Imported Horses – Registration


Buying from Spain or anywhere abroad is an adventure and we can all get a little carried away when we are on a foreign trip. Remember to pack your ‘sensible head’ when you go and take a list of questions and things to look for in your new Spanish equine. Forget the mane and tail and the colour in the first instance!!!

Getting a recommendation from a few people regarding the agent or the stud is a good idea, perhaps even seeing the horses that have already been imported into the UK  from a particular studfarm.

Look at videos and pictures first before you go to the effort of going out. Don’t go and look at just a few, look at a selection, or visit a number of studs or agents.

Make sure you have a clear idea of the purpose of your horse and the suitability of a mare, gelding or a stallion. Gelding an older horse has risks and costs so be sure to factor that into the equation. If the horse is an excitable stallion, you cannot guarantee that gelding him will turn him into a dobbin, he may be an equally excitable gelding that’s just not interested in covering mares anymore. It is quite possible to geld a stallion late without any fuss and this may be necessary if you are on a busy yard or live in an area like the New Forest where there are mares grazing loose. Spanish stallions are comparatively quite easy to handle so don’t rule out buying one, just make sure you have the correct facilities and the knowledge and abilities to handle one correctly. If in doubt make sure you handle any potential stallion purchase yourself and really get know him and his personality both alone, or in company, ridden and in hand.

First impressions count. How does the horse greet you? Is it happy to be touched, groomed? Do all the things that you would do if you were buying at home in the UK. Pick up feet, open their mouth. If they have dental issues that may require veterinary intervention make sure you specifically ask for this to be checked in the pre-purchase vetting and what advice the vet would give for any treatment. Don’t start your new partnership with problems. Foot care and dentistry are a bit hit and miss in Spain to put it politely, but it is getting a little better.

Never get on your potential purchase without seeing another rider on top first. A video is very good but nothing like the safety of seeing it in the flesh. Always wear your hat!

Remember that in hotter climates horses are often a lot quieter than when you are back in the UK with a force 10 blowing sleet in your face. Chances are if he is jet propelled in the sun he’s not going to slow down in the colder windier weather here.

Paperwork must be seen in reality, not just photocopies, and the microchip on your potential purchase must be scanned and confirmed by a veterinary surgeon. You can check the passport details by emailing or phoning the BAPSH registrar. Do NOT buy a Spanish horse without proof of Passport, and a Carta de Titularidad correctly signed in the Vendor box by the person named on the front of the Carta. If the owners/agent tell you it will be coming in the post or that it is in the system, tell them you will wait but do NOT send money not even a deposit.

Always get your horse vetted by a qualified and independent vet (ie a vet that is not working for the seller or the agent). Sometimes your own vet will go out and check horses for you just for the flight and a little holiday. Examine your potential purchase thoroughly and make note of any bumps or lumps. Pay particular attention to the tail and rectal area of a grey horse as melanomas can be hidden beneath a mass of tail hair. If you are worried about anything write it down and inform the vet prior to the examination. Better to lose the 180 euros vetting fee than buy a horse that will be unsound or give you heartache a few years down the line. Vettings in the EU should be of the same standard as in the UK but in reality the standard does vary a lot. Make sure you have spoken to your equine insurance company who will give you details of the level of vetting required by them for any given value of horse.

If your horse is over 10,000 euros or has done a lot of more advanced work it is advisable to get X-rays done if only for insurance purposes. Pay particular attention to the hocks on horses that have worked at higher levels and be especially concerned if a very young horse appears to be doing more advanced work than his immature body is physically prepared to withstand. Spanish horses mature very late and sometimes are pushed to achieve advanced work too early because of their willingness to please. The consequences can be long lasting and disastrous, so do discuss the horse’s training and workload as well as getting X-rays if you are concerned.

Try and get a lesson arranged on your potential purchase or make sure you spend a reasonable time riding the horse in whichever discipline you want it for, this will test both your partnership and your riding capabilities (if you aren’t  very experienced). Ten minutes in a tiny picadero is definitely not enough time or space to determine anything. If there isn’t time because you have others to see, make sure you go back and try the horse again if you like the first impressions.

Buying from videos is likely to be a recipe for disaster unless you actually go and try the horse yourself, or get your trainer / friend to try them. If you take the latter route it can still be risky, because everyone has different riding capabilities and ideas of what is comfortable etc.

The search for a Spanish horse to buy should start in the UK where there are plenty of people who will gladly show you their horses, offering help and advice. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, then the option to buy abroad can be straightforward if you follow your head and not your heart. Be sensible about prices, if it is really cheap ask yourself why? Often the price stated is negotiable, but remember the agent will want at least the standard 10% commission, some include this in the price given, others separately – make sure you find out about this too. Agents are there to help you, so they should arrange all the paperwork at the external end and transportation. All fees should be transparent and you should receive a written copy of the vetting with the name and address of the veterinary surgeon. This should be received before you pay anything and if in Spanish translated properly. Do not go by word of mouth.

Our National Breed Association is an Equine Passport Issuing Office (PIO) for DEFRA, and is also the UK National Office for the Spanish Studbook – ANCCE-LGPRE, Sevilla, Spain.
It is a legal requirement under British Equine Law to register any imported horse with the relevant PIO within 30 days of arrival in the UK.

This requirement applies to Purebred Spanish Horses (also known as Pura Raza Española or PRE) , and to pedigree and non-pedigree horses with 25% or more PRE blood registerable as PRE Fusion Horses (previously known as PRE Partbreds), and to non-pedigree horses of Spanish type (also known nowadays as ‘Andalusians’). Registration with BAPSH Ltd will ensure that:-

a) The Passport will be updated with your ownership details, stamped & signed by your PIO according to UK and EU Law.

b) Your horse’s details and MICROCHIP are recorded in our National database which assists in the tracking and recovery of stolen or lost/straying horses. All PIOs are contacted with a request to search for the microchip of any horse which is found straying or stolen.

c) Your horse becomes eligible to be shown in Iberian and Foreign Breed classes at horse shows, Spanish Horse classes at affiliated shows, and at GBPRE shows.

Please select the relevant page from the Drop-down Menu for your imported horse/s and we will be pleased to help you with your essential paperwork and documentation. We are here to advise and assist you.

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