URGENT NOTICE: If you live in Great Britain and own a horse with a HSI passport, please read:

Historically, regulated changes to passports for Irish-bred horses, such as upgrading HSI foal identity documents to full pedigree passports, naming and transfers of ownership, always had to be completed by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI). 
The passport would then be sent to the IDHS (GB) passport administrators for overstamping, which is a legal requirement, so that this information can be uploaded to the Central Equine Database. This meant that owners of Irish-bred horses had to send the passport to Horse Sport Ireland first, and then to us. 

As a result of Brexit, no passport-issuing organisation in Great Britain is permitted to process any passports for animals living outside Great Britain. This is reciprocal; i.e. Horse Sport Ireland is not allowed to process passports for animals living outside the island of Ireland. This always applied to initial registrations, but we and HSI have now been instructed not to make any passport changes for horses living in each other’s countries until such a time that we receive advice from our respective legislators.  This is a new situation for all of us.  

As you will appreciate, this rule affects many of the passport-issuing organisations in Great Britain. We have raised the matter with HSI, Defra and the ‘826 Group’ of British PIOs, which meets regularly with Defra to discuss areas of interest to PIOs in this country. As a result of a conversation with Defra this morning, it appears that we are now being asked to issue full pedigree passports to Irish-bred animals which have been imported into Great Britain on foal identity papers. 

We have received no guidance on the various practical implications of this, and Minimum Operating Standards (June 2021, para 73) replacement passport rule does not fit with this scenario (on several levels). We have therefore asked Defra to produce a clear written statement regarding how and when British PIOs should make changes to, or issue replacements for, passports for imported horses. 
Defra are looking into the matter and will respond to us in due course. There are various technical questions that will have to be resolved, so we will also be speaking with Grassroots, our database provider. We are keeping in touch with Horse Sport Ireland, and our guidance from Defra will be shared with them.   

We have received many concerns from owners. As of 25 February 2022, our interim advice is:

  • We strongly advise people purchasing foals from Ireland to wait (if possible) until the foal has been DNA tested and has received a full HSI passport, showing its pedigree, before you bring the foal into Great Britain. This is the only way you are going to get a full HSI passport for your foal. You may wish to look into doing the transfer of ownership before the horse leaves Ireland. 
  • If you do decide to import a foal on identity papers, please obtain a copy of the covering certificate from the breeder before you bring the foal into this country, as we will need it to register the foal on a full passport. We will also need the DNA result. 
  • If the horse is already in Great Britain, please do not send your horse’s passport back to Ireland for updating, as HSI will have no choice but to return it to you unchanged. 
  • Please do not send Irish passports to IDHS (GB) Passports for updating yet, because we need a protocol to be agreed with Defra and HSI. Please wait for further advice, which will be published on our website.  

 Please watch this space for updates. 

Heather Chaplin

Trustee, Registration and Inspection Administration Manager IDHS (GB)