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Passports & Registrations Information

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Irish Draught Horse Society (GB) Passports and Registrations


Welcome to the Registrations and Passports pages. This part of our website contains a lot of information and application forms, so these notes are to help you navigate and find what you need.

If you are visiting our website because you want to have your horse inspected, there are separate pages for that purpose. Please look on the menu for 'Inspections & Merit Awards'.

If you have any queries at all about registrations or inspections that cannot be answered here, please email the Administrator through this site, or the Registration and Inspection Administration Manager on, replacing the ‘at’ with @ (e-mail addresses are displayed this way as an anti-spam measure).  


What you need to know about your horse’s passport

There is an urgent need to reduce the risk of fraud and criminal activity associated with illegal marketing of horsemeat. The regulation of horse passports is enshrined in European Union legislation, with regulations set within each member state. In Great Britain, these are the Horse Passport Regulations 2009. Defra has subsequently issued Minimum Operating Standards (MOS), which came into force in February and April 2014.

We are working in liaison with our database provider, Grassroots, to ensure that we work in the most effective way to respond to the Horse Passport Regulations and MOS. All our registration forms have been updated. The notes for guidance for each type of application contain what you need to know in much more detail than can be given here. This article just provides some basic, headline information to help horse owners and enforcement agencies who need to know about our passports.

What does an IDHS (GB) passport look like?

IDHS (GB) passports have changed format several times since 1979. The current version complies with the Horse Passport Regulations 2009.

The current passport for both sport horses and purebred animals has a bright green plastic cover. Passports have a plastic spine which provides strong punch-through binding. These are printed with a gold logo on the front. They have a clear window with the horse’s name, year of birth, UELN and microchip number. The one on the left is for a purebred (main studbook) horse. Utility passports issued by the Society have a clear cover.

If you are presented with a passport supposedly issued by the IDHS (GB) and you have suspicions that it is not what it seems, please contact the Passport Administrator or the Registration and Inspection Manager immediately. Contact details are here.
Don’t passports now have to be riveted?

It is likely that the Society will be instructed to change the way in which passports are bound. The law has not yet changed on this, but this is imminent. Our passports are very difficult to tamper with and as far as we know, it has so far proved impossible to tamper with one without it being detected. We are waiting for the next directive from the European Commission before investing a significant sum of money.

Is the passport format going to change?

Yes, but we have not yet been told in detail what the new format will be. There is no point in changing it before we are instructed, because the new format will not comply with the existing regulation.

When must I return my passport to the Passport Administrator?

• When you buy a horse – please complete the transfer form in the back of the passport or from our website;

• When you name a previously unnamed horse;

• When you decide to share your ownership of the horse with another person

• When your horse is inspected; the front page must be replaced to show the grade awarded;

• When your horse is signed out of the food chain by you and your vet for medication or other reasons;

• When the passport is badly damaged;

• If the spine becomes detached (unlikely in normal use);

• If you believe that someone may have tampered with it;

• If it is an old passport (pre-2004) with no medication (Section IX) pages;

• When your horse dies. This is essential. You can have the passport back again on request, but it must be invalidated. The passport administrator will check the passport for consistency with the database and stamp it ‘invalid’ on every page, or punch a hole through the top right hand corner of each page. The fact of its return will be recorded on the database.

• Whenever we request it, for any other reason.

How do I have my Irish-bred horse’s passport updated?

If your horse has an Irish passport, only the studbook holder (in most cases, Horse Sport Ireland) can make changes to it, such as naming, updating pedigree and ownership. Please send it to the PIO that issued it. If this is Horse Sport Ireland, the address is Beech House, Millennium Park, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Under what circumstances would my horse be signed out of the food chain?

• If you apply for registration after the legal time limit. PIOs now have a legal obligation to report this to the relevant enforcement body. The rule is (and has been since July 2009) that the application must be received by 31 December or the age of six months, whichever is the later.

• Older horses whose passports have no Section IX.

• If there is an ownership dispute and one party retains the passport, so the horse does not have one.

