Q: I bought a pure-bred Westphalian horse from an owner in the UK. I understand that the horse was imported two years ago and he has a German passport. The previous owner is not registered in the passport — only the German breeder is listed as owning the horse.

What should I do about registering myself as the new owner on the passport? Do I send the existing passport to a passport issuing office (PIO) in the UK and if so, is there one for the Westphalian breed? Is the German passport valid in the UK or do I have to apply for a new UK passport?

The German passport has the horse’s vaccination schedule in it, so I am reluctant to part with it. Can you please advise me?

CH, West Midlands

A: According to DEFRA, you don’t necessarily need a UK passport because: “A German passport, issued by a recognised organisation, is legal throughout the EU in the same way an English one is.”

To issue passports, an organisation has to be authorised in writing by the Secretary of State under The Horse Passports (England) Regulations 2004, or implement either of two EEC Commission Decisions (92/353/EEC or 2000/68/EC).

Although your passport is valid, in accordance with The Horse Passports (England) Regulations 2004, you must contact the issuer of the passport in Germany within 30 days of buying the horse to notify the change in ownership. The passport issuer should explain to you how it wishes the new ownership details to be recorded in the passport. You may have to send the passport off for it to be updated, but DEFRA advises not sending it until the issuer asks for it.

The Westphalian Horse Society is based in Germany, visit its website at www.westfalenpferde.de

  • For more information on passports, visit www.defra.gov.uk/rural/horses

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