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schaved ice
Jan. 4, 2008, 02:41 PM
This may be a silly question but I have always wondered. What age do they tattoo Tb’s inside lips? How do they do this? Is the horse at least tranquilized?

Thanks,

K

Laurierace
Jan. 4, 2008, 02:54 PM
They tattoo them when they get ready for their first race, whatever age that happens to be. They are not tranquilized but they are restrained by a device that works like a twitch. It turns their lip inside out and the numbers are applied one by one. The numbers are made out of needles that are dipped in ink. I know it sounds unpleasant, but they really don't seem to mind it.

EponaRoan
Jan. 4, 2008, 03:17 PM
How do they do this?

Very carefully! :winkgrin:

Here are some photos a friend took of a horse being tattoed and the equipment and finished work.

http://www.quarterpole.com/gallery2/fillies-3-12-05?page=2

http://www.quarterpole.com/gallery2/...3-12-05?page=3

Photos are clickable if you want a closer look. These two fillies have raced now, but had not at the time. Can't recall when they had their first gate works and if it was before or after.

There are a lot of things they do to horses that don't seem pleasant to us (Casslicks anyone?) but don't seem to bother the horses at all. They're pretty much floating on an endorphin cloud as far as I can tell when the twitchy things are involved.

Acertainsmile
Jan. 4, 2008, 04:16 PM
I had one filly that actually layed down when the first letter went in... it was not pretty... I bought a gelding that was raced once... his tattoo looked like Chinese lettering... what an interesting session that must have been!

Dispatcher
Jan. 4, 2008, 04:27 PM
No wonder it is so hard to read tattoos as the horse ages. I didn't realize they are just the outline of the letters and numbers!

Years ago, the letters and numbers were solid. And ya know, I've never even looked at my friend's 2 OTTB. One in 20 years old and the other 11--I'll have to check that out!

schaved ice
Jan. 4, 2008, 05:09 PM
Thanks everyone! I have an OTTB myself and have always wondered how his tattoo got there. THey must not mind it because of the twitch endorphins because I got a tattoo during my wilder days and that thing hurt A LOT.

I have found that the Racing forum is filled with the most helpful and friendly people on the entire COH Bullet board!

Texarkana
Jan. 4, 2008, 05:11 PM
No wonder it is so hard to read tattoos as the horse ages. I didn't realize they are just the outline of the letters and numbers!

Years ago, the letters and numbers were solid. And ya know, I've never even looked at my friend's 2 OTTB. One in 20 years old and the other 11--I'll have to check that out!

The numbers/letters aren't outlines. They are made of dot patterns. The shape of each character is formed by many dots. I think the official term is "parallel cluster" or something like that. Sometimes the ink runs and it appears to be solid, but I'm pretty sure they've used the parallel cluster style since the TRPB started tattooing in the 1940's.

Giddy-up
Jan. 4, 2008, 05:13 PM
The numbers are made out of needles that are dipped in ink.

So each letter/number is "stamped" on 1 at a time? Is it similar to getting a human tattoo?

Dispatcher
Jan. 4, 2008, 05:20 PM
The numbers/letters aren't outlines. They are made of dot patterns. The shape of each character is formed by many dots. I think the official term is "parallel cluster" or something like that. Sometimes the ink runs and it appears to be solid, but I'm pretty sure they've used the parallel cluster style since the TRPB started tattooing in the 1940's.

Oh! On the pictures shown it just looked like the outline. But then, that could also be my old eyes!!

I remember that my mare's tattoo looked like solid ink . I mean it may have been a "cluster" of little dots, but the each number/letter looked filled in. That was an awfully long time ago-- say 1966.

thanks for clarifying!

Texarkana
Jan. 4, 2008, 05:25 PM
Oh! On the pictures shown it just looked like the outline. But then, that could also be my old eyes!!

I remember that my mare's tattoo looked like solid ink . I mean it may have been a "cluster" of little dots, but the each number/letter looked filled in. That was an awfully long time ago-- say 1966.

thanks for clarifying!

I just looked in the great album that EponaRoan posted and found these pictures that illustrate what I'm talking about:

http://www.quarterpole.com/gallery2/fillies-3-12-05/tatoo_equipment

http://www.quarterpole.com/gallery2/fillies-3-12-05/tatoo_equipment_3

You can see each number/letter is made of little clusters of needles.

The tattoos are more like a combination of a brand and a tattoo, not really like a traditional tattoo a person would get at the tattoo parlor.

Dispatcher
Jan. 4, 2008, 05:39 PM
I get it now! thanks!!

Tiramit
Jan. 7, 2008, 01:30 PM
I hadn't realized the numbers were applied one at a time either. For some reason, I always imagined a single line device that clamped on. No reason for that image, LOL. I guess that would be harder with the variances in mouth shapes / sizes of horses.

Just out of curiosity, what happens if the numbers are transposed or a mistake is made? Is there a record of that happening?

rebeginner
Jan. 11, 2008, 12:31 PM
"They tattoo them when they get ready for their first race, whatever age that happens to be."

Not necessarily. I had my 8-yr old TB mare tattooed last year, and she has never raced, nor ever will in the future. She's grey, and I wanted at least some form of identification on her. After much dithering and a lot of research, I decided that tattooing was a good way to go. I got contacts through this BB (of course :)) and a very capable, kind person at the track did it for us (not in his official capacity, although he is the guy one would go to for the "real deal" for racing).

My mare was somewhat addlepated by the process, but didn't seem particularly ouchy or upset. However, she did get lots of treats for being such a good girl!!;)

Texarkana
Jan. 11, 2008, 12:48 PM
Just out of curiosity, what happens if the numbers are transposed or a mistake is made? Is there a record of that happening?

I believe they often try to "fix" any incorrect letters/numbers as best they can and then add an asterisk to the end of the tattoo.

Big_Tag
Jan. 13, 2008, 01:31 AM
So...

TBs aren't tattooed til just before they go to race? Is that correct?

STBs are generally freeze-branded @ the farm at suckling age, at least for the moderately large farms. Other than that they are pretty much done as soon as they get to the track to begin training.

Weird.