BREEDERS around the country are reeling from news communicated by Horse Sport Ireland late last week that ‘Sales Letters’ for the sale of horses with incomplete passport applications is not permitted under EU Animal Health Law.

In a letter signed by HSI Operations Manger Paul O’Connor, affiliate bodies and sales houses were informed that the new legal stance was communicated to HSI by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“We’d like to inform you that Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) will no longer be sending out ‘sales letters’ to breeders regarding foal passport applications,” it reads.

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have reminded all Passport Issuing Authorities that the issuance of sales letters to allow/facilitate equines to be sold and, in some cases, to travel outside of the State is not permitted under EU Animal Health Law.

“In the coming days, HSI will be reaching out to all breeders on our database to communicate this update. Breeders will be urged to submit their applications early this year to allow ample time for passport production prior to the buying and selling of equines. Please ensure that no requests for sales letters are made as they will not be given to breeders going forward.”

In response to questions from The Irish Field, HSI stated that in compliance with an edict from DAFM: “Sales letters cannot be issued in 2024. In an effort to support breeders intending to sell foals later this year, HSI will move the registration deadline from October 31 to August 31 to assist with faster turnaround times. HSI will also announce details of its upcoming new improved e-Passport system within the next fortnight. HSI encourages all breeders to complete their mare declarations and to declare coverings for this year’s foals on IHR Online if they have not already done so.”

Breeders affected by these developments are invited to contact