Rural Surveyor Annabel Douglas has some useful tips for horse owners and riders alike.
Symonds & Sampson love all things equestrian. With lots of our staff owning, riding and competing horses we have a good understanding of your equestrian requirements. Our professional department offer a wide range of services which offer structure and reassurance for both the livery operator and horse owners alike, such as Common Law Tenancy for Grazing by Horses and Ponies and Do-It-Yourself Livery Agreements.
We are aware many farmers in the south west own equines so felt it important to highlight some legislation which has just come into force that aims to prevent abuse and promote welfare and will make reporting missing and stolen horses easier.
From 1st October 2020 it is a legal requirement for all horses, ponies and donkeys born before 30th June 2009 to be retrospectively microchipped, (if not already) and passported in England. All horses born after this date are already required to be chipped and passported. It is an offense under The Equine Identification (England) Regulations 2018 not to comply and fixed penalties apply.
You can check your horse’s details on the Central Equine Database - National Chip Checker and notify the passport organisation of any changes.
The RSPCA say ‘In 2019, we received reports of more than 21,000 incidents involving horses and by the end of the year, we had nearly 900 in our care, leaving our rescue centres full and funding hundreds more in private boarding’. Sadly, the national equine crisis continues, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic but hopefully this legislation will assist in helping prevent future abuse.
If there is a positive to come out of Covid-19, it is a newfound appreciation of how lucky we are to live and work in the South West. Many of us have taken to additional outdoor activity which leads to our second important update. Looking ahead to 1st January 2026, any unrecorded rights of way will no longer be legally accessible. This not only applies to your favourite bridleways but thousands of miles of unrecorded rights of way including footpaths. This is due to changes made by the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000. Therefore, it is important you check the routes you enjoy are mapped on the definitive map and report them if not.
Alternatively, if you are a land owner you can help protect your land from ‘claims’ for Public Rights of Way under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 by depositing a map, statement and declaration with the local Public Rights of Way team. This is a service Symonds & Sampson can assist you with and may be particularly relevant if your land borders well-walked urban areas.