OK, OK, I know… What?! Microchip my horse? I don’t even microchip my dog…
Well there’s a reason why you should microchip your horse and I’ll tell you…
If you are like me, you are probably thinking that there is no real way that my horse can get lost or stolen. I live on my own, secure property — or my horse is boarded safely.
Au contraire, mes amies…
I probably read lost/stolen horror stories every day. Unsuspecting owners wake up to a hole in their fence and their loved ones gone. Vanished — on the truck headed to Canada or Mexico for a quick sale to the slaughterhouse. Now, I’m not trying to put the fear of God in you. I’m just stating that since horsemeat drives a high dollar and times are tough, people resort to things they wouldn’t normally do.
ARE YOU PREPARED?
I know, I sound like a flyer for “Drug Prevention” or something… Sorry. I’m not trying to scare you, just inform you.
Anyway, are you prepared? I know I’m not. I have 12 horses here and I’m sure I’d have to dig deeply to find photos on all of them, let alone all sides and distinctive marking on all of them. I don’t have photos of specific birthmarks or telltale scars that would absolutely identify my horses.
Did you know that there are networks set up to help you figure out what to do if your horse is stolen. Stolen Horse International is one. But, once the horse is gone, if you don’t jump on it immediately and have all the information ready, most likely, your buddy will not return to you.
What if there was a fire and your horse had to be set loose? Or, what if you fell off and he took off? What if you were far from home and he got out of his pen and wandered around an area you were just visiting… No one knew you or this horse…?
And, I know this sounds impossible, but horses do get lost. Some make their way out of a paddock during a show or trail ride and end up walking down the road. That just happened here in Grass Valley. A horse showed up walking down a busy street, with tack! The tack had no tags (I feel we should always have a luggage tag on our saddles…) and the horse was unknown to all that met him. Luckily, after a day or so, someone talked to someone who heard of a guy from out of town that had lost his horse while he went to use the facilities. (Evidently, he hadn’t tied his horse up well and by the time the owner was done, the horse was waaaay gone.) Anyway, that rider was reunited with his horse. But, it usually isn’t that easy.
So, what can you do? Microchip. If this lost horse had had a microchip, he would have been scanned as soon as he was found wandering the roads.
HOW TO MICROCHIP?
For me, I always thought microchipping my horses would be too expensive. I didn’t look into it, but that was my assumption. And, I was wrong. You can easily get a microchip, already loaded in a syringe, for under $20. The actual chip is tiny. It is inserted like a vaccine and will last 25 years. All you have to do is order one, keep it and the next time your vet is out, ask him to insert it. Or, have him out right away… up to you. Here is a link to the microchip page on the Stolen Horse International site. You can get a few combinations and value packs if you have several horses. Here is an article to further read about the microchip for horses. And, here is another company that is heavily into equine microchip information.
Basically, a microchip is great. And, if you know your horse is lost and you are at the feedlot where it is or someone at the Humane Society where your horse was taken has a scanner, you can scan him/her and know this horse is yours. Or, if a bunch of people are on the alert for your horse and they know he/she has a chip, they can immediately scan any horse who looks like your horse and know instantly.
However, phase 2 of this is registration. This is another step that adds awareness if your horse is lost or stolen. When you microchip your horse, you can register the microchip with several agencies who upload the information to a large database. Then, if a microchip is discovered at a feedlot or on a horse that is roaming around lost, a smart individual can key the chip number into the database and up pops your name! Registrations are a short-cut to being notified if your horse is found. Yay!
In any event, I think the low cost of microchipping versus the high alarm and struggle in trying to find a lost/stolen horse makes a very solid case for the microchip. I mean, imagine if you were doing everything you could to find your lost horse… you had flyers, Facebook pages, photos everywhere, alerted the media… you did everything you could think of but you didn’t have a microchip. Then, you get a call. “We think we have your horse…” Your heart skips. “Can you describe the heart shaped star on his forehead? Is it more to the left? When did he have his feet done? Well, he’s been shaved so I don’t see that scar but it could be him… Do you remember if he had a swirl on his left lower neck?” Oy.
One person’s heart shape is another person’s circle. So, you wait for the digital photo but it is too close or too fuzzy to really tell… which means you have to get in your car and drive the two states over while you fear for your horse’s well being.
If you had a microchip, it ends any guessing. Just send a local vet over with a scanner (could be a dog vet…) and you have your answer. Easy.
