Brexit: Status of UK studbooks confirmed

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

The EU has confirmed that it will recognise all UK studbooks once the post-Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December. This means that horses with a studbook passport can be considered as registered equines and will not need an additional UK Government-issued ID document in order to travel to the EU.

In addition, these horses will be able to follow the rules for horses registered with national branches of international bodies for sporting and competition purposes, such as the FEI. They will also be able to travel via Border Control Posts that are specifically approved for registered equines.

For registered horses travelling to the EU for fewer than 90 days, the following must be carried out:

  • The horse must be a resident in the UK or a country with the same health status for 40 days
  • A blood test for equine infectious anaemia must be carried out within 90 days of your departure date. Uncastrated male equines that don’t meet vaccination requirements must also have a blood test for equine viral artertitis within 21 days of your departure date.
  • You’ll need to obtain a export health certificate, signed by an official vet, and additional supporting documentation.

Unregistered horses without a studbook passport, classed as ungulates, will require a government-issued supplementary travel ID from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Great Britain) or Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland), in addition to their passport. This supplementary ID will be supplied by an official vet, along with your export health certificate, when they check the horse prior to travel. There are also rules regarding residency and disease testing that differ to those for registered horses.

There is additional export and transport documentation that must be completed for both registered and unregistered equines, and for those transporting them. It is advisable to engage an approved shipper to help with the process, at least for your first few journeys, even if you’re experienced in travelling horses.

Further information

From 1 January, the process of moving horses between the UK and the EU, including Ireland, will become much more complicated. For more information and some useful resources relating to travelling horses between the UK and the EU, please visit the Brexit page of our website. This includes a pre-travel checklist for registered horses. 

There are still a number of factors that we won’t know until it has been confirmed whether the UK will have a free trade agreement with the EU or if the UK will be classed as a third country. However, we will continue to communicate updates as we receive them. The most recent government guidance is available here.

British Equestrian strongly advises that horses are not moved to the EU for the first few weeks of 2021 due to the risk of long delays and holds, both when leaving the UK and when entering the EU. Where possible, delay your journey until at least the middle of January, when the new process has become more firmly bedded in.