Defra has clarified that any foal born before 1 July that does not already have a passport will need microchipping, under the new passport regulations imposed on 1 August.

H&H has received a number of queries from breeders wanting to know whether the regulations apply to foals born in 2009 before 1 July, as the legislation was unclear.

Jane Howells, a sport horse breeder from Chester, said the wording on Defra’s website changed overnight about 10 days ago from “all foals born” after 1 July 2009 must have a microchip implanted by a vet when first identified to “all foals” must have a microchip when first identified.

“It has cost me two vet call outs — I had the passports and identification done for three foals but hadn’t sent them off until recently,” she said.

“Because I submitted my applications after 1 July, they have been sent back as the foals have to be microchipped.”

A spokesman for Defra said foals born and passported before 30 June do not need to be microchipped, but that “all other equidea will need a chip when identified after that date”.

H&H also received enquiries about the possibility of carrying photocopies of a horse’s passport rather than the original. But the spokesman said a photocopy is insufficient.

He explained: “This is to prevent fraudulent abuse of the regulations, where different riders could carry photocopies of the same passport.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 August, ’09)