Tattoos and Tattooers

Prior to race entry, all American Quarter Horses must be tattooed by an AQHA representative.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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

January 1, 2024. Learn more about microchipping here.

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.

Why are horses tattooed?
Tattoos are an additional means of identification of a racehorse. 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 AQHA registration certificate.

Which horses are required to be tattooed?
Prior to race entry, all American Quarter Horses must be tattooed by an AQHA representative.

Are there any requirements that must be met before I can have my horse tattooed?
Beginning with American Quarter Horses foaled in 1992, all foals must be DNA genotyped and parentage verified before they can be tattooed.

I received a DNA genotype sticker to attach to my horse's registration papers. Is that all I need to do before having it tattooed?
No, the DNA genotyping is only the first step. You must also have requested that AQHA parentage verify the horse. In this second step, the foal's genotype is compared at the lab with the genotypes of the sire and dam. Once it is determined that they are a match, the registration papers will be reissued with "Parentage Verified" printed across the front on existing papers. On new AQHA registration certificates, "Parentage Verified" is printed center bottom on the front of the certificate. If a registration certificate was issued prior to parentage verification, you need to return the original certificate before an updated certificate is issued.

What will it cost to tattoo my horse?
The fee for tattooing the American Quarter Horse is $120, of which $30 is reimbursed to the tattooer.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to AQHA.  AQHA is not responsible for checks that are made payable to the tattooers.

What if a tattooer tells me I owe more than $120?
The tattooer is not authorized by AQHA to charge any additional charges other than the $120 tattoo fee.

Where are the tattoo numbers recorded?
The tattooer will record the tattoo number, the tattoo date and his name on the horse's registration certificate. On AQHA's new registration certificates, the tattoo information will be recorded on the back. Tattoo numbers are also recorded in AQHA's database as a part of each horse's permanent record. Should a horse be lost or stolen, it can be identified via the tattoo and the last recorded owner can be notified by cross-references in the AQHA database.

How do I find or contact a tattooer?
Many of the tattooers provide the racetracks with a schedule of when and where they will be tattooing. A tentative schedule is also available on AQHA's website under the Calendars/Schedules heading. Some of the tattooers will make appointments to meet the customer at a farm or ranch, if there are enough horses available to be tattooed. Tattooers set their own schedules and are not required to be available daily. You may also contact the AQHA Racing Department at (806) 378-4365.  Below is a current list of tattooers.

Can a horse that is not going to race be tattooed?
Yes. This can be arranged with the tattooer. It can be done in the same manner as the racehorses if the horse is parentage verified. If the horse is not parentage verified, it may still be tattooed. However, the number used should be different from the numbers included in the AQHA-issued tattoo report books. The tattooing may be done by the AQHA tattooer or by a veterinarian chosen by the customer. The number may be selected by the customer, tattooer or veterinarian. In these cases, the number can be recorded on the AQHA registration certificate as an additional marking such as when a brand is recorded. There will not be a cross reference in the AQHA database for this type of tattoo.

Who can I contact if I have a complaint with a tattooer?
Direct complaints about a tattooer to the AQHA Racing Department at (806) 378-4658. 

Schedule of AQHA Tattooers and Identifiers

Because the schedule is subject to change, please call the tattooer/identifier at each racetrack to ensure the correct dates and times. Remember, tattooers may tattoo according to their own schedules and are not required to be available seven days a week. If you have any questions or concerns, call the AQHA Racing Department at (806) 378-4658.

REMINDER: All foals born in 1992 or later must be DNA genotyped and parentage verified prior to being tattooed.

Rillito Park / Yavapai Downs / Turf Paradise 
By appointment
Area Farms - By appointment
Lee Peterson - (602) 882-7593

Los Alamitos / Area Farms
By appointment
Ernesto Marquez - (760) 619-6126

Arapahoe Park
By appointment
Richard Nye - (402) 880-0758

Hialeah Park / Area Farms
By appointment
David Reinshuttle - (954) 290-2545

Fair Meets/Pocatello 
Gem County Fair / Les Bois Park / Rupert 
By appointment
Dave Wheeler - (208) 538-7170

Arlington Park / Fairmount Park 
By appointment
David Anthony - (815) 549-9126

Indiana Downs / Area Farms 
By appointment
David Anthony - (815) 549-9126

Prairie Meadows 
By appointment
Travis Skarpness - (515) 490-3580

Eureka Downs / The Woodlands  
By appointment
Josh Van Oort - (515) 418-0101

Fair Grounds / Delta Downs / Evangeline Downs
By appointment
Justin Carrier - (337) 274-6201

Louisiana Downs 
By appointment
Fred Carrier – (337) 292-0332

Hazel Park / Area Farms 
By appointment
David Bryan - 419-670-3691

Canterbury Park / Area Farms 
By appointment
Victor Hanson - (605) 222-9698

Montana Fairs / Yellowstone Downs 
By appointment
Jerry Richins - (435) 232-4333
Dave Wheeler - (208) 538-7170

Elko County Fair / White Pine Raceway / Area Farms 
By appointment
Jerry Richins - (435) 232-4333

The Downs at Albuquerque / Sunray Park 
By appointment
Jesus Garcia - (915) 727-4036

Ruidoso Downs / Sunland Park / Zia Park  
By appointment
Cenobio Sainz - (915) 490-1335

By appointment
Victor Hanson - (605) 222-9698

Beulah Park / River Downs 
By appointment
David A Bryan – (419) 670-3691

Fair Meadows / Remington Park / Will Rogers Downs / Area Farms
By appointment
Josh Van Oort - (515) 418-0101
Joel Cusimano - (405) 714-6505

Portland Meadows / Fair Meets 

By appointment
Vernon Baze - (253) 670-6214

Mark Folkman - (971) 865-0616

County Fair Meets / Ft. Pierre
By appointment
Cole Wilson - (701) 224-5024

Gillespie Co. Fair/Lone Star Park/Area Farms
By appointment
Aaron Newsom – (817) 597-0578

Lubbock / Odessa / Area Farms
By appointment
Marty Wells - (325) 656-5680

Retama Park and Area Farms
By appointment
Amber Doege - (210) 363-7428

Sam Houston
By appointment
Paul Stutes - (832) 528-8593

South Texas
By appointment
Sergio Pena – (956) 592-3323

Laurel Brown / Dixie Downs / Weber Downs / Area Farms 

By appointment
Jerry Richins - (435) 232-4333

Fair Meets / Sun Downs / Emerald Downs 

By appointment
Vern Baze - (253) 670-6214

Wyoming Downs 
By appointment
Dave Wheeler - (208) 538-7170
Jerry Richins - (435) 232-4333 



Lethbridge / Grande Prairie 
By appointment  
Howard Jesse - (403) 795-1850

By appointment
Butch McDonald - (250) 377-0098

Ajax Downs 
By appointment
Sean Slater - (905) 953-5423

Hipodromo De Las Americas 
By appointment
Daniel Hernandez - 011-5255-5397-8845