Owning a horse in Spain – what you need to know

Spain is a lovely place to own a horse, the riding is lovely and the Spanish are keen horseman and are very proud of the Pura Raza Español (PRE).
However, there are laws in place for owning a horse in Spain, since 2002 it has been law that all horses must be kept at a registered Explotación Equina.
Then in 2004 it has been law that all horses must have a registered microchip – I specify registered because many people purchased cheap chips and put them in themselves.
These cheap chips are not registered and they are not legal, so not recognised by the OCA.
Especially in Alicante, Valencia, Cataluña etc., there are many horses with more than one microchip (!) so have your horse checked before you purchase.
In December 2009 the law changed, stating that all horses born after this date or who have traveled, or want to travel, outside the province in which they were born, must have a passport.
By the way all of the above are European laws actually passed many years previously – but Spain finally got around to implementing them in the years stated.

Buying a horse?

You have now bought your horse, as the buyer you now need to complete the Hacienda form nº 600 and pay 4% of the purchase price to the OCA.

Change of ownership?

A vet must verify who the seller and buyer are, they then fill out the relevant form, leaving you a pink copy of this until the new registration comes through.

The vet will need to see original ID of both parties and have copies of the originals. Payment should be no more than around 20€ for this service.

Owning a Horse in Spain

Weather you keep it at home or at a yard the property must be registered as an “Explotación Equina” and given it´s relevant ´codigo´ often known as the OCA Code.
Four horses or less is “menor” – you are required to have adequate shelter, a place for hay, dry storage for grain, adequate fencing and show regular removal of manure or recycling of it for fertilizer, a clear water and electric supply.
Five horse or more is “mayor“- you are required to have the above plus a quarantine stable, first aid facilities, a separate lockable dry store for grain.
Public yard – all the above plus bathroom facilities, horse showers relevant to number of stables installed, grain store, tack store, first aid room.
In all cases you need to provide a copy of the escritura and rental agreement if you are renting and a letter from the owner that he permits you this codigo, your ID.
If mayor you will need a project prepared by a vet or an approved ¨perrito de agricultura¨ You will need to show and explain how often you disinfect your stables/feed store etc.
Having a tin of Zotal in view usually covers this! Over 5 horses will need a program of disinfection – regular dates/times it is done

Moving a horse?

Temporarily – 10 days or less (new decreto – 65/2012)- requires only a fax to your local OCA stating registration number of the horse (passport or tarjeta sanitaria), address and codigo of yard it is leaving, address and codigo of yard where it is going.
You need to provide dates it is going and returning, Name and ID number of the person responsible for the horse at this time.
Free – (This law has since changed, and crazily enough a temporary Ghia is no longer required leaving the law wide open for interpretation by dealers, traffickers and the unscrupulous in general.)
Permanently – you must attend the OCA with the horse documents, a signed copy of the ID of the owner of the yard it is leaving giving permission for the horse to go and the same for the yard it is going to (with permission the horse may enter) Some OCA´s charge an admin fee of around 0.75 cents.
You are given two copies of a “guia de traslado permanente”.
One is for the destination and the other stays with the explotación where it was previously registered. The person/company transporting the horse must sign both


If you are transporting your own horse in your own vehicle within a certain distance circumference (you need to check with your individual OCA what they deem this distance to be!)
All you need is an adequate, legal and insured horse vehicle that has been registered at your local OCA.
If you are transporting a horse that is not registered in your name, any distance, you must complete a course “Bien estar del animal en el transporte” – as well as all the previously mentioned.
If you are doing any transportation during a period of a registered epidemic (Blue tongue, WEE, EEE, VEE etc!) then you must have also completed the course “Biosida Veterinaria”.
Failure on any one or more of the above will result in fines of 3000€ per law broken.
Always contact your relevant Oficina Comarcal de Agricultura to confirm details of any of the above. Each province acts independently, although these laws are European level.
This article is not intended to put people off owning a horse in Spain, as many people use experienced people to sort this out for them.
It is important that you understand what is required so owning a horse in Spain does not become complicated.