THE Northern Ireland Horse Board (NIHB) is leading the way with the development of a new speedy Digital Equine Passport application system.
Among those attending the launch of the new system was Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Councillor Glenn Barr and other equine industry specialists.
Chairman Hugh McCusker welcomed guests to view the new passport digital service, demonstrated by NIHB administrator Chris Bogle. The Horse Board can now issue an equine passport in as short a time frame as an hour to one day. Passports are compulsory for the registration and travelling of all horses and ponies.
Whilst Northern Ireland Horse Board has 4,300 stakeholders, the new digital service will be open to all owners and equestrian bodies, which minimises travel and people contact, promoting covid safety. The new system is eco-friendly with little paper usage.
Hugh McCusker explained: “The NIHB has been working with breeders and the equine industry for more than 25 years, and this is just one of our many plans to modernise and energise the sector. Covid has certainly seen changed times, and we are all adapting to faster and safer methods for improving and helping our stakeholders.”
NIHB Administrator Chris Bogle added: “This is a first for Ireland and is suitable to be used by all equine owners and veterinary practices. The digital passport software is developed for both computers and handheld devices. If a vet is in the yard, most of the information can be completed by handheld smart devices.”
Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Glenn Barr praised the Board’s effort: “It has taken a few weeks to get this up and running and is a fantastic new service for horse and pony owners provincewide and further afield.”
Mrs Catherine Abbott, chairman of Eventing Ireland Northern Region and mother of Rio Olympian three-day eventer, Clare Abbott, is optimistic that the new service will be an asset: “This new system means no waiting lists for passports; no backlogs and equine owners can arrange it from their own home at the touch of a button. It is a godsend for breeders and competition riders who have to register horses.”
National chairman of Show jumping Ireland, Dungannon man Eamonn Rice is delighted that passport applications can be literally now made ‘on the go’.
He explained: “This is a time saver for busy horse owners, a great asset and user friendly for both vets and the public. Anything that makes a job easier regarding paperwork is invaluable. Having a passport service locally and issued in a day is a real benefit to the industry.”
Chris Bogle, who manages the NIHB office, is adept at the system: “Clients or vets only need to complete the marking chart in hard copy, all other information will be sent electronically back to the NIHB based at the Meadows Equestrian Centre, Lurgan.”
There is an express one-hour service for NIHB ID passports if received before 11am. Passport amendments include change/ transfer of ownership, passport endorsements and updating owners addresses. All services are available for members and non-members.
The NIHB Digital Passport Application system is available on the recently upgraded website: www.nihorseboard.org by clicking on the ‘Passport Application Form’, section.
For more information, please contact NIHB Administrator, Chris Bogle on 028 3834 3355. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am until 1pm.