an application named QHChip for identifiers to utilize. Once a horse is microchipped and inspected by an official identifier, the information will be available on both the InCompass Solutions and QHChip app identification platforms.

Where should the microchip be implanted on a horse?

  • The AQHA rulebook will not dictate the location of the microchip implantation, but state that the location of implantation must be provided to AQHA, and the location information will be available not only in the horse’s registration information in the AQHA database, but also on the identification platform - InCompass Solutions, and the QHChip app, once the horse’s identification is verified.

What does ISO compliant mean for microchips?

  • ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a highly recognized accreditation federation for developing market relevant international standards. ISO standards are recognized worldwide. ISO 11784 and 11785 define the standards that regulate radio-frequency identification (RFID) of animals. To be compliant, the microchip must operate at a radio frequency of 134.2 Khz and contain 15 digits. AQHA will record any microchip placed in a horse reported by the owner, however, if a horse is being identified for racing, the microchip must be ISO compliant. AQHA recommends the use of ISO compliant chips.

What if a veterinarian microchips my horse(s)? Does AQHA have to do their own microchip, or will the microchip number from the vet's records qualify?

  • Any ISO-compatible microchip will be accepted. Once the microchip is scanned by an AQHA identifier, and the horse’s identification is verified, the data would be stored in InCompass Solutions and the QHChip database.
  • To be eligible to run, a horse that has already been microchipped must still be presented to an AQHA identifier to have its identification verified and thereby be entered into the QHChip and InCompass Solutions databases.

What is the cost to verify the identity of a racing Quarter Horse?

  • The cost to verify the identity of a racing Quarter Horse will remain $120.00.

What are the benefits of microchipping a horse?

  • Microchipping, as part of the digital identification verification, validates breed integrity. The ID number is recorded with the American Quarter Horse Association on the horse’s permanent record, and included with updated photos of each horse, all provided by the AQHA identifier who verifies the horse’s identity. 
  • Microchipping can result in increased efficiencies in horse management.
  • Microchipping can also help recover an animal in case of natural disaster or theft.