Identification, registration and movement of horses

All horses and ponies need to have a passport identifying the animal. Owners of foals need to obtain a passport for it on or before 31st December of the year of its birth, or by six months after its birth, whichever is later.

Horse passports

An owner could be fined up to £5,000 if they don’t have an up-to-date horse passport.

All horse and ponies have to be accompanied by an identification document (passport) during their movements (on foot and during transport).

How to obtain a horse passport

You can get an application form for a horse passport from an authorised ‘Passport Issuing Organisation’ (PIO). The passport won’t be valid if it’s issued by an unauthorised organisation.You'll need to complete a passport application for each horse you own.

Most PIOs are recognised breed societies and may only issue passports for a particular breed of horse, however for horses that do not qualify for specific breed recognition there are PIO’s that will issue an identity passport to satisfy the legal requirements. See the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website for a list of all approved PIOs and their contact details.

You’ll receive your horse’s passport in the post, which normally takes 5 to 15 working days, although this can vary depending on the PIO. Once issued, the passport is valid for your horse’s lifetime.

Your horse will also get a ‘Unique Equine Life Number’.

Information included in a horse passport

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

  • its appearance, which is illustrated in a diagram called a ‘silhouette’
  • its age
  • its breed/type
  • all the medications it has been given (if it has been declared ‘intended for human consumption’)
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