Keeping horses in Spain

                                                                                    "Two feet move your body. Four feet move your soul."       


Is  there a more beautiful place to own a horse than Andalucia, Spain