If you're planning to do much horsing around this year in Colorado, you had better pony up for a brand.
If you're buying or selling your ride, it has to have a brand, and if you are just moving it about in a trailer, the mark is also required, reminds Colorado Department of Agriculture inspectors.
The reminder comes as summer moves in and horse enthusiasts are more apt to be moving about the countryside. Owners moving their horses in transportation can buy a permanent horse travel permit if they're going to be traveling more than 75 miles away or will be driving near the state border.
This permanent certificate is a good bargain, say CDA officials, since it is good for travel expenses for as long as you own the horse.
"The Department typically sees an increase in the number of horses being brought and sold at this time of the year," notes Chris Whitney, CDA's brand commissioner.
"There has also been an increase in the number of horses in urban communities and folks need to remember to contact us for a transfer of ownership inspection."
About 4,500 horse travel cards were issued last year and 36,500 brand inspections performed on sale horses in the state.
The Division of Brand Inspector's main responsibility is to protect the livestock industry from loss by theft, illegal butchering, or straying of livestock. Inspections include identification of the animal and certification that a shipper or seller is the legal owner before issuing a certificate.
The division mission is explained by five regulatory responsibilities:
•Record and administer livestock brands.
•Inspect livestock and verify ownership.
•Inspect packing plant, livestock sales rings and consignments before sale to verify ownership.
•License and inspect alternative livestock facilities.
Prevent and return strayed or stolen animals and investigate reports for lost and stolen stock.