The case of a rider who bought a horse believing it had just two previous owners, only to find out there had been three more and that it appeared to have been sold on because of bad behaviour, highlights the need to introduce microchipping, say experts.

From 1 July, all foals will have to be microchipped by the time they are six months old. From that date, adult horses will also require a microchip with any new passport application.

Lynne Goalby, of Coven Heath in Staffordshire, paid £5,250 for an eight-year-old 15.2hh grey mare, called Monday, in June 2007, in a private sale.

The horse was advertised as being “sane and sensible, vice-free and an ideal riding club/competition horse”.

Mrs Goalby said: “But as months passed, I realised I had bought an anxious and difficult horse.”

That December, Mrs Goalby started proceedings in Wolverhampton County Court against the sellers. And last September, the case was settled out of court, with the previous owners agreeing to repay Mrs Goalby £5,000, settle all legal costs and her rehoming the horse as a broodmare.

But during the intervening months, Mrs Goalby uncovered the truth from passport issuers Wetherby’s — Monday had had five previous owners in just two and a half years.

She said: “The sellers told me her passport was lost in a house move and a new one obtained with only their name on it.

“After contacting her other previous owners, I discovered Monday had a history of unpredictable bucking and anxious, dangerous behaviour. Had I known this, I would never have bought her.”

Brian Horsfield, whose wife, Sharon, sold Monday to Mrs Goalby, did not wish to comment on Mrs Goalby’s claims.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (14 May, ’09)