1. When you need a horse passport

Horses, ponies, donkeys and related animals (including zoo species like zebras) must have a horse passport.

The passport is a small booklet or smart card that:

  • identifies your animal by its height and species
  • states if your animal can be used for human food when it dies

Semi-wild ponies in Dartmoor, Exmoor, the New Forest or Wicken Fen only need a passport if they are under your control (for example if they wear a saddle or are on a farm).

Use your horse passport

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

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 an unlimited fine if you can’t 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 doesn’t give you the horse’s passport, contact your local trading standards office for advice.

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.