Horse Care Hints & Tips


In this Section:

+ Identification

Thieves will be less likely to take a horse that has evidence of a permanent identification tag. Ensure that prominent signs - stating the horse is permanently tagged/chipped and can be identified - are placed around the animal's grazing area to act as a deterrent.

+ Micro chipping

When a horse is micro chipped, a chip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, is inserted into the horse's neck by a veterinary surgeon; the horse experiences minimum discomfort during the process. The chip carries a unique number which is registered with the animal's details on a central register and the horse's passport. If the horse is stolen or lost then, with the help of a scanner that is able to read and display the number, the animal can be identified.

+ Freeze-Marking

Freeze marking is another good way of marking and identifying your horse and it is visible on the animal's coat. The process is painless to the horse but should be done by trained staff and is carried out by using specially chilled irons to permanently mark the horse. The unique number normally consists of a combination of four letters and numbers and shows as a white marking, therefore more effective on dark coated horses.

The process:

Freeze marking is carried out by the use of an intensely cold iron that - due to its extreme temperature - destroys the colour pigment producing cells at the brand site resulting in white/colourless hair instead of the horse's normal colouring. As the hair continues to grow, the mark should always be visible.

Records of all animals that are freeze marked are kept and registration papers are issued to the owner.

+ Horse Passports

Q1. Why do I need a horse passport?

A1. Due to the Horse Passport Regulations 2009, all equines (horses, ponies, donkeys and mules) are required to have a passport. The aim of horse passport legislation is to ensure that horses which have been treated with veterinary medicines not authorised for use in food-producing animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption.

Horses must be accompanied by their passport at all times, however there are few exceptions to the rule such as when the horse is stabled, at pasture, leaving a competition. Owners or keepers with primary responsibility for care of the horse must ensure any horse they look after is correctly identified.

Q2. When do I need to apply for a passport?

A2. Foals are required to have a passport and microchip by 31st December in the year in which they are born or 6 months after their birth, whichever is the latest. Animals born before 1st July 2009 which, at that date, do not have a passport under the existing rules will have to have a passport and microchip by 31st December 2009.

Q3. Do I need a passport before I sell my horse?

A3. Yes. The passport must be passed to the buyer at the time of the sale, who should notify the Passport-Issuing Organisation of the new ownership within 30 days. However, if you are selling a foal that is under 6 months old, or you are selling it in the calendar year of its birth, you do not need a passport.

Q4. Who is responsible for obtaining a passport - the owner or the permanent keeper?

A4. It is the responsibility of the horse owner to obtain a passport.

The 'keeper' means a person who is not the owner of a horse but is appointed by the owner to have a day-to-day charge of that horse. Keepers with primary responsibility for the horse's day-to-day welfare should satisfy themselves that all the horses under their care have been correctly identified before agreeing to keep them. It is an offence to keep a horse without a passport.

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Horse Care & Tips

Various aspects relating to horse care, guidance and important information.

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