When you need a horse passport

You must have a horse passport (sometimes called an ‘equine passport’) for each animal if you keep any of the following:

  • horses
  • ponies
  • donkeys and asses
  • zebras
  • mules, hinnies or other hybrids

The passport is a document that:

  • describes the animal, for example by breed, colour, species
  • lists all vaccinations
  • names the registered owner

You only need a passport for semi-wild ponies on Dartmoor, Exmoor, Wicken Fen or in the New Forest if they’re not free to roam in these areas (for example, if you sometimes keep them enclosed on your land) or you have them treated by a vet.

Use your horse passport

You must keep a valid horse passport with your animal at all times. This includes at its stable or when you move it.

You need to provide your horse’s passport:

  • when a vet examines or treats your animal - the medication your animal can get depends on how it’s categorised on its passport
  • if an animal health inspector, trading standards inspector or other enforcement officer asks to see it
  • when you sell or give the animal to someone else

You could get a fine if you cannot show a valid horse passport for an animal in your care.

If you buy a horse

Contact the Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) within 30 days to update the passport ownership details.

If the seller does not give you the horse’s passport, contact your local trading standards office for advice.

You might need to take additional steps if you import a horse from outside the UK.

When your horse dies

Within 30 days of the horse’s death, return its passport to the PIO that issued it. They will update their records and invalidate or destroy the passport.

If the passport has been invalidated you may be able to get it sent back to you. Ask the PIO if this is possible.

If your horse was born before July 2009

Check if your horse is microchipped by:

If your horse does not have a microchip, you must:

In England, you can be fined if your horse is not microchipped.

There are different rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.