Brexit: what we know about travelling horses to Europe after 1 January 2021

Posted on 26th November 2020

Just 38 days remain until the end of the transition period for leaving the European Union, and if you work, ride, compete, travel or trade in Europe, a number of changes are coming – and soon. A number of arrangements are dependent on there being a free trade agreement in place when we leave and, if not, what third country status Britain will be given on 31 December.

Moving equines, whether permanently or temporarily and whether registered or unregistered, is expected to become much more detailed and costly with no trade agreement in place. It’s important to stress that any information is subject to change, but our aim is to give you time to become familiar with the requirements. Key areas of change are:

We’ve prepared advice for those looking to compete horses with purple FEI recognition cards for sporting or competition purposes because we know the current position on this. For horses in general, we’re awaiting news on the approval of the UK’s equine stud books, which we’re hopeful will happen – this would mean that horses with a recognised passport would follow a similar process to FEI-registered horses. If approval is not given, and it’s not expected to happen before 1 January, these horses will require a government-issued ID document in addition to their passport, and other export documentation. We’ll provide more information on this in due course.

There’s a dedicated Brexit page on the British Equestrian website, which outlines the requirements and process you need to follow. We held a webinar a few weeks ago with our World Class athletes and officials to outline the changes, which is available for all to view, plus there’s an infographic summary of the main points and a useful checklist to help you prepare for a journey to Europe.

Key points of which you should be aware


British Equestrian – Brexit guidance including webinar, checklist and poster
GOV.UK – Exporting horses and ponies from 1 January 2021
GOV.UK – The Border Operating Model
GOV.UK – International road haulage from 1 January 2021
GOV.UK – Transport goods out of the UK by road: step by step

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