Top 10 Ways to Keep Horses Safe and how EQR can help

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We invest time and money to protect our homes and property, and often without realizing it, leave our horses vulnerable to theft from home, at shows or while traveling. Most of us personally know at least one person who has suffered the horrific violation of having a horse stolen. It’s time for the equine community to band together and take every step possibly to prevent horse theft. The measures provided can, at the very least, make it very uncomfortable for a thief to target and successfully profit from the theft of YOUR horse.

#10. Brand, microchip or tattoo.

While all three methods are beneficial, we at EQR highly recommend freeze branding. A branded horse is not a good target of theft, and will most often be passed over in preference of an unbranded target.

A brand greatly increases expedient, successful owner identification. A brand registered with your state can be used as proof of ownership. A brand registered with EQR provides a route for national identification and internet search-ability within our database, accessible by the public, law enforcement and animal welfare.

A horse with a brand is carrying his own source of identification which can not only help deter theft, but bring him home in the event of loss or natural disaster.

#9. Truck & Trailer Decals.

Chances are you personally know at least one person or family who have had their trailer stolen from a show, event, camping or even from home. Often, including their precious horses and valuable tack. The personal, emotional and financial loss can be phenomenal.

By adhering vinyl truck and trailer decals, your property becomes much less desirable a target. As EQR members, you may special order decals containing YOUR personal brand, farm name, and EQR emergency contact information, making it easier to identify your trailer from long distances. EQR works with our members and law enforcement in the event of theft to help in identification of property and provide media blasts not only to law enforcement, but to the public as well.

The best defense is to deter theft and make your property the least desirable target. As a second defense, EQR will make it very hard for whomever stole your property to hide!

Members: it is critical to keep your EQR membership profiles current and up to date with photos of your registered horses and trailers so that we BEST SERVE YOU should you need us.

#8. Mark Your Tack.

Marking the underside of your tack can help make identifying your property easier as well as deter prospective thieves. A number of methods may be used to mark your tack, including; permanent marker, leather engraving, identifying conchos and other silver type embellishments. Many of us at EQR prefer branding the undersides of our tack and recommend this method of marking tack.

When you order a branding iron from Pittsburg Foundry, you can also purchase a mini-iron perfect for such tasks. The mini-iron can also be used to brand steaks, wood decor and other items. By the way, all EQR members receive a discount coupon from Pittsburg Foundry saving members $40.00 off typical market price AND includes a FREE truck/trailer decal with your brand.  Now, your horses, truck/trailer and tack all carry your brand!

Visit our friends and sponsors at Pittsburg Foundry: http://www.freeze-brands.com/

#7. When You’re Away.

We often load up one or two horses and haul for a day of riding, leaving the rest of the herd at home. Not to mention long periods of time we may be away due to work or other reasons. These are times when neighbors or passersby may be the only eyes on our horses. What if our horses get out? Or are seen ‘down’ in their pasture, sick or injured? Often our neighbors have no idea what to do or how to handle an equine emergency, and no way to contact the horse owners.

Every EQR member receives a free outdoor emergency sign which can be mounted on a fence post, gate or barn. Additional signs may be purchased at any time. Each sign contains the EQR ‘hotline’ phone number, which is answered 24/7. Anytime an at-home emergency call is made in behalf of one of our member’s horses, EQR will personally contact that member with a report. Your privacy is ensured while a contact number is publicly posted for neighbors, passersby or even the police to be able to get word back to you regarding any emergency at home, through EQR. THAT’S security!

#6. Proof of Ownership.

Establish an organized, easy-to-find proof-of-ownership file. To save valuable time and frustration in proving ownership should a theft occur, keep on file:

a. Registration papers (if horse is registered with a breed association);
b. Dated bill of sale and/or breed association transfer-of-ownership paperwork;
c. Photographs; and
d. Description of mark or brand and written description of all unique characteristics.

All EQR members have the option of privately storing a digital copy of all such papers in their EQR membership profile, as well as current coggins test. All stored documents are for our member’s use only, and can be accessed by logging in to your membership profile from any location where internet is available, by computer, cell phone or other web enabled device. Documents may be printed from your file. Your documents are kept safe and will always be there should you need them for any reason, whether to assist in proving ownership or to temporarily replace lost or damaged originals.  This EQR service is free, and is included in all memberships.

#5.  House Away From the Road.

If you plan to build a barn or corral, locate it away from the road. Place facilities beyond your house if at all possible. They are less likely targets if they are more difficult to access and require thieves to pass a house. Lock gates to pastures that can be entered from the road.

Do not hang halters and lead ropes on stall fronts, corral gate posts or anywhere in the open. Secure halters in a locked tack room or feed room. Never leave halters on pastured horses.

EQR endeavors to provide theft prevention measures, deterring potential theft by publicly informing visitors that your farm and horses are protected by membership with EQR.  While EQR is not law enforcement, we believe that by working closely with law enforcement, sale barns, veterinarians, branding professionals, state brand registration entities, animal control agencies, borders/customs, and all forms of public media, that equine theft can be deterred and thwarted, and that horses may enjoy a life-line of security in an often cruel and unforgiving world.

