Owners of M&Ms may find their ponies’ details removed from studbooks if they have obtained a passport from a passport issuing organisation (PIO) other than their breed society.

The Dales, Exmoor, British Connemara, Fell, Dartmoor and Highland Pony Societies, New Forest Pony and Cattle Breeding Society, Welsh Pony and Cob Society, and Shetland Pony Stud Book Society have expressed concern that owners are getting passports elsewhere.

The group issued the following statement: “If you have obtained your passport from a source other than your breed society, you will be considered as having removed your pony from the studbook in which it was originally registered.

“This will cause difficulties with showing, as the breeding of your animal will not be verified, and future stock bred will not be eligible for registration within that studbook.

“If you have a passport from a different source you should contact your breed society by 30 June 2004.”

Although these breed societies notified owners, many have not been in contact to obtain the extra pages. For instance, the British Connemara Society has updated the documents of only a quarter of its ponies and is worried that some of its owners may have gone elsewhere, even though it is only charging £10 for the “upgrade”.

The PIO code of conduct — due late March — is expected to state that PIOs should not issue a passport until it has first done an active search to ensure the animal shouldn’t be registered somewhere else.