So, check them out on Stolen Horse International or Microchip ID and see what you think. Oh, as an aside, I also saw a “tack chip” so you can protect your saddle and bridle investments…
THIS JUST IN FROM A READER: I did this microchipping on all five of the horses I own, and I was forewarned by the vet who implanted the chips that there are several manufacturers putting out different types of chips that require different scanners. It’s a great idea, but you might want to also recommend that the owner buy the matching scanner. I did that. That way if my horse turns up somewhere questionable, I can go there with my little scanner and my registration papers and prove that it’s my horse. But until the industry standardizes the chip format, there won’t be an easy answer.
SPEAKING OF LOST HORSES – LET’S HELP GABE, THE WONDER HORSE, WITH AN APPLE BOB!
Remember GABE THE WONDER HORSE? I wrote about him a while back. (Here is the link if you’d like to read it.)
Gabe was not really lost or stolen, he was dumped. There is a local to rural Washington dumping ground where it is known that horses are dumped and then shot and fed to the zoo animals. Or, so the story goes. Luckily for Gabe, he averted that fate by wandering into the yard of Jackie. Jackie knows nothing about horses. But, evidently, Gabe knew something about people, and he liked Jackie. He wouldn’t leave. Day after day, Gabe hung around Jackie’s house, looking at her.
Finally, Jackie consulted her neighbor, Marilyn, who happens to be a farrier. Marilyn took pictures of Gabe and put them up on a popular horse forum. Lots of interested people got on the bandwagon and did their best to identify Gabe by his tattoo. Obviously a TB. Marilyn had the vet out and they figured this old guy was around 28 – 30. But, he was in relatively good shape except for this hooves (which Marilyn fixed, bless her) and he was a bit skinny.
So, after all this hoopla to help find Gabe’s identity, it became apparent that Gabe had been working on Jackie. Jackie who had no intention of ever having a horse, found herself obliging Gabe, much to her husband’s dismay. And, as winter approached, the do-gooders on this particular forum, purchased a blanket and other items for Gabe while Jackie and her spouse put up a shelter and a make-shift corral — not that Gabe was going anywhere.
Long story short, this has been a very unexpected love affair between a non-horse family and a family loving horse. Gabe has several pastures now, give rides to the Grandkids
(and Jackie!), and has a new rescue buddy, Topper. Both Gabe and Topper look incredible and are very happy. Thanks to Marilyn, Gabe has photo updates bi-weekly so all of his fans can watch his progression. In fact, I often use Gabe and Topper in my Saturday PhoBlogs.
Today, I am writing about Gabe because his new people sometimes struggle with affording the senior feed. So, Marilyn has set up an apple bobbing contest to raise grain money. I think it is a very cute idea and not very costly. So, if you have a need for a horsehair zipper pull or bracelet, PLEASE get your name on an apple. At the end of the month, Gabe will go bobbing and pick out the apple with someone’s first place name! Topper gets to go second and he picks the second place winner and so it goes. I think it is a great idea and I’m sure there will be inspirational and humorous photos that I will post for you to enjoy!
GABE’S APPLE BOBBIN’ CONTEST!
Here are the details taken from Marilyn’s email. Enjoy and buy an apple for Gabe and Topper!
Count down: 22 days to go until ‘apple bobbin’ time. Will be video taped :)
Gabe’s Bobbing for Apples fundraiser!
Fundraiser for Gabe’s the Wonder Horse’s feed runs throught the month of July, ending July 31st at midnight, winner will be chosen on the first of August, time annouced later.
There will be five winners.
Chances/apples are $5.00 each with number of chances limited to 200.
Winners will be chosen by Gabe and Topper.
First place will be a beautiful bracelet made of Gabe the Wonder Horse’s tail hair or (winner has a choice of bead colors and charm).
All prizes will be made by artist Jen Brock, her lovely work can be seen @ http://forums.delphiforums.com/alexbrown/?msg=42623.2901&post=y&guest=y.
Second through fifth places will recieve lovely zipper pulls, also made from Gabe’s tail hair or a mix of Gabe and Topper’s hair (winner’s choice), and choice of bead colors and charm.
How Gabe and Topper will pick their winners;
For each chance bought, an apple (Washington of course) will be assigned a number starting from 1 up to 200 apples, the number will be written on a small flag stuck in the top of each apple, the apples with their flags will be placed in a water trough and they will be circulated, Gabe will be brought towards the trough and released, whichever flag Gabe touches first wins, then it will be Topper’s turn to pick an apple for second place, and so on.
Twenty three apples have been sold, the odds are good for winning one of Gabe’s five wonderful prizes.
Please be sure to let your friends and family know, also facebook, blogs etc., appreciated.
To purchase a chance/’s to win these wonderful prizes please send money to Jackie Tapia @ 3569 Beitey Rd., Valley, Wa., 99181, or pp to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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