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

  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

You will usually need to complete an export health certificate (EHC) and some supporting documents to be able to export a live animal.

There are some types of horses or ponies you cannot export, or cases where you don’t need a certificate. If you cannot find the EHC you need, contact APHA.

To find out if you need an EHC and apply, follow these steps.

  1. The Export Health Certificate form finder helps you find and fill out the EHC and other supporting forms you will need to export your horse or pony. If you are exporting from Northern Ireland, contact your local DAERA office. Most EHCs will also have guidance documents that give information on how to fill out the certificate.

  2. Fill out the EHC and supporting forms and email them to the APHA address provided in the forms.

  3. In most cases you will need to nominate an official veterinarian (OV) to inspect your animal and sign the certificate.

  4. APHA will send your EHC to your OV within 7 working days.

  5. The OV will check the horse or pony meets the health requirements of the destination country, complete the EHC and sign. The completed EHC will go with the animal, and the OV will send a copy to APHA.

To find an OV you can:

There is no fee for processing the EHC but you will need to pay for the OV’s services.

Use the most up to date EHC

EHC’s are sometimes updated when export agreements are changed. So make sure you are using the latest version of a certificate. The EHC form finder will always have the latest version.

Out of date forms will be rejected and cause delays to your exports.

You can sign up for alerts on the form finder, so that you get an email when a form is updated.

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 5 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. EHC list updated
  2. Export Health Certificate list updated.
  3. EHC list updated
  4. Updated broken link
  5. First published.