US Equestrian Federation Implements New Rule Following Multiple Equine Fatalities This Season

Published 09/06/2023, 4:52 PM EDT

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The equestrian community saw the loss of two horses during the Belmont Stakes. This was during the final stretch of the Triple Crown event. In fact, all three of the Triple Crown race tracks had fatalities this year. If this wasn’t enough, there have also been 12 deaths at Saratoga since July 13. In response to these distressing events, several new initiatives were introduced, including limits on the number of races a horse could participate in during a rolling eight-week period.

A German equestrian show initiated research efforts aimed at protecting horses. And now, a positive development emerged during the 2023 Mid-Year Board meeting when the US Equestrian Board of Directors endorsed a new rule.

An essential step in the equestrian world


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This rule mandates the immediate on-site verification of horses, with the primary aim of ensuring the health and well-being of every equine athlete. As per reports from ‘US Equestrian’, the US Equestrian Federation is working on bringing in the microchipping process. In this, the equine athletes are monitored on-site to ensure their safety during the races. It will also be helpful in keeping an eye on the horses during a plague or any other natural catastrophic event.

The board of directors at the federation agreed to this microchipping thing during their meeting at the 2023 Mid-Year Board. Beginning December 1, 2025, in alignment with GR 1101.1, all horses taking part in USEF-licensed or endorsed events must possess a 15-digit ISO-compliant microchip, either 11784 or 11785.


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Talking about the initiative, Judy Sloan, the USEF Secretary-Treasurer and a dressage rider stated, “I am thrilled to see widespread use of microchipping technology put in place.” He further added, “Knowing that we can quickly and accurately identify, track and protect our horses is a positive step for horse welfare and gives me real peace of mind as a horse owner.” 

via Imago

The best part of this process is that the chip installation takes only a few seconds to complete. Yet, inserting the microchip is intricate, demanding a skilled touch.

How the chip is inserted

The microchip is implanted within the nuchal ligament of the horse’s neck. Once it is inserted, the chip will stay there throughout the horse’s life. The US equestrian authorities have already started to look for potential collaborations with microchip manufacturers, software companies, and veterinarians.


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USEF is planning to organize chip-implantation events at their upcoming competitions. The Federation will be working closely with equine veterinarians to establish designated locations nationwide for microchipping USEF-registered horses.

“Microchips will allow our competitions to become an even safer and healthier place for equine athletes,” said Dr. Katie Flynn, USEFs Equine Health and Biosecurity Veterinarian. The chip will record the temperature, which could give vital information to owners whether at home or on the road. A rise in temperature could be an early sign of an infection and owners could take quick action.


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In the realm of equestrianism, horse safety is paramount. Microchipping, a novel initiative by the US Equestrian Federation, promises to enhance horse welfare. This proactive approach underlines the commitment to safeguarding equine athletes, addressing the darker aspects of this captivating sport. Equestrian communities will embrace this transformative endeavor for the betterment of their beloved horses.

Watch The Story: After Five Horses Meet Their Death At Belmont Park, New York Racing Association Releases Statement of Equine Safety


Written by:

Abhishek Rathore


One take at a time

Abhishek Rathore is a US sports writer for EssentiallySports. He is a passionate sports enthusiast and comes with a staunch experience in content writing. So, he blended his love and passion and started writing about all things sports.
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Edited by:

Suman Varandani