Guidance

Export horses and ponies: special rules

You must have a certificate to export horses and ponies.

What you need to do to export horses or ponies depends on whether you’re exporting them:

Some countries may have import rules for certain goods. You can check by talking to your importer or getting help researching your export market.

Within the EU

To move horses, ponies or donkeys within the EU you must:

Apply for an ITAHC

  1. Nominate an official veterinarian to inspect your horses. To find one, ask at your local vet or email ovteam@apha.gsi.gov.uk.

  2. Register with the TRACES system if you’ve not used it before.

  3. Sign in to TRACES and fill in the details of the animals you’re exporting.

  4. Contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (DAERA in Northern Ireland) - tell them that the ITAHC has been created and give them details of your official veterinarian.

  5. Your certificate will be sent to your official veterinarian once your animals have passed inspection. If your official veterinarian doesn’t receive the certificate, contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

  6. Include the certificate when you export your consignment.

Instead of using TRACES, you can fill in form EXA31 equidae (PDF, 841KB, 7 pages) , using the guidance notes (PDF, 119KB, 5 pages) to help you. Send the completed form it to the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

Your ITAHC will be valid for 10 days after the inspection.

There’s no fee for the certificate but you’ll be charged for your vet’s time.

Outside the EU

To export horses or ponies outside the EU you must:

There’s a ban on exporting pure bred horses to Syria and North Korea.

Check if you need an EHC

You’ll usually need an EHC, but depending on the country and your goods, there are some cases where you:

  • can’t export your type of horse or pony
  • don’t need a certificate

Contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle to check.

If you need an EHC, follow the steps.

  1. Tell the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle what you’re exporting and the destination country.

  2. You may be asked to nominate an official veterinarian to inspect your goods. To find one, ask at your local vet or email ovteam@apha.gsi.gov.uk (or contact DAERA in Northern Ireland).

  3. You’ll be given the application form for the EHC you need. Fill it in and return it to the address on the form.

  4. Your EHC will be sent to your official veterinarian within 7 working days.

  5. Your official veterinarian will be asked to check that your animals meet the requirements of the country you’re sending them to.

There’s no fee for the certificate but you’ll be charged for your vet’s time.

If you export the same species again

You can use the same certificate if your EHC number is still up to date. Check you have the most recent version in the latest EHC list (PDF, 254KB, 71 pages) . If you don’t, contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

Check if you need an export welfare declaration

Whether you need an export welfare declaration depends on the horses and where you’re exporting them to.

You don’t need an export declaration if you’re moving:

  • horses by direct flight to countries outside of Europe
  • horses over 147cm to the Republic of Ireland
  • horses or ponies to Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • certain horses to France

Thoroughbred horses don’t need an export declaration if a steward or secretary of the Jockey Club certifies that any of the following apply:

  • they arrived in Great Britain no more than one month before the date of shipment to compete in a race
  • they’re being shipped for a race or for training
  • they’re being shipped to be used for breeding

Get an export welfare declaration

If you need an export declaration, download the form for:

You can use the guidance notes (PDF, 77.2KB, 4 pages) to help you.

Fill it in and give it to the aircraft or master of the vessel that’s carrying the horses or ponies.

Export horses to France

You don’t need an export welfare declaration if you’re exporting:

  • thoroughbreds used for racing, breeding, training or that are moving to be sold
  • French registered Autre Que Pur Sang (AQPS) horses (a type of non-thoroughbred horse) competing in Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) sponsored events
  • horses registered on the Weatherby’s non-thoroughbreds register

But you must make sure that each horse travels with a Commercial Document (DOCOM). You can get the document you need through:

Published 7 November 2016
Last updated 6 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. EHC list updated
  2. Updated broken link
  3. First published.