#4. Photograph horses and keep photos current.

Photograph both sides of the horse as close as possible, being sure to get the entire horse in the frame. Although saddles, blankets, leg wraps and people may look good in a photo, they often impair the photo’s usefulness for identification. Take close-up pictures of any unique, identifying characteristics such as a brand, permanent scar or white markings.

At EQR, we recommend taking side views, both sides, with all 4 feet showing. Front and rear photos are certainly helpful as well. Within each EQR Member Profile, is an area where members are to upload photos of each of their horses, enter identifying marks, brands, microchip info, tattoos, etc. Members may also store digital scans of registration papers, current coggins, health papers, immunization and deworming records, so forth. This is a free service to all our members and a handy way to keep all your important documents and identification photos in one convenient location, accessible from any computer, smart phone or other web enabled device.

#3. Be able to identify quickly and without doubt.

“All my horses are branded and micro chipped. In case of theft or escape, I want to be able to identify mine quickly and without doubt.” Steve Jones, 33 years with LSU and the Arkansas Extension Services and State Equine Specialist.

Horses and equipment are stolen from barns, farms, pastures, boarding and training facilities, competitive events-even from backyards. Tracking stolen horses can be difficult because theft reports are often delayed and stolen horses can change hands frequently and at remote locations.

EQR members have a strong support system, first to assist in DETERRING theft, and second to QUICKLY assist in publicizing theft to the proper sources, media and public, and finally to assist in recovery and return in the unfortunate event of theft. Membership with EQR provides a lifeline to your equine companions and stock!

#2. Lifetime registration with EQR.

Upon joining EQR, members have the option to purchase a Lifetime Registration for each of their horses. Each Lifetime Horse remains in the EQR database as long as he/she lives. Registration is transferable from owner to owner for the life of that horse, and is given as a certificate. Should a horse end up in an undesirable situation years down the road, EQR will contact the person of interest who registered that horse, providing them the opportunity to rescue the horse and bring him back home, regardless of whether that person’s membership had been maintained over the years.

Brooke Ferguson, pictured here, has played a very active role in rehabbing and rehoming rescue horses through her family farm, Journey’s End Horses, where each rescue is given Equine Quick Response’s “Lifeline for a Lifetime”, to ensure they will always have a way back home. 

#1. All of the Above.

Have you registered your horse with EQR?


When you register your horse(s) with EQR, the registration fee is a ONE TIME fee to enter your horses in our national database. The annual fee is a yearly membership, payable on the anniversary of your signup date each year.

What can you Register?

  • Register your brand
  • Horses with tattoo, BLM Brand or Microchip
  • Unbranded Horses
  • Show, Pleasure, Trail and Performance Horses
  • Mules, Ponies and Draft Horses
  • Unregistered and Grade Horses
  • Vehicles & Trailers

How can EQR Help?

  • Searchable national database
  • Protection after sale or re-homing
  • Theft protection
  • Natural disaster support
  • Link to law enforcement and agencies
  • Emergencies at home

What is the EQR Database for?

  • Each member has a personal profile where you can enter your horses, your brand, specific details about each of your horses as well as photos.  Your profile will be searchable by the public, though no one will be able to see your personal information, your brand and horse photos will be searchable within our database according to the keywords you used in each of your horse’s descriptions, as well as markings, brand, tattoo, microchip details.
  • Law Enforcement and other agencies of interest to equine emergencies, rescue and care have non-member access to our database.  They cannot see your personal information, such as name, address, phone, etc. However, they are able to search our database by horse location, description, brand, markings and other specific keywords.
  • Anyone can file a report with EQR about a missing, lost, found or stolen horse.  Someone finding a horse can take photo with a cell phone or digital camera of the horse, its brand or any identifying factors, and upload it to our site for assistance with determining an owner.  EQR will contact the owner personally, private information is NEVER shared with any non-official EQR administration staff.
  • In the event of a natural disaster, authorities, veterinarians, and other persons may submit photos or details of found horses for identification.  Branded horses will have a higher success rate for quick identification and safe return to their owners.
  • Typically, every state has a booklet of registered brands.  Law enforcement from each state are provided with such books.  They are not digitized traditionally.  Many officers do not actually have them on hand in the field.  Now, all officials have access to a searchable national database to assist efforts in locating owners and safely returning lost, stolen or displaced horses.  Our database is easily accessed by any computer, and even smart phones with service in the field!

These are but a few uses for the Equine Quick Response database.  Please follow our blog for ongoing articles providing information and education about our services and the many ways EQR is determined to assist the equine industry in keeping horses safe, and reducing concerns of horse owners.


Equine Quick Response Memberships

When becoming an Equine Quick Response (EQR) member, you will have several membership levels to choose from according to your needs.  The EQR membership database is set to launch February 2014.  We invite you to consider protecting your horses with an EQR membership and look forward to providing a valuable service to horse owners nationwide.

