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Hints & Tips

Horse Passports

Under the Horse Passports Act 2003 all equines must have a passport. It is now an offence for an owner to do any of the following if the horse is not accompanied by a valid passport:

  • Export a horse
  • Use a horse for the purposes of competitions
  • Move a horse to the premises of a new keeper
  • Present for slaughter for human consumption
  • Sell a horse
  • Use a horse for breeding purposes

Horse passports are not a permanent form of identification but they will hopefully reduce horse thefts, as a horse would not be able to be sold, slaughtered or otherwise passed on unless accompanied by their valid passport. Make sure you keep the passport separate from your horse, to minimise the risk of them being stolen together.


Freeze-marking is another effective form of identification and can even give you a discount off horse insurance if your horse is freeze-marked. It is done by trained operators using specially chilled irons and it permanently and humanely marks a horse. The unique number, usually four letters and numbers, shows up as white hairs, so it is more visible on a darker-coated horse.


A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and carries a unique number which is registered along with the animal's details, on both a central register and the horse's passport. The microchip is inserted into the crest region of the horse's neck. A scanner is then able to read and display the microchip number allowing the horse to be identified if it is lost or stolen.