Retiring your horse

Horse Passport Legislation Requirements when transferring ownership

Owners and trainers should be aware that it is now a legal requirement for owners to register their ownership of a horse, when they buy one or take over ownership, within 30 days of the transaction taking place. There is an exemption for horses racing under rules, where trainers take care of the necessary administration. 

This became a legal requirement from October 1 2018 and is being enforced by Trading Standards.

However, it is apparent that transfers of ownership have not been actioned in a number of cases when an owner sells their horse or a horse moves out of training.

Owners and breeders should therefore be aware of the following:

  1. It has been a requirement of the Horse Passport Regulations since 2009 for all equine owners in Great Britain to register their ownership with the Government designated Passport Issuing Organisation (Weatherbys) within 30 days of purchase.
  2. From October 1 2018, it became a legal requirement and is enforceable by Trading Standards.
  3. The legislation also requires that a horse’s passport is returned to Weatherbys to be updated with the new ownership details. Racing ownerships have been granted an exemption; however when a horse comes out of training this exemption no longer applies.
  4. The owner of a horse in training should have previously registered their ownership with Weatherbys before the horse went into training unless they are the breeder, in which case the ownership is already correct.
  5. When a horse comes out of training and the racing ownership is terminated, the Weatherbys ownership becomes the valid ownership recognised by DEFRA and the Central Equine Database.
  6. Even if a racing owner retains ownership of a horse after it finishes racing they will be required to register their ownership with Weatherbys if they haven’t already done so prior to the horse going into training (unless they bred the horse).

In summary, when a horse is in training the registered racing ownership takes precedence, but where it comes out of training, it reverts back to the ownership detailed in the horse’s passport. It is here that details may need updating, e.g. if the owner while the horse was in training keeps the horse, but didn’t originally register as the owner.

To update ownership information online (for horses not in training) see

In the case of a horse that dies or is euthanised the passport should be returned to Weatherbys along with a note with the date of death within 30 days of the horse dying.

Any owners wishing to check they are the recorded owner can check the ownership page of the horse’s passport. If their name appears in there with the Weatherbys stamp to confirm it then they are the registered owner with the Studbook Department.