Weatherbys General Stud Book has launched a period of amnesty throughout November, meaning the first 500 owners in need of updating their horse’s passport can do so without incurring the £32 administration fee. The announcement comes as Britain’s inaugural Thoroughbred Census, launched by British Racing’s Horse Welfare Board in collaboration with research experts at Hartpury University, has reached a landmark of 4,500 submissions.

As the primary source of traceability for all thoroughbreds in Great Britain, new owners are required to update their horse’s passport within 30 days of new ownership. However, currently the compliance rate is estimated to be around 20%, meaning traceability of former racehorses becomes significantly reduced after their first step out of racing.

The Thoroughbred Census was introduced to improve the data bank on former racehorses and the lives they go on to lead, and to promote responsible ownership practices. So, in celebration of reaching 4,500 submissions, the amnesty period has been launched to encourage even more owners to update their passport when completing the census.

The period of amnesty ends on Thursday 30 November 2023. In order for Weatherbys General Stud Book to waive the fee, owners will need to complete a paper change of ownership application form and send along with their passport. The amnesty is available for the first 500 applications from 1 November 2023. Change of ownership application form can be downloaded here, with more information on how to submit here.

From field companions to RoR champions

“The equine identification document (passport) amnesty is a significant moment in our continued efforts to improve the traceability of thoroughbreds in Great Britain, once retired from racing,” said Helena Flynn, Programme Director, Horse Welfare Board. “The initial uptake of the Thoroughbred Census from owners across the country has been really positive, but the job is far from complete, and an industry-wide push is still required to promote and encourage owners of all former racehorses to participate. Whether a horse has been retired to a field or is an RoR champion, we want to know about them.”

Eligibility criteria for equine identification document (passport) amnesty is as follows:

  •  The horse has formerly been registered with a British licensed trainer or has competed on a British racecourse.
  • The owner has completed the 2023 Thoroughbred Census for the horse for which they are completing the
    change of ownership.
  • Completed form and passport must be received by Weatherbys General Stud Book between 1 November
    2023 and 30 November 2023.
  • Horses with an FEI passport are not eligible to participate.
  • Change of ownership for breeding purposes will not be eligible for the amnesty.
  • Only the first 500 submissions will be eligible for the amnesty.

A life after racing

All owners of former racehorses are being asked to complete the Thoroughbred Census between 28 June – 31 December 2023, with the primary objective of helping to improve the traceability of thoroughbreds after they
have been retired from racing. The census requests information on each horse’s passport number, microchip
number, age, current residence, second career, and more to provide a robust view of the 2023 British retired
racehorse population.

With improved data, British Racing and its aftercare charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), can better support
owners with access to educational resources and routes to compete if desired, as well as continue to build
informed and helpful communities. Improved data at this stage of a thoroughbred’s life can also help the Horse
Welfare Board and RoR improve and adapt welfare initiatives and will, most importantly, enable fast and
effective contact in the event of an equine disease outbreak.

As a result of the campaign to date, Weatherbys General Stud Book has reported an increase of 44% in the
number of equine identification document (passport) updates compared to this time last year.

The 2023 Thoroughbred Census can be completed online, before closing on 31 December 2023. Full results will be reported during the first quarter of 2024.

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