• When a duplicate or replacement passport is issued.

• When there has been any suspicion of passport tampering.

• When the horse’s identity is not clear; e.g. it has two microchips or the microchip on the identity diagram cannot be located.

• Horses whose markings do not match the marking chart.

• When the horse has been given any of a wide range of medications. Please check the labelling of all your routine medicines, such as wormers, as some of the very common ones require the horse to be signed out of the food chain. This is because safety has not been demonstrated.

• In any situation where the horse has been separated from its passport.

• Rescued horses that are registered late due to not having a passport when acquired by the rescue home.

I have rescued a horse with no passport. What should I do?

Defra acknowledges that horses, ponies and donkeys that are genuinely rescued may not have a passport when they change hands. Owners who rescue an animal without a passport, must apply for a passport immediately on acquiring the animal. They won’t risk prosecution, so long as they apply promptly.

What is a temporary passport document and how can it be used?

There are now tighter controls over temporary passport documents. They must be more resistant to fraud and can only be issued if there is already a permanent passport. The owner now has to return any temporary passport document before we can send out the full passport, or it has to expire (45 days from issue).

• We cannot issue a temporary document if we do not hold the full passport in the office.

• We must now contact the owner within 10 working days of the document’s expiry date, if they have failed to return it.

• Vets cannot administer medicines that would cause the horse to be signed out of the food chain, on a temporary document.

• Horses may not be sent for slaughter, or exported, on a temporary document.

What kind of anti-fraud checks does the Society do?

When a passport returns to our office for any reason, it must now be checked for compliance with EU requirements and against our own database. In particular, it must have sections I, III, IV, and VI to IX present and correct. Suspect passports must be sent to the relevant enforcement agency, which is the local authority area in which our office is situated (see 'Contact' page for address location details).

The administration staff have a robust system of checks to ensure that passports have not been tampered with.

Replacement passports

Replacement passports are already only issued if there is no other passport in circulation. This means that we will not replace passports being withheld by a previous owner. It is up to the two people concerned to resolve this.

To obtain a passport to replace one that is genuinely lost or damaged, PIOs have to satisfy themselves that this is the true situation, so there are special forms to apply for a replacement passport.

A vet must complete a new identity diagram and scan the horse for a transponder. If the horse does not have one, then a new one must be inserted. The old registration papers can no longer be photocopied, even if the horse is already chipped. If the original passport is damaged, it must be returned to our passport administrator to be invalidated, so that it cannot be re-used.

My vet cannot find my horse’s microchip – but I know he has one.

Occasionally, for example, during an inspection, a vet cannot locate a transponder in an animal that should have one (e.g. it was identified after 1 July 2009). If the animal matches the identify diagram, a new transponder must be implanted and the details recorded on a new application form. The database must display both old and new transponder numbers. The horse must be signed out of the food chain.

How do I avoid breaching the Horse Passport Regulations?

As a PIO, we act as an agency of Defra and with delegated authority. This means that we have legal obligations to them and if we do not meet those, we will lose our PIO status. Although we will support and advise our members in every way possible, we cannot condone or ignore breaches of regulations. For example, we are now legally bound to report all offences, which include:

• Applying for a passport outside the time limit (unless the animal was purchased or rescued without one);

• Applying for a passport when one already exists for that animal;

• Failure to notify the PIO of change of owner details within 30 days;

• Failure to return the passport for updating within six weeks of a request by the Society for its return (e.g. following an inspection);

• Signs of unofficial changes, tampering or fraud;

• Specific issues relating to derogated populations, which do not apply to our Society.

The following general questions reflect those that we are asked all the time. If you have a new question, we will add it here (anonymised) to help other people with their queries. Don’t forget that there is a lot more detailed information available in the guidance documents on the links above.  

I want to register my foal – what do I need to do?

Registration information is divided into three categories. For each category there are notes for guidance and an application form. DNA information is also available on this site.

An identity diagram is required to register all horses irrespective of the category they are in. This must always be completed by a vet, who will also insert a microchip. The Society does not have its own microchips, so this is supplied by your vet.

