As from 1st July 2009 it is an offence for a keeper with ‘primary care responsibilities ‘ eg. full livery yards, person caring for horse under loan agreement, breeders, trainers, transporters, to keep a horse that has not been issued with a passport. It is now a requirement that horses are microchipped before a passport is issued. If your horse already has a passport then you do not need to get a microchip if you don’t want to. You could be fined up to £5000 if you don’t have one. Only the owner of a horse can apply for a passport.

Passports for foals:

All foals need to be microchipped by a qualified veterinary surgeon to get a passport.  This must be done before the foal is 6 months old or by 31st December in the year it is born, whichever is later.  However, you need to have your foal microchipped and get a passport if you want to sell or move it without its dam earlier. Please note that some breed societies issue their own microchips and these need to be organised together with the appropriate passport application form before booking the vet to come.

Passports for older horses:

You will need to get your horse microchipped as part of the passport application process.  The vet will scan your horse for a microchip before implanting a new one.

The Horse Passport Regulations 2009 legislation states that all horses should have a horse passport linked to the animal by a uniquely-coded identification microchip.

  • The regulations apply to all horses (including ponies, donkeys and other equidae)
  • Only Veterinary Surgeons can implant a microchip into a horse
  • When a horse passes away, the owner must send the passport back to the issuer to be recorded within 30 days. The passport will be returned to the owner once the process is completed.
  • The owner or keeper with primary responsibility must produce the passport without delay in the event of an inspection, unless the horse is stabled or at pasture or being moved on foot when the passport can be made available within 3 hours. If the owner is not able to produce the passport during a veterinary visit, the vet will not be able to administer certain drugs and may need to use an alternative and often more expensive product.

Information included in a horse passport

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

  • micro-chip details
  • its age
  • its breed/type
  • markings
  • owner’s details
  • all the medications it has been given (if it hasn’t been declared ‘not intended for human consumption’)

Why you need a horse passport

Horse passports are important because they help to:

  • make sure horses that have been treated with certain medicines don’t make it into food intended for humans
  • prevent the sale of stolen horses – when you buy a horse, its passport proves its identity

If you don’t have a valid horse passport:

  • you can’t move your horse 
  • vets may be restricted in the types of medicines they can give your horse 

Buying and selling a horse

When you sell a horse, you must hand over the passport to the new owner. They should let the ‘Passport Issuing Organisation’ (PIO) know that they have taken ownership of the horse within 30 days.

You must not buy or sell a horse without a horse passport. Contact your local Trading Standards office if you are sold a horse without a passport – they may prosecute the seller.


We use the same microchips in horses as we do in dogs and cats. It is inserted into the crest of the Left side of the neck and provides your horse with a unique number correlating to it’s passport and to the petlog database should your horse ever go missing.

Even when not legally required microchipping can be hugely beneficial if your horse is lost or stolen.

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