It is a compulsory and legal requirement when owning any species of equine (including exotic species such as Zebra) that each animal has an authorised ‘Horse Passport’ for identification purposes. It is also a legal requirement that the owner of any equine is able to produce the passport within three hours of the document’s request by a suitable authority; including when the horse is travelling either within or outside of the U.K. Additionally many shows, and particularly affiliated or national/international events, often require the presence of a passport before equines are even allowed to enter the premises; making passports very important indeed.

Since the 1stof January 2009 newly issued passports, such as those for new-born foals, as well as any passports where a change of details is required, such as horses or ponies changing ownership, also require a registered microchip to be part of the identification. This therefore requires all new-born foals to be implanted with a microchip within either six months of birth, or before December 31stof the year of birth. Horses and ponies changing hands are required to be microchipped, and if necessary passported if a passport is unavailable, within thirty days of purchase. If the horse or pony already has a passport and registered microchip the new owner should change the details of ownership with the issuing authority within thirty days of purchase. As of January 2016 when a new passport is issued it must also include a full silhouette (markings).

It is worth remembering that it is the obligation of the animal’s keeper (for example if the horse or pony is on long term loan) and not the owner to be able to produce the passport on request by a suitable authority.

It is important to remember that owners of equine’s with an incorrect or missing passport can be subjected to a fine of up to £5,000, and that passports must be certified correctly if the animal in question is not intended for human consumption. Horses and ponies with a passport that does not declare this will be assumed to be intended for human consumption at the end of their life.

So please remember to passport your horses and ponies, as it is more important than many people think.

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