WETHERBYS General Stud Book has launched a period of amnesty throughout November, meaning the first 500 owners in need of updating their horse’s equine identification document (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 4500 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 the 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 passports when completing the census.

The period of amnesty started on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, and ends on Thursday, November 30, 2023. In order for Weatherby General Stud Book to waive the fee, owners will need to complete a paper change of ownership application form and send it along with their passport. The amnesty is available for the first 500 applications from November 1.

Programme director of, the Horse Welfare Board, Helena Flynn, said: “The equine passport amnesty is a significant moment in our continued efforts to improve the traceability of thoroughbreds in Great Britain, once retired from racing.

"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 a RoR champion, we want to know about them.”

Eligibility criteria for equine identification document (passport) amnesty:

• 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 November 1, 2023, and November 30, 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.

All owners of former racehorses are being asked to complete the Thoroughbred Census between June 28 – December 31, 2023, with the primary objective of helping to improve the traceability of thoroughbreds after they have 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 here, before closing on December 31, 2023. Completion of the census is not compulsory, but owners are strongly encouraged to join the community and participate. Full results will be reported during the first quarter of 2024.