Exports Horses and Ponies 2021 UK Guidance


Export horses and ponies from 1 January 2021

Rules for exporting horses and other equines, including ponies and donkeys from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

Moving equines from Great Britain (GB) to the EU from 1 January 2021

To move horses and other equines from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021, you’ll need to contact:

  • your official vet to book an appointment so you can get blood tests taken in time
  • an agent or transporter and tell them when you plan to travel – you may need more time to plan travel through an EU border control post (BCP)

You’ll also need to:

Tests for equines before export

You’ll need to get your equines tested to prove they’re free of certain diseases.

You’ll need tests for:

  • equine infectious anaemia – within 90 days before travel for temporary exports (of under 90 days) for horses registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting and competition purposes, or within 30 days before travel for permanent exports and all other temporary exports
  • equine viral arteritis – within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements

Isolation and residency requirements before export

You’ll need to keep horses and other equines in certain conditions before export.

Before you export temporarily (less than 90 days) a horse registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes, you will need to keep it on a holding in GB or a country with a similar health status either:

  • for 40 days
  • since its entry into GB, if the animal was imported directly from the EU or a country with a similar health status to GB less than 40 days before you export

Before permanent export, or temporary export of any other equine, you’ll need to keep the animal separate from other equines that do not have equivalent health status for at least 30 days.

You’ll also need to keep the animal on a holding in GB under veterinary supervision, or a country with similar health status either:

  • for 90 days
  • since birth if the animal is younger than 90 days old
  • since its entry into GB if the animal was imported directly from the EU less than 90 days before you export

Your supervising vet does not need to be an official vet. However, an official vet must confirm that you’ve met these requirements before you export the equine.

Apply for an export health certificate (EHC)

You’ll need to complete an EHC and some supporting documents to export a live animal from 1 January 2021.

The EHC is an official document that confirms your export meets the health requirements of the destination country.

Find out how to apply for an EHC.

Check you have the right equine ID

You’ll be able to use the horse passport (industry-issued equine ID) to export equines registered with one of the following:

  • an EU-recognised studbook
  • a national branch of an international racing or competition organisation

To export all other equines, you’ll need a government-issued supplementary travel ID from:

  • APHA if you’re in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) – this will be sent to your OV along with the EHC
  • DAERA if you’re in Northern Ireland

Your official vet will give you the supplementary travel ID with the EHC when they check the animal before travel.

You’ll need to keep the supplementary travel ID together with the horse passport and the EHC with the animal during travel.

The supplementary travel ID will be valid for a single journey to the EU and return to GB. You’ll need to get a supplementary travel ID every time you move an unregistered horse to the EU.

EU border rules

You’ll need to complete a customs declaration form before the equine arrives at the EU border.

Plan your trade route so that your animal can be inspected at an EU border control post (BCP). Some BCPs accept both registered and unregistered equines but not all do. You’ll need to check the correct BCP to go through.

Make sure you or your EU-based import agent has notified the BCP on TRACES, in advance, that your consignment is arriving – check with the BCP for how much notice needs to be given.

Recognition of UK studbooks

The UK has applied to the EU for the recognition of UK studbooks. You should plan any exports on the basis that the UK’s studbooks will not be recognised immediately from 1 January 2021. This means if you’re exporting a horse registered in a UK studbook you should follow the rules set out for unregistered horses.

If recognition is granted, horses in recognised UK studbooks will be able to use export health certificates that are only available to registered horses.

This would mean these horses can follow the same rules for blood testing, residency and isolation as horses registered with a national branch of international body for racing or competition when moving to the EU for under 90 days.

In addition, these horses would:

  • no longer need a government-issued supplementary travel ID to move from the UK to the EU
  • be able to enter the EU via BCPs approved for registered equines

Other export requirements

Before exporting, businesses must:

Find out more about exporting animals and animal products from 1 January 2021.

Returned horses and other equines rejected from a border control post from 1 January to 30 June 2021

From 1 January to 30 June 2021, APHA will carry out a risk assessment of horses and other equines rejected at EU BCP and will decide which point of entry they may use to re-enter Great Britain.

Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to submit a notification to return horses or other equines.

Submit the notification one working day in advance or at least 4 hours before arrival if it’s not possible to do so sooner.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • the original export certificate and related documentation
  • statement from the EU BCP of the reasons why the horses or other equines were refused by the EU BCP
  • statement from the EU BCP with details of the premises in which the horses or other equines were kept since leaving Great Britain, for example in quarantine or in isolation
  • declaration by the person responsible for the returned horses or other equines that the import conditions relating to transport have been complied with
  • declaration by the person responsible for the horses or other equines that they have not been in contact with any other animal of a lesser health status since leaving Great Britain

APHA will decide:

  • the conditions of import
  • if the consignment will have BCP checks on entry to Great Britain

APHA will give you an authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Returned horses and other equines rejected from an EU border control post from 1 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, returned horses and other equines must enter Great Britain at an appropriately designated BCP for checks on entry.

You must notify on IPAFFS and present the relevant documents to the BCP.

Follow guidance on returned goods processes for animal products and live animals.

Moving horses to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland

From 1 January 2021, if you want to move horses from GB to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland you should consult your transporter or the competent authority in the country you’re exporting to.

Published 29 January 2020
Last updated 19 November 2020