Ireland's Miniature Horses to Get Official Studbook, Passports

The owners of Ireland's smallest equines have big cause for celebration, as that country's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food last week officially recognized the Miniature Horse and Pony Society of Ireland (MHPSI). As a result, the Irish Horse Register will maintain a studbook and issue equine passports for Irish Miniature Horses and ponies beginning Feb. 1, 2009.

Society members have been working for three years to reach this milestone, said Martina Colton, MHPSI secretary. "We are actually very excited about it. Up until now we've had to register our horses in England or Scotland. It's great news," said Colton.

The studbook will include Shetlands, Falabellas, British, American and Dutch Miniatures, Spotted Horses and Ponies, and other equines registered with the International Miniature Horse and Pony Society.

According to European Union laws, all horses and ponies must be accompanied by an identification document, such as an equine passport, when transported from one location to another.

"There are quite a lot of miniatures without a passport in Ireland, so this is quite important," said Colton, although some currently have passports issued by other EU countries.

The procedure and fees to apply for an equine passport will be the same as for full-sized horses, according to Colton. With the application, owners must submit a marking chart completed by their veterinarian. As part of the identification process, all horses must be microchipped.

In addition, stallions must be DNA tested and approved as sound for breeding. "A veterinarian will check the animals for any defects," said Colton. Forms, guidelines, and evaluation criteria will be posted to the Society's Web site.

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Irene Stamatelakys

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