On 19 April, the Hurlingham Polo Association received formal recognition from Defra that, as the National Governing Body for the sport of polo, it was also an International organisation for polo which included managing equines for competition purposes. This recognition allows the HPA to issue passports for ponies as “Registered Equines”, under the provisions of the existing EU Regulation. The new passports are blue. All ponies with a current fawn coloured HPA passport are considered by Defra to be “Breeding & Production Equines”.
“Registered Equines” are understood to be travelled in a higher specification of vehicle with greater regard for their welfare, rather than moved as a herd or breeding stock, and thus benefit from some exemptions within the Welfare of Animals During Transport regulation. This change will be of interest to those traveling with horses on longer journeys, or where you travel by road through Europe. Further information relating to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order (WATO) can be found on the Defra website: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/193680/pb13550-wato-guidance.pdf.
All existing HPA issued passports remain valid at this time, but an upgrade to a “Registered Equine” or blue passport is available, should you consider the upgrade in status would be of benefit. This upgrade service will be 25 pounds with special delivery postage at extra cost.
The change to “Registered Equine” passports also means a pony’s breeding is now allowed to be included within the passport if you wish; please complete the parentage section of the passport application form stating the sire and dam’s full name and unique equine life number. This is a step closer to having a polo pony stud book in the UK.