Can I Get Papers On An Unregistered Or Grade Horse?


Having recently bought a grade Quarter Horse, I have been wondering if I could potentially get papers for him even though he has no pedigree that I know of. Having a registered horse makes competing at horse shows a lot easier, you have more access to joining clubs and associations, and getting into competitions is much easier. So can you get papers on a grade or unregistered horse?

Can I Get Papers On An Unregistered Or Grade Horse?

In most cases, no you can’t get papers on an unregistered or grade horse. Most grade horses have no papers, pedigrees, or breed information that come with them when they are purchased. Because of this, it is nearly impossible to actually get a grade horse registered.

The only time you can get papers on an unregistered horse is if you know the parents of your horse and the parents of your horse are registered already.

At What Age Should I Register My Unregistered Horse?

If you have a foal born to a registered sire and dam, getting those papers is really important. This way, the foal is registered and you won’t have any registry issues later down the road.

You want to try to have your foal registered within the first year of life. The reason for this is so you don’t have to put up with additional registration costs, proof of relation to the sire or dam, or an association not allowing your horse to be registered.

What Do You Need To Get Your Horse Registered?

There are different things that you are required to provide when registering your horse. These things include:

  • Proof on who the sire of your horse is
  • Proof on who the dam of your horse is
  • A name for your horse
  • The gender of the horse
  • The color of the horse
  • The markings the horse has
  • The name of the owner of the mare and their address and contact information
  • The name of the owner of the stallion and their address and contact information
  • A registration form for your horse

If you have all of this information figured out, most likely you will be able to register your horse with some sort of association. These are the requirements to register your horse at the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), but other breed associations have similar if not the same requirements.

One of the most lenient associations that you could register your horse at is the Pinto Horse Association (PtHA). The reason that this association is so easy to get your horse registered at is that all your horse really needs to become registered is a pinto-colored coat!

This breed registry requires a few things to get your horse registered:

  • The color of your horse
  • Whether your horse is a tobiano or an overo (the pattern of their coat)
  • Their gender
  • Whether or not your horse has blue eyes
  • Whether or not your horse is branded
  • The stallion’s name, breed, owner, and information (including papers)
  • The mare’s name, breed, owner, and information (inlcuding papers)
  • The type of horse your have

Your horse doesn’t really even need to be a specific breed. All your horse needs is a pinto-colored coat and the required information about them.

What Associations Allow Registration Of Grade Horses?

The only association that really allows grade horses to be registered is the PtHA (Pinto Horse Association). But even then, if your horse is to be registered into this association, information on the parents of your horse is required.

Can You Still Show Your Unregistered Or Grade Horse Even If It Doesn’t Have Papers?

Yes! Smaller horse shows like Gymkhanas allow any horses to enter and compete regardless of size, age, color, or breed. Some of the larger horse shows will allow unregistered and grade horses to compete too if the class is an open breed class meaning any horses can compete.

Though you can still compete with your grade horse, it can be hard to move up in levels because most of the horse shows we see today are intended for registered horses only.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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