ANNUAL Owner Membership Levels
Registration fees are one time payments to register your horse(s) with EQR.  Annual memberships are to be paid once each year, renewable upon the anniversary of your initial registration date.

PARTNER / $19.95 registration fee
            $14.95 annual membership fee.  Limited membership for horses without a brand.

HOBBY / $59.95 registration fee
            $19.95 annual membership fee. 1 to 4 horses.

FARM / $79.95 registration fee
              $19.95 annual membership fee.  5 to 9 horses.

RANCH / $99.95 registration fee
              $19.95 annual membership fee.  10 to 24 horses.

REMUDA / Call for special pricing
             25+ horses

Photo 1: Closeup of your brand

Photo 1: Closeup of your brand

LIFETIME / $50.00 per horse
Current members are eligible to purchase a lifetime registration for their horses.  Lifetime registration enables protection after the sale even if your membership is not maintained.  When providing a horse with a Lifetime membership, previous owners, contacts or persons of interest who registered the horse are responsible for maintaining accurate and updated contact information within the EQR database.  Reminders will be provided annually.

Photo 2: Right side of your horses, all 4 legs showing

Photo 2: Right side of your horse, all 4 legs showing

In the event a horse is recovered by law enforcement, animal control, sale barns, etc., regardless of time passed,  any reports made to EQR regarding the at-risk status of  any registered horse, contact will be made initially to any current member owner registered, if any.  If that party is not interested or able to initiate rescue efforts in behalf of the EQR registered horse, or if there is no member owner registered, the party registered under the Lifetime membership will be notified immediately.

Photo 3: Left side of your horse, all 4 legs showing

Photo 3: Left side of your horse, all 4 legs showing

The LIFETIME Membership registration is significant to breeders or trainers who sell horses and include EQR Lifetime Membership Registration for their colts or sale horses, or any person needing to sell a horse they care about and wish to provide a permanent lifeline to.  Regardless of how many owners the horse may encounter during its lifetime, the breeder/trainer/previous owner will always be registered as a person of interest and contacted should any reports be filed on that horse.

When registering your horses with EQR, each horse will require three photos to be submitted for their profile.  These photos will be used to verify identity, or may be used in national alert blasts to assist in the recovery of lost or stolen horses.

When taking your photos, be sure lighting is good and your background not too busy so that your photos clearly depict your horse, its build and markings.  These are not sale photos, so do not be concerned with setting your horses up perfectly, the primary concern is a clear view of each side and all four legs so that socks, stockings, etc. can be easily seen.

On the subject of lip tattoos

luck-lip-tattooMost breeds of horses racing in North America are required to have a lip tattoo for identification purposes prior to their first race. This tattoo is inside the upper lip and is linked to the registration papers to identify the horse and owner. The identifying lip tattoo was started in 1947 by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau and was shown to be so effective that now most states require a tattoo on any horse who will be racing.

Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses are typically tattooed for racing purposes, however, there are those who utilize the tattoo registration having no intent of racing.  Most Appaloosas are tattooed whether they race or not.  Arabians are also tattooed with the last six digits of the horse’s registration certificate number.

Why are horses tattooed?

Tattoos are an additional means of identification of a race horse. They are used along with the horse’s markings, color, age and sex.  The horse identifier at the racetrack verifies that each horse entered in a race matches this information as recorded on its official registration certificate.  The tattoo is meant to be a guard against connections entering one horse (a ringer) in place of another. Not only is the number checked during the morning vet exam, it will be confirmed once again when the horse enters the paddock or saddling enclosure for that afternoon’s race. Ringers almost never happen these days.  The tattoos are also useful for identifying stolen horses, and even obtaining history on a retired racehorse you may adopt.

Is it possible to register a horse tattoo with EQR?

Yes, it certainly is possible to register a horse tattoo with EQR, however,  there are limitations of not having an exterior visual brand, which may lessen the opportunity for a “non-horse person” to identify your horse in the event of loss, theft or disaster. The majority of law enforcement professionals and volunteers may not be comfortable lifting a horses lip, or may not know to look there for identifying marks.

The Jockey Club
About Horse Racing
Hello Race Fans

Our horses depend on us

mark hazelOur domesticated horses depend on us to provide them with all their needs. As horse owners, keeping them safe is one of our primary considerations, and responsibilities. At EQR we know what it means to care for a 1200 pound animal like a family member. We, too, are horse people.

Our team’s expertise in the equine industry, emergency management services, law enforcement, customer service and animal cruelty gives us a diverse knowledge base ready for action. When your horse is registered with EQR, you have our entire team on your side.

Photo by Mark Hazel (used with permission)

EQR offers economical identification method


EQR offers a way for the average person to have the ability to “identify” through the economic process of brand registration; no scanning or high tech identification equipment required. A photo of your horse’s brand, and basic description of the horse, provides identification and a way for your horse to be tracked back to you.