We recently purchased a Quarter Horse without his registration. In this post we listed a physical description of the horse and details of our purchase. We've been learning the hard way that it is very, very difficult to recover a horse's registration, and perhaps impossible, when you have nothing to go on except a physical description and approximate age.
In our case, the horse came off the track without his papers. We've read that this is a common practice, but is against American Quarter Horse Association rules. Unfortunately in our case, we are at least the 4th owner this horse has passed through since he retired from racing. We haven't been able to trace back to the individual who purchased him off the track. But we assume that person will be the key clue, who might lead us to the track-owner.
For others in this situation, this website has a good walk through of recovering a registration.
The AQHA really offers little help for this, although everyone we've spoken with has been friendly. They simply have no way of looking a horse up by its physical characteristics and do not keep photos. They also can't (or won't) search a tattoo with wildcards. What we have is a very hard to read tattoo, a gelding with an ambiguous color (bay or chestnut?), and hundreds of possible matches.
Since the AQHA requires money for the registered name and information on a possible match, it quickly became clear we would not be able to look them all up. In our opinion, this lookup service should be offered for free. Then the AQHA could bring "lost" registered horses back into the fold with new owners (and then collect fees for updated registrations, memberships, showing, etc.).
The (Standardbred registry) U.S. Trotting Association allows you to lookup horses by tattoo (with wildcards) for free online. Shame on the AQHA for not doing the same.
14 hours ago