Transporting equine to Europe in a post-Brexit landscape

Since Brexit was made official in January 2020, rules and regulations surrounding the transportation of equine from the UK to Europe have changed. The government advises using professional services to ensure the safe transportation of your horses.

There are several elements you need to consider to prepare your horses for export:

  • Essential documentation
  • Isolation and residency requirements
  • Equine identification
  • Vehicle authorisation
  • EU Border rules
  • Returning to the UK
  • Customs and Taxes

Essential Documentation
There are several documents that need to be acquired for all live equine looking to travel to the EU from the UK. Any horses with a purple FEI Recognition Card are classed as “registered with a national branch of an international organisation for sporting or competition purposes” and do not require any further Government-issued documents. For more information on what qualifies as an FEI Recognition Card, take a look at the Federation Equestre Internationale’s guidelines

Export Health Certificate
If you’re planning to export any equine out of the UK to Europe, it’s important to obtain an official document called EHC. This document confirms that your export complies with the health requirements of the destination country. An official vet who works in a private practice and on behalf of the government will conduct blood tests and sign off on the certificate.

Disease Testing
Export Health Certificate testing consists of proving your equine is free of certain diseases. If your equine is registered with either a national branch of an international body for sporting and competition purposes or an EU-recognised UK Studbook, or if it is going to stay in the EU for less than 90 days, you must get it tested for equine infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel.

For permanent and all other temporary exports and movements, you need to get your equines tested for equine infectious anaemia within 30 days of travel.

Isolation and Residency Requirements
Before you can transport or move equine registered with EU Studbooks’ or a national branch of an international racing or competition organisation, you need to keep it on a holding in Great Britain, the EU, Northern Ireland or a country with a similar health status either:

  • For 40 days,
  • Since birth
  • Since its entry into Great Britain

You must isolate your equine from other horses that do not have a comparable health status for at least 30 days, before transporting them either temporarily or permanently.

It is also essential that you keep your registered horse under supervision for 30 days.  Your supervising vet does not need to be an official vet. However, an official vet must confirm that you have met these requirements before you export the equine.

Equine Identification
You can use the horse passport to export or move equines registered in conjunction with the following registrations:

  • an EU-recognised studbook (this includes all UK Studbooks)
  • a national branch of an international racing or competition organisation

Upon arrival at your destination, your equine passport and EHC must be kept together and be ready to present.

Vehicle Authorisation
Any driver certifications registered in the UK are no longer valid in the EU. The vehicle used for transporting equines between the UK and Europe now requires registration and authorisation by governing EU bodies.

At Newmarket Racehorse Transportation, we offer transport services by road, sea, or air, that all use authorised vehicles for the stress-free and safe transportation of equine.

EU Border Rules
Custom declaration forms must be completed prior to travelling to Europe. It is important to complete this documentation to prevent any fines or delays in transportation. From 31 January 2024, imports of live animals from the EU to Great Britain will be categorised as high risk under the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM).

Those looking to transport equine will now need to complete a Common Health Entry Document (CHED) in place of the old Import Notification (IMP). This document can be acquired by logging into the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System(IPAFFS). You will also need to notify APHA and check that you have the correct documents you need to travel safely and legally.

New checks at the border on live animals from the EU will be introduced in late 2024, but for now, the government has advised that EU/EFTA/EEA origin horses will continue to be checked at the destination.

Taxes and Customs
When temporarily importing and exporting your horse(s), you can pay a bond, which reflects the value of the goods being exported and is returned once the horse re-enters the country of origin.

Alternatively, you can get an ATA Carnet (, which consists of a fee allowing you to put the horse and the kit on one carnet, using it multiple times for up to a year. This is the best value for most competitors who are going backwards and forwards to Europe during a season.

Not paying charges before-hand can lead to various fees and potential delays in your transportation.

Next Steps
For more information or to keep up with the most recent changes to export and import regulations, check the government updates  If you are looking to transport your equine to Europe from the UK, get in touch with a member of our team.






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