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A variety of legislation pertains to those with responsibility for equines (horses, ponies, and donkeys). These are outlined here.

Jump to: Nitrates & Cross Compliance | Control of Horses Act 1996
Registration of Equine PremisesRegistration of EquinesChange of Ownership of Equines


Nitrates & Cross Compliance

Ireland’s first Nitrates Action Programme under the Nitrates Directive came into operation in 2006. Regulations were introduced to put this Action Programme into law. A second Action Programme was finalised in 2010. A third Action Programme was finalised in 2014 and the fourth Action Programme has been agreed and given legal effect by

If you apply for the Basic Payment Scheme, the Regulations are also part of cross-compliance. Not only will you be breaking the law if you do not follow them, you will also be putting your Basic Payment, Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC), GLAS, and other co-funded scheme payments at risk. That is why it is very important to understand the Regulations and know exactly how they apply to you, and what to do on your farm.

Further information on Nitrates Regulations and Cross Compliance is available here

Handbook explaining the regulations and how they apply to farmers (PDF)


Control of Horses Act 1996

If you keep the horse in a control area designated under the Control of Horses Act 1996, (http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1996/act/37/enacted/en/html) you must have a horse license for it as well as the microchip and passport.

You are liable for any injury or damage caused by your horse to other people or to property.


Registration of Equine Premises

It is a legal requirement under the Control on Places where Horses are kept Regulations (SI 113 of 2014) that all premises where equine are kept must be registered with the Department of Agriculture. Accordingly, you should ensure that your equine is being kept on a registered premise. If your holding is not already registered as an Equine Premises, you should apply immediately to DAFM for an Equine Premises Number.

Application form for Equine Premises Number is available here


Registration of Equines

If you own or keep a horse or other equine, it must be microchipped and must have an official identification document, known as a horse passport.

These requirements are under EU Regulation 504/2008 which, along with later amendments, has been transposed into Irish law. They apply to all members of the horse family, including ponies, donkeys and crosses, officially known as equine animals but referred to here, for clarity, as horses.

See also DAFM Information on Equine Passports and Microchips

Any horse that is born in the State must have a passport before 31 December of the year of birth, or within 6 months of the date of birth, whichever is later. So a horse born in May, for example, must have a passport by 31 December of that year. A horse born in October must have a passport within 6 months – by April of the following year.

All equines with a passport from 1st of July 2009, must have a corresponding microchip inserted by a veterinary surgeon.

Foals – obtain a passport before 31 December of the year of birth or within 6 months following the date of its birth, whichever occurs later.

Adult horse without a passport – obtain a passport immediately

Passports must accompany horses, ponies and donkeys whenever they are moved; No passport = no movement

Equine Identification Brochure (D.A.F.M. June 2020) 

Issuing Bodies approved by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine for the purposes of issuing identity documents for equidae (Updated 7 September, 2018)

