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Lip Tattoo on ISH?

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  • Lip Tattoo on ISH?

    My trainer (dressage) was given a potential schoolhorse by an old friend (fox hunter) as the horse has arthritis which has ended his jumping career, although he is fine on the flat with minor maintenance. He needed quite a bit of rehab when he came in last summer. His feet were not good and he was back sore from a poorly fitting saddle.

    I started working with him on the longe to get him to work over his back and really like him, so I am planning on starting lessons on him in a few weeks.

    Now--the part that makes me really curious--my trainer was told he is an Irish Sport Horse. Believable as the horse is huge, over 17 hh with big feet. However, when he was vetted, vet discovered a lip tattoo (unreadable) and said he was actually an OTTB.

    Fast forward to last week, when former owner was visiting. We were chatting and I asked her about the tattoo, and was the horse actually a TB. She told me that he was an ISH, that they are also tattooed. Said she got him from a breeder in Georgia, out of a field as an unbroken 6-yr old. She told me the breeder's name but I've forgotten it, as she's into foxhunting and I don't know anyone in that world. She didn't have papers on him.

    I'm not trying to prove the horse is something he isn't, I just really like him and would love to find out more about his background/breeding.

  • #2
    I am certainly no expert on ISH but did breed one and registered him IDHSNA and there was nothing about tattooing him. In fact, looking at their registration guidelines/forms, it's all about blood-typing and DNA so can't imagine why a tattoo would be required. Sounds like a large OTTB to me.
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    • Original Poster

      Thanks for that website, a lot of good info on there! The list of breeders shows none in Georgia. I'm thinking, like you, that he might be a TB. Former owner said she was not given any papers, so who knows. Next time I'm at the barn I'm going to see if I can decipher any of his tattoo.


      • #4
        Sometimes if you use a blacklight it can help-- if you can get a partial the jockey club can usually find it. They can also DNA test against all registered horses to see if there's a match, although I think there's a fee.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
          Sometimes if you use a blacklight it can help-- if you can get a partial the jockey club can usually find it. They can also DNA test against all registered horses to see if there's a match, although I think there's a fee.
          Thanks! More good advice.


          • #6
            While technically any horse can be tattooed, a standard lip tattoo screams TB. Another trick to reading them is getting a well lit photo, and then inverting the colours and bumping up the contrast. A lot of the time this will make the ink really pop out from the pink of the membranes.
            Last edited by Katona; Jan. 15, 2018, 08:40 PM. Reason: spelling


            • #7
              Just a general reminder that racing Quarter Horses also have a lip tattoo. Most are on the smaller side compared to some racing TB’s and relatively unlikely to pass for an ISH, but I’ve met exceptions.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Katona View Post
                While technically any horse can be tattooed, a standard lip tattoo screams TB. Another trick to reading them is getting a well lit photo, and then inverting the colours and bumping up the contrast. A lot of the time this will make the ink really pop out from the pink of the membranes.
                Thanks, another thing to try. I am for sure going to try and get a pic of the tattoo!