Movement rules that apply to semi-feral or wild ponies.

First published:
7 February 2019
Last updated:

Movement rules

Owners of horses must have an ID document or passport for each horse. When they apply for a passport, the animal must be micro-chipped.

Wild or semi wild horse and ponies can remain in a given area without either a passport or micro-chip, if:

  • they are part of a pre-defined population of wild or semi wild ponies (for example - Carneddau ponies)

We call this a derogation.

Why it is important to have this derogation

Semi-feral ponies are part of our landscape, culture and heritage. They provide conservation benefits, helping to maintain the ecology of their environment. The hardiness of the breed is maintained by where they live.

But many of the ponies (colt foals in particular) are of low value. So, it is uneconomic to passport and micro-chip them.

Owners need to manage their herds, this includes the disposal of surplus stock. The derogation allows owners to:

  • remove surplus animals without the extra cost of micro-chipping. The cost could be greater than the value of these animals
  • take animals to a slaughterhouse, as long as they can prove their identity

Could I apply for a derogation

If you have a semi-feral horse/pony grazing on commons, you could apply for a derogation. You would need to show us that:

  • you have detailed management plans in place for each pony
  • you have proof that the plans are in operation
  • the pony was uniquely identified
  • the pony was traceable

We would need to show the European Commission that you were meeting the requirements of the Regulations. Then we could seek approval to put a derogation in place.   

Which organisations have obtained a derogation

The following organisations have obtained a derogation:

  • Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau – covering the Carneddau ponies of Northern Snowdonia. The Carneddau ponies are of Welsh Mountain type. Because of their unknown pedigrees they are not associated with a studbook. The ponies belong to members of the Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau. They have grazing rights on the commons know as Aber, Llanfairfechan and Llanllechid
  • Hill Pony Improvement Society of Wales (26 Pony Improvement Societies) -  covering a number of hills and commons in South and Mid Wales. These ponies are pure bred Welsh mountain ponies, sired by premium stallions. They are eligible for full registration with the Welsh Pony & Cob Society as semi-feral Welsh Mountain Ponies. The individual societies and the areas they cover are below

The only ponies covered by the derogation are those managed by the above organisations. All other ponies kept on common land are subject to the requirements of the Equine identification (Wales) Regulations 2009.

Under the derogation, each pony:

  • must be owned by a member of the Society, who has grazing rights for that common
  • must be identifiable in lists kept by the Society
  • must stay in their designated area, without a passport or micro-chip
  • an animal can move from the designated area
  • does not need a passport or micro-chip

When an animal moves from the common, the derogation no longer applies. The owner would need to apply for a passport and micro-chip the animal, in line with the regulations.

Ponies retained for breeding will need to have a micro-chip when the owner applies for a passport.

The process for selling these ponies

Each year, the Society holds a sale. Each pony has a completed passport application form and a unique rump sticker. The application form must contain:

  • information about the pony
  • the breeder/owner
  • a completed silhouette
  • a detailed description of the animal
  • the unique identifying number on the animal's rump. This links the pony, sticker and application form

It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that:

  • the application form is accurate
  • it includes the passport fee
  • the unique rump sticker shows the sale date and the identification number
  • the rump sticker is correctly attached

Animals that are not considered fit, or which do not have the correct identification will not be sold.

Ponies not sold for slaughter must be micro-chipped before leaving the premises. Responsibility for the cost of micro-chipping will fall to the new owner. The micro-chip number corresponds with the application form. The new owner has a copy of the form, allowing them to move the animal to it’s destination. The Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) will process the application form within 30 days. They send it to the new owner. It is an offence to move the animal from the destination holding until the owner has the passport.

Foals (under 12 months of age) sold for slaughter can travel to the slaughterhouse on the passport application form and rump sticker. The foal must be slaughtered within seven days of the date that the sticker was applied to the animal. It is an offence to slaughter a foal if this deadline has expired. The slaughterhouse must return the rump sticker to the PIO for their records.

Veterinary treatment

Any semi-feral pony treated with any medicinal product must be identified within 30 days of the treatment.

Any medicine given to a pony within the derogated area must be in line with the horse’s status as a food producing animal.

Improvement Societies and Common land covered by the derogation

The Hill Pony Improvement Society of Wales covers the following individual Improvement Societies and common land areas:

  • Aberyscir Pony Improvement Society:Aberyscir Common.
  • The Black Mountain Pony Improvement Society: Black Mountain Common
  • Blaenavon Pony Improvement Society: Blorenge
  • The Brecon Beacons Pony Improvement Society: Brecon Beacons Common
  • Cefn Bryn Pony Improvement Society: Cefn Bryn Common
  • Cefn Edmwnt Pony Improvement Society: Buckland Manor Common
  • Cenydd Gwyr Pony Improvement Society: Cenydd Gwyr Common
  • Pontlottyn Pony Improvement Society: Gelligaer and Merthyr Common
  • Twyn-y-Waun Pony Improvement Society: Gelligaer and Merthyr Common
  • Mountain Hare Pony Improvement Society: Gelligaer and Merthyr Common
  • Dowlais Pony Improvement Society: Gelligaer and Merthyr Common
  • Eppynt Pony Improvement Society: Eppynt Common, Mynydd Eppynt and The Eppynt
  • Hergest Ridge Pony Improvement Society: Hergest Ridge and Hanter Hill
  • Llanafan & Llanwrthwl Pony Improvement Society: Abergwesyn Hill, Drygarn Fawr, Penygenhill Common, Bryn Rhudd, Llwyn Madoc Hill, Llysdinam Hill, Llanwrthwl Common and Llanfihangel Brynpauban Common
  • Llandefalle Pony Improvement Society: Llandefalle Hill
  • Llandeilo Graban & Rhulen Pony Improvement Society: Llandeilo Hill
  • Llangoed Pony Improvement Society: Llangoed Common
  • Llangorse Pony Improvement Society: Mynydd Llangorse, Cefn Moel, Cathedine Coedcae and Pen Tir
  • Llanrhidian Marsh Pony Improvement Society: Llanrhidian Marsh (Whitford Burrows to Crofty point)
  • Mountain Hare Pony Improvement Society: Mountain Hare Common
  • Mynydd Trefil Ddu & Las Pony Improvement Society: Trefil Ddu Common
  • Penderyn Pony Improvement Society: Manor Mawr Common
  • Pontlottyn Pony Improvement Society: Pontlottyn Common
  • Trefil Pony Improvement Society: Trefil Las
  • Troed Mynydd Pony Improvement Society: Mynydd Troed Common