Helpful info about your horse's passport

Horse passports are required throughout the EU for identification, effective disease control and in order to protect the human food chain. Since 28th February 2005 it has been a legal requirement for all equidae to be issued with a passport from a DEFRA approved Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO).

What is a horse passport?

Horse passports are small booklets that contain details about your horse, including:


  • Microchip details
  • Age
  • Breed/type
  • Markings
  • Owner’s details
  • Breeder’s details
  • All the medications it has been given (if it hasn't been declared ‘not intended for human consumption’)
  • Vaccination record

Do all horses need an equine passport?

Yes. Horses, ponies, donkeys, mules and zebras must have an equine passport, even if they never leave their field. 

When would I need to produce my horse’s passport?

Horses must be accompanied by their passport at all times. The exceptions are when the horse is stabled, out at pasture or if the horse is moved on foot. However, the passport must be made available within three hours of it being requested by an enforcement agency.

The passport must always accompany the horse: 

  • When the horse is moved into or out of the United Kingdom
  • At a competition
  • When the horse is moved to new premises
  • When the horse is presented at a slaughterhouse for slaughter
  • At the time a horse is sold
  • When the horse is used for breeding purposes
  • When a vet attends the horse to vaccinate or if the horse requires medication
  • When the horse is transported. Note: the only exception when the passport is not required is when the horse is being transported for emergency veterinary treatment
  • When insuring your horse, insurance companies often require passport details, such as the Unique Equine Life Number
  • If the horse is on loan the passport should remain with the horse


All foals need to be microchipped by a qualified veterinary surgeon to get a passport.  This must be done before the foal is 6 months old or by 31st December in the year it is born, whichever is later.  However, you need to have your foal microchipped and get a passport if you want to sell or move it without its dam earlier. Some breed societies issue their own microchips and these need to be organised together with the appropriate passport application form before booking the vet to come.

There are many different breed societies – and it maybe that you would prefer your young stock to be passported with a specific one. If this is the case please ensure you obtain the relevant paperwork in preparation for your vet visit to fill out. If not, we can bring passport paperwork with us for a ??? passport.

Full list of all Passport Issuing Organisations and stud books can be found here:

Buying and selling a horse

When you sell a horse, you must hand over the passport to the new owner. They should let the ‘Passport Issuing Organisation’ (PIO) know that they have taken ownership of the horse within 30 days.

You must not buy or sell a horse without a horse passport. Contact your local Trading Standards office if you are sold a horse without a passport - they may prosecute the seller.

More information on horse passports can be found here

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