Horseback Riding

Can I See Some ID?

March 23, 2009

What the National Animal Identification System has to do with you and your horse.

Horses play an important role in the livestock industry.

By Kristin Syverson with information from the Equine Species Working Group

On March 11, a representative of the American Veterinary Medical Association testified before the U.S. Congress on animal identification, making the case that a mandatory nationwide program that tracks livestock is the most effective way to minimize the effects of an animal disease outbreak.

Currently, the National Animal Identification System is a voluntary program intended to identify animals and record their movements for the purpose of disease management and control.

AQHA supports NAIS as a voluntary program.

What does this have to do with you and your horse?

Under the Animal Health Protection Act, “livestock” is defined to include “all farm-raised animals.” That includes horses.

Since 1992, AQHA and Bayer Animal Health have honored outstanding ranches with the Best Remuda Award. “Best Remudas” features stunning photography and descriptive text about each of the winning ranches and their horses, on which they rely in their daily work.

In fact, NAIS can have such an impact on the equine industry that the American Horse Council founded a 35-member task force in 2003. The task force, called the Equine Species Working Group, explores the relationship of the equine industry and NAIS.

Billy Smith, AQHA Executive Director of Information Technology, is a co-chairman of the task force. AQHA has worked and continues to work closely to ensure that NAIS remains compatible with the needs of the equine industry.

The ultimate goal of NAIS is:

  • To establish a national system to identify livestock and livestock premises for purposes of disease control.
  • To allow the “trace back” within 48 hours of a confirmed diagnosis of a serious animal disease to ensure rapid containment of the disease.
  • To protect animal health in the United States the ability to move and market livestock. Movement is particularly important to the horse industry.

Participation in NAIS requires the following information:

  • An identification number for each animal.
  • An identification number for each premises that holds or manages livestock.
  • A movement recording system, involving a location, time and date stamp, so that livestock included in the system could be “traced” to their current location in the event of a major disease outbreak.

When you celebrate the American Quarter Horse as a true working ranch horse with Jim Jennings’ “Best Remudas,” all proceeds from the book benefit the American Quarter Horse Foundation, which funds scholarships, equine research, therapeutic riding and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

The United States Department of Agriculture provides more information on the NAIS and the Equine Species Working Group offers a list of frequently asked questions.

Go to QuarterFest on Our Dime: Contest Entries Due Friday!

AQHA members have a great opportunity to win a trip to QuarterFest: A Celebration of the American Quarter Horse. This one-of-a-kind event, May 1-3 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, will be a chance to ride, touch, observe and learn how to care for your American Quarter Horse.

If you’ve visited AQHA’s new web site, – and you want to visit QuarterFest – here’s the deal: In 200 words or less, tell us which tip on you have benefited from most, and explain why. On the site, you’ll find tips and advice on training, recreational riding, showing, horse health and breeding – so you have lots to choose from.

Send us your entries no later than March 27. And please adhere to the word limit; longer essays will be disqualified. We’ll only accept one entry per person. The contest is open to AQHA members over age 18, and the winner will be notified by April 3.

The prize includes airfare to Murfreesboro from anywhere within the contiguous United States, hotel accommodations and event admission. Visit America’s Horse Daily for complete rules and to submit your entry.