How to Read a Standardbred’s Freeze Brand

Welcome to the herd standardbred lover: you’ve come to the right place if you’re wondering how to read a standardbred’s freeze brand.

how to read a standardbred freeze brand

As professional standardbred educators, we chat to a lot of standardbred owners every single day.

Riders reach out to us after buying a new standardbred, or sometimes in the early stages of their retraining journey.  They’re looking for a bit of support from friendly, experienced standardbed lovers and we’re always happy to help!

One of the most common requests, additional to wanting some step-by-step retraining advice, is for help to read a standardbred’s freeze brand. 

Riders want to learn more about their standardbred’s history.   This might include whether their standardbred was a pacer or a trotter and how long their horse raced for. This information can be handy to know, as the horse will be going through a lot of big changes.

And that’s exactly what we’ll show you in this article.

Firstly, we’ll discover exactly what information you can learn from reading a standardbred’s brand.

Then we’ll walk you through exactly how to read all those funny little brand symbols, by providing a handy diagram.

Finally, we’ll provide a link where you can click through to instantly access a wealth of information about your standardbred.  The best bit is that this website is free and easy to access.

What does a standardbred’s freeze brand tell us?

Learning how to read a standardbred’s freeze brand is actually a pretty fun process. 

The way the brand is laid out gives you the ability look at your standardbred’s neck and instantly learn key things about them, such as the state they were born in and their year of birth.

With a closer look, and a bit of research online, you will be able to identify additional details about your horse.  This includes being able to look up a standardbred’s racing history to see who bred, trained and drove your horse during his/her harness racing career.

You’ll also see their your horse’s family tree (i.e. who your standardbred’s sire and dam and grandparents were).

This one little brand tells us so much and, best of all, the standardbred freeze brand never lies and is FREE to look up (thank you Harness Racing Australia!)

To the untrained eye, the standardbred neck freeze brand appears to be two little rows of random symbols.  But, in fact, each symbol on the Standardbred’s brand has a specific meaning:
The ‘S’ denotes ‘Standardbred’
The first number in the top line represents the state the horse was born in.
The final two numbers in the top line represent the year of birth.
The bottom row of symbols make up the Standardbred’s HRA registration number (4 digits)
(read as: s3057714)
= Standardbred, born in state 3 (Victoria) in 2005, registration number: 7714


Translating the freeze brand’s symbols

To trace your standardbred’s brand, we recommend you take a photograph of their neck.  The brand will be clearest when the horse has a short coat, like in summer for example.  If your horse is quite hairy, we suggest you clip your horse’s brand area using a shaver (unless you have an upcoming competition, of course!)

Once you have the photo in front of you, you should be able to convert the symbols by following the diagram we’ve included below:


Brand Symbols
The state number codes are as follows:
2-New South Wales
5-South Australia
6-Western Australia


Running the freeze brand search

Use the diagram above to translate your standardbred’s brand symbols into numbers.  We suggest you write these out.  It might look like this, for example: S3045543

Click through using >> this link << to the Harness Racing Australia website brand search section.  You will be able to type the numbers into the bottom box and voila – your Standardbred’s racing history will be revealed!

If you have need some help, please feel free to send us an email:

We’re here to help you to get the most out of your partnership with your standardbred.

Learn more about standardbreds…

stanardbred head toss  teach standardbred canter standardbred can't bend