The first step is to choose which register you need:

·         Purebred foals are registered in the Main Studbook. This is a daughter Studbook which, along with the Canadian Studbook, is harmonised with our parent Studbook in Ireland. As such, our Main Studbook in Great Britain complies with rules laid down by the Irish Government’s Department of Agriculture, represented by Horse Sport Ireland. Most of our Main Studbook rules, and hence the forms, are very similar to those in operation in Ireland. Click here to locate the application form and guidance.

·         Sport Horse foals must have a minimum of 25% documented Irish Draught breeding. The Sport Horse Register should be regarded as of equal status to our Main Studbook register, because many of our members and other Irish Draught enthusiasts start with, or still own, sport horses. These horses are highly valuable to us as a Society, because they are often out there competing and attracting positive publicity, as well as giving their owners and riders a lot of pleasure.

We are developing our Sport Horse Register and encouraging breeders to provide much more detailed information as possible about their foals’ pedigrees. This is because we are keen to support the traditionally-bred Irish Sport Horse and identify animals that contain registered Irish Draught, Thoroughbred or Connemara blood, or Irish Sport Horse blood that contains only those breeds. Click here to locate the application form and guidance.

·         Utility Passports are available for any equine, of any species, that has no documented pedigree. Separate forms are available for this purpose. Click here to locate the application form and guidance.

I already have a passport from another organisation, but want it overstamped by the IDHS (GB). Where do I find the form?

We now have separate forms for the three different registers, which are here. Overstamping (also known as endorsement) is easy and for purebred and sport horse owners, it will enable you to show your horse at our affiliated shows around the country, and at our prestigious Annual Breed Show. Click here to locate the application forms.

I have lost my passport, which came from Horse Sport Ireland. What do I do now?

Please go to Horse Sport Ireland’s website and click on the Breeding link:

There are then various options and you should select the ‘replacement passport’ one. Irish passports can only be amended or replaced by Horse Sport Ireland. 

I have lost my passport, which was an IDHS (GB) document. What should I do? 

Please use our website to download an application form to request a replacement. There are very robust rules about replacement passports, some of which will cost you money, so please do try not to lose any passports, and before taking any action, read the guidance in that section very carefully. Click here to locate the application forms.

My horse’s passport has been stolen. What should I do?

·         Write down everything that you remember which could shed light on the theft.

·         Contact the police where the offence was committed, Trading Standards in your home area, and then our administrator immediately to report the theft.

·         Obtain a crime reference number from the police.

Stolen passports may be used in passport fraud cases, and they also contain personal data, which could have major implications for you, so this is a serious matter. Prevention is better than cure, so keep your passports in a safe place (but not so safe that you cannot find them!).

The previous owner has retained my new horse’s passport. What should I do?

Unfortunately we cannot help you to retrieve this; you will have to take action yourself. There is detailed information about this on our replacement passport part of the website. Please click here to locate the application forms.

I have just bought a horse that needs to be transferred into my name. What should I do?

We have some transfer of ownership information in the following section of our site: please click here. You will either need to obtain the former owner’s signature OR a bill of sale. If there are special circumstances, such as death, court action or requisition of the horse, when the previous owner is not in a position to provide this information, please contact us for advice.

I have moved house and want to let you know about my new contact details. How do I do this?

Please complete the online form here, or download and forward the form here. Verbal messages about contact details changes cannot be accepted, for data security reasons.

My horse has died, but I want to keep the passport. Is this possible?

Yes, certainly. You must sent it to our administrator to be invalidated and enclose a s.a.e. that is large enough and has enough postage to return it to you. 

Where can I find out more about the Horse Passport Regulations 2009 and the Minimum Operating Standards?

Our Minimum Operating Standards procedures are updated annually and are available to anyone who wishes to view them. Please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact me and I will do my best to explain further.

Heather Chaplin
Registration and inspection administration manager
Tel. 01823 601625
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Last Updated Friday 27 July 2018 


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