Microchipping and Passport Requirements

Horse Passports

The 'Horse Passports Regulations 2004' came into effect in June 2004 and means that every horse must have its own passport whether or not it is expected to travel.

The purpose is to make sure that horses, throughout Europe, treated with specific medicines do not enter the food chain. The introduction of passports should help reduce the risk of a ban being introduced on numerous veterinary medicines currently used for treating horses. These medicines are essential for our horses welfare (e.g. phenylbutazone ('bute')).

There is a declaration within the passport to determine whether the horse will ultimately end up in the human food chain. As soon as the declaration is signed by an owner it cannot be reversed and the horse will never be allowed into the human food chain.  A vet will need to see the passport and check the declaration has been signed before giving the horse certain medications.

Microchipping your horse

If a horse has not been previously issued with a passport it will require a microchip before a passport can be applied for.

Foals born since 1st August 2009 must be microchipped and have a passport issued before it is 6 months old or by 31 December in the year it’s born, whichever is later.

Microchipping means that individual horses can readily be uniquely identified by anyone with an appropriate scanner

The microchip is a small integrated circuit encased in medical grade glass, no bigger than a grain of rice. It is inserted via a needle into the nuchal ligament of the neck from the left hand side. It is virtually impossible to remove even under surgical conditions. The microchip is programmed with a unique number which can be read by a radio scanner. When the microchip is inserted your veterinary surgeon will ask you to fill out a form with all your and your horse's relevant information. This information is then stored on a database along with your horse's number. In any situation where the horse needs to be identified the database can be contacted and your details retrieved.