Ask H&H: getting a passport for your horse

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    Q: I’ve owned my horse for 10 years, but when I tried to get a passport from several issuing authorities, I was told I needed purchase confirmation from the person I bought her from.

    This was her breeder, who has since died. I have bred from the mare and can’t get the foal registered either.

    What can I do?
    SM, West Sussex

    Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain (SHB(GB)) is the amalgamation of the Hunter Improvement Society (HIS) and the National Light Horse Breeding Society (NLHBS). The general secretary, Catherine Burdock, confirmed to H&H it was correct to approach SHB(GB) to change details of your horse’s ownership and update the HIS document to meet Defra’s passport guidelines.

    “The horse in question was already registered, and therefore no other organisation should be approached to issue a passport,” she said. “If someone has an old HIS or NLHBS document that needs updating, they must ask SHB(GB) to do so.

    “If you were already documented as the owner in the original HIS papers, the society would update the horse’s papers for a fee. However, if the current owner is not documented on the HIS papers, as in this instance, we would need something in writing to clarify the sale of the horse from the original documented owner to the current owner, or that the person stated in the papers no longer owns the horse — a receipt or proof of sale and purchase is acceptable.”

    If attempts to contact the previous owner are unsuccessful, SHB(GB) will write to them and they will be given three weeks to respond. If no response is forthcoming, the horse will be registered to the new owner.

    “As a responsible breed society and PIO [passport issuing office], we have to show we have taken all reasonable steps to contact the previous registered owner,” said Catherine. “In cases where they have died, we’d look at various options to help provide proof of sale and purchase of a horse, such as contacting the executor of the deceased’s estate.

    “In this example, the foal of the broodmare in question could still be issued with a passport; it does not have to wait until the dam is sorted out.

    “As a guideline, updating existing HIS or NLHBS documents to meet Defra’s passport requirements costs £15, while issuing a basic identity passport for a horse of unknown breeding is £25. The change of ownership fee is £20.

    “SHB(GB) passports clearly state that possession of the document does not constitute proof of ownership, and the document remains the property of SHB(GB) at all times,” Catherine explained. “We would advise all horse owners to update ownership details with their breed society when a horse is sold, and would urge them to meet correct procedures by getting a passport with the horse’s registered breed society, if applicable.

    “At the moment, it is all too easy to get multiple passports for a horse, which is why breed societies and PIOs must be vigilant about issuing new documentation.”


    SHB(GB), tel: 01732 866277 www.sporthorsegb.co.uk

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (5 March, ’09)

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