If you make the decision to freeze brand your horse(s), there are several things you need to do before the actual branding process. First, you must contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture. You can do this online at www.agri.ohio.gov or call 614-728-6220. Ask them for the information packet on branding livestock. They will send you an information packet with an application and a copy of all the brands that are already registered in the State of Ohio. This ensures you won't be making a brand that looks too much like someone else's.
Read over this packet carefully since there are some symbols you can't use. Also, some letters have to be shown backwards because they look too much like another. In our case, our brand is a horse shoe with a G in the middle of it. The G has to be backward because the letter G looks so much like a C. You will also have to select a place on your horse for your brand. Your information packet will show you where you are allowed to brand.
You probably have an idea what you would like for your brand already. There are several places online that will make your branding iron from your design. If you Google, "livestock branding irons," you will find some options. You can even make it yourself with a little work. Also, if you know someone that can weld and is fairly handy with metal, they could help you with it.
Once you have your design, you will need to sketch it on a piece of paper and send it back to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, along with check for $25. They will look it over, and if everything is satisfactory to them, they will send your brand registration certificate. This brand will be yours forever, as long as you renew it every five years.
Branding is a great way to identify your horses in the event they are lost or stolen. You can also use your brand to mark your saddle, tack, or stencil it on your trailer or truck.
In the next issue, we will discuss the process of using your new brand on your horse.
Ohio Trail Riders