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Finding TBs whose tattoo's are only partially readable?

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  • Finding TBs whose tattoo's are only partially readable?

    I just got a teenaged TB gelding with a faded crooked tattoo. He also isnt very cooperative about letting me read it, so I am awaiting help to have a good look see and try to take pictures. If I can find out part of the numbers, plus his gender, color and markings? Where can I go to research who he really is? Do I absolutely have to have the whole tattoo? I think the middle three will be readable but the first letter and last number look really faded from what I can see so far

    Also, I hear that using a blacklight and taking a picture can help read faded tattoos, How does one do that exactly? Anyone have good methods for reading them? I really want to find out exactly who my new boy is!

  • #2
    Go to the Jockey Club's web page, get a login/user name (free) and use their Partial Tattoo Lookup service. As long as you have the letter and at least a couple numbers, plus age/gender/markings, it should be able to narrow down the options for you.

    A few pointers: sometimes it doesn't hurt to use "horse" or "colt" when what you have is a gelding, as he might not have been gelded before leaving the track.

    When they say markings, they mean the cowlicks (especially the one on the face) and VERY detailed descriptions of white markings. Margins, spots in the marks, how high a sock goes up the leg and whether it's higher front or back, etc. Makes it easier to know it's your horse.
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    • #3
      I often take a photo of the hard to read ones out in the daylight with the best setting my camera has, then bring a series home and play with different types of filters (sepia, black and white, even color contrasts) to see what I can make out better. Plus blowing up the picture on the screen helps. Be sure to get all the way up into the crevices of the lip as the tattoo can go around the side a bit.


      • #4
        Another tip on pictures - don't hold the camera too close to the lip - sometimes the pictures are clearer from farther away, or at least easier to manipulate later.

        As for as partials go, if you can't get the letter, but know approximate age, you can run searches under several letters till you find a likely hit. (the search site will tell you which letter corresponds to which year when you go to select a letter from the drop down box)

        Also remember it doesn't take much white to count as a "marking" - I was going nuts trying to find a horse in there once, I knew his name but needed to verify his registration number, because I didn't think he had any white on his head. Turns out he has about three white hairs on his forehead that are next to impossible to see, and that counted as a white marking. heh.

        This link should get you started:

        "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

        My CANTER blog.


        • #5
          Bev, at Midatlantic Horse Rescue is really, and I mean really good at figuring out tatoos, you might want to send the best pics you get to her. She has helped alot of people figure it out. Good Luck.


          • #6
            The minimum you need....

            Is the letter/year of birth, two numbers, color and sex.

            The others have given good tips on the photos....



            • Original Poster

              I worked with him again todaya bit to get him happier about flipping his lip. He was a bit better today. Once I get some help I think I will be able to get it. The first letter is going to be very hard to figure but we are reasonably certain he is between 12 and 16yo, so I have a start.

              Im hopeful I can find him kinda easily because he is A. truely black which IME doesnt seem to be as common as bay or chestnut and B. Has fairily distinctive facial markings with a disconnected start snip and a faint stripe. Hopefully that is also distinctive and easy to find.

              Thanks for the pointers guys! I was so hoping to get a picture today. Im dying to know who he is lol.


              • #8
                Not many TBs are registered as black even if they are, so do not be surprised if he listed as db/br. Let us know what you find out.


                • #9
                  If you can post the pics here (tattoo and any white markings on the horse) I'd love to look at it too... I'm pretty good at reading the difficult ones.


                  • Original Poster

                    Sure! Ill do my best to get some pictures ASAP. Its going to be a challange to get him to allow it because his tattoo is quite crooked from the glimpses I have seen so far. He will have to allow me to flip it completely up for a good view.

                    Its hard to imagine anyone might have mistaken him as a brown foal even in a foal coat, He is really black, even in the summer. (I knew this horse before I got him a few days ago)


                    • Original Poster

                      Holy cow...I got him to let me read it today. It isnt as faded as I first thought once he stood still and let me look a second. Seemed to pretty clearly be X20251

                      Hes a gelding now, no white except his face which I will post a link to his picture...Anyone want to look him up for me?

                      getting picture, brb


                      • Original Poster


                        seeing if this will work


                        • #13
                          This is what comes up for this tattoo number:

                          Horse Name Horns and Halo Tattoo X20251 Year of Birth 1994 Dam Name Designer Halo Color Dark Bay or Brown Sex Gelding

                          Horse Marks 1 Irregular star pointing slightly to left on bottom; scattered white hairs to left on bridge of nose; line of white hairs beginning to left above nostrils, widening and becoming bordered flesh colored between nostrils, ending between nostrils; patch of white hairs to left on upper lip. Scattered white hairs throughout coat, heavier in flanks; white hairs at root of tail. Median cowlick in star.

                          Could this be him?


                          • #14

                            I put in that tattoo and black and white on face only and got one horse:
                            Horns and Halo, 1994 out of Designer Halo, dkb/br

                            Looks like he was unraced.....


                            • #15
                              I posted while you were posting the picture - the photo of the face looks like the description the Jockey Club has. Looks like he also has some white hairs in his flanks and at the base of his tail......



                              • Original Poster

                                Nice thanks so much!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Oh hey, Where can I go to find out where he was bred and so forth? Any way to find out that kind of information?


                                  • #18
                                    All I could find was that he was unraced, bred in Florida by Mary K Haire


                                    • #19
                                      Born in Florida
                                      Bred by Mary K. Haire

                                      Someone should know the breeder. Found one article on her, and it was about her buying a mare in foal to Curlin for a good dollar last winter sale in Ocala




                                      • Original Poster

                                        What about getting a copy of his papers? Is that possible? I know they dont mean squat for a gelding but...