Horse identification is very important but it is also an area of the law that is often confusing and changes frequently. Please be aware that this information was correct at the time of writing and the most up-to-date versions of this legislation are available at direct.gov.uk
Every owner of an equid (Horse, Pony, Donkey or Zebra!) must have a passport for that animal issued by an Authorised Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO). Most breed societies are PIO’s as are Wetherby’s and the Horse Passport Association.
The current fine for not having a valid up-to-date passport is £5000.
The minimum information needed for the passport to be considered up-to-date is:
- All medications and vaccinations
- Microchip details and/or a silhouette and written description of the animal's markings
- Any equine born after 1st July 2009 MUST be microchipped
- Any equine issued with a passport after 1st July 2009, regardless of age MUST be microchipped
- Any new-born foal must have a valid passport and a microchip before it is 6 months old or by 31st December in the year which it was born – whichever comes sooner
So why is it so important to accurately identify horses?
- To prevent the sale of stolen horses
- To ensure horses treated with certain medicines do not end up in food intended for humans
- So you can legally move your horse
If you are moving your horse by foot you do not need to have the passport available for inspection. However, if you travel your horse for any distance by transport, it is a legal requirement that you have your horse's passport with you.
Further information specific to applying for a duplicate passport, a full list of PIO’s and what to do if your horse has 2 passports, can be found at the above direct.gov.uk