One of the most controversial topics in the horse industry recently has been microchipping and positive horse identification. With new U.S. Equestrian Federation rule change proposals requiring microchipping and identification documents for horses competing in age, experience or breed restricted classes up for discussion and vote at the annual meetings this year, many myths are circulating on the subject.
But what are the facts? And what would implementation of these rules mean for the general public? Let the mythbusting begin!
Myth 1: Microchips are expensive.
International Standard Organization microchips are now available from the microchip companies for as little as $5 to $8 per chip. These are also Fédération Equestre Internationale compliant chips.
After polling facilities ranging from Hagyard Equine Medical (Ky.), Palm Beach Equine (Fla.), and Rood & Riddle (Ky.) to local veterinarians and clinics, we found that insertion of microchips by a veterinarian ranges from $35-$60, which most often includes the microchip. This one-time fee should be valid for the life of the horse.
Horses that are imported from the European Union already have a microchip because it is legally required. There are also American breed registries, such as the Rheinland Pfalz-Saar International and Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society, which require all horses registered with their organization here in the States to be microchipped.
Starting Jan. 1, 2017, The Jockey Club will also be requiring all foals to be microchipped.
Myth 2: Microchips can be removed easily.
Microchips are implanted into a horse’s nuchal ligament, which is just below the mane and about halfway between the poll and withers on the left side. According to a well-known microchip company, MicrochipID, “It cannot be removed without general anesthesia and surgery.”