Approved Keeper of Studbook & Contact detailsContact DetailsName of StudbookMicrochip Number Lead numbers of microchips supplied by this organisation as part of the registration process
Weatherby’s Ireland GSB LimitedTara CourtDublin RoadNaasCo Kildare Tel. No: 045 879979
Fax No: 045 879691
Email: info@weatherbys.ie
General Studbook for Thoroughbreds
Weatherby’s Non-Thoroughbred Register
Horse Sport IrelandBeech HouseMillennium ParkNaasCo Kildare Tel. No: 045 850800
Fax No: 045 850850
Email: info@horsesportireland.ie
Web: www.horsesportireland.ie
The Irish Sport Horse Studbook and its supplements
The Irish Draught Horse Studbook and its Appendix
The Irish Sport Pony Studbook
The Irish Cob Studbook and the Irish Cob Part-Bred Studbook
Connemara Pony Breeder’s SocietyThe ShowgroundsClifdenCo. Galway Tel No: 095 21863
Fax No: 095 21005
Email: enquiries@cpbs.ie
Connemara Pony Studbook 3721004
Irish Piebald & Skewbald Association t/a Leisure Horse IrelandFurbo HillSpiddalCo Galway Tel. No: 091 577577
Fax No: 091 670111
Email: info@lhi.ie
Web: www.LHI.ie
Irish Piebald & Skewbald Studbook
Irish Donkey Studbook
(Effective from June 2014)
Kerry Bog Pony Co-op SocietyRosetown LodgeNewbridgeCo Kildare Tel No: 045 432007
Email: info@kerrybogpony.ie
Kerry Bog Pony Studbook 3721414
Note: Database maintained by Horse Sport Ireland
Irish Warmblood Studbook Ltd14 CarrowgarOgonnelloe,Scarriff,Co. Clare. Tel. No: 087 2229701
Fax No: 061 923222
Email: admin@irish-warmblood.com
Warmblood Studbook of Ireland 97227
Irish Harness Racing Association LtdDundee HouseSummerhill SouthCork Tel. No: (01) 5310365
Email: info@irishharnessracing.com
Irish Trotter Studbook
Irish Pacer Studbook
The following organisations are approved to issue identity documents for equidae which are ineligible for entry into one of the studbooks listed above are:
Horse Sport IrelandBeech HouseMillennium ParkNaasCo Kildare Tel. No: 045 850800
Fax No: 045 850850
Email: info@horsesportireland.ie
Web: www.horsesportireland.ie
Not applicable 3721414
Irish Piebald & Skewbald Association t/aLeisure Horse IrelandFurbo HillSpiddalCo Galway Tel. No: 091 577577
Fax No.: 091 670111
Email: info@lhi.ie
Web: www.LHI.ie
Not Applicable 3721403
(Effective from June 2014)

* Please note that microchips starting with this number can be used by more than one organisation


Change of Ownership of Equines

On foot of a Statutory Instrument signed into law by the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, it is now a legal requirement to report changes of horse ownership to the Passport Issuing Authority who issued the original passport for a horse. This applies for any horses whose ownership changes after July 1st, 2014.

When a horse is sold the seller should give the passport to the buyer. The buyer should then complete the Transfer of ownership form and return it to Horse Sport Ireland along with the passport and the appropriate fee. A record of the transfer of ownership of an equine shall be maintained by both the person transferring ownership and the person to whom ownership is transferred for a period of 5 years from the date of the transaction and be made available on request to an authorised officer.

Change of Ownership Regulations 2016

FAQs on Change of Ownership (PDF)

When buying / acquiring ownership:

  • You must receive the passport from the seller at the time of purchase.
  • You must complete the "buyer" parts of this form and ensure the seller has also completed their sections.
  • You must forward this form and the passport with the appropriate fee to the PIO within 30 days of taking ownership.


  • Both parties must keep a copy of this transfer of ownership declaration - photocopying or photo will suffice.
  • DAFM authorised officers will carry out inspections and have powers to inspect records and documents.
  • Failure to register the transfer of ownership within the time limit is now a serious offence in Ireland and attracts heavy penalties.
  • Giving false, misleading or incomplete information is also a legal offence.

Links to equine change of ownership forms

PIOLink to form
Irish Pony Society http://www.irishponysociety.ie/about-the-ips-2/
Weatherbys https://www.weatherbys.co.uk/stud-book/weatherbys-ireland
Leisure Horse Ireland http://lhi.ie/forms/LHI_Transfer_of_Ownership_Form.pdf
Connemara Pony Breeders Society http://www.cpbs.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Transfer-of-Ownership.pdf
Warmblood Studbook of Ireland http://www.irish-warmblood.com/forms/ChangeofOwnership.pdf
Horse Sport Ireland http://www.horsesportireland.ie/passports/transfer-ownership/
Irish Appaloosa Society Irish Appaloosa Society - Change of Ownership Form (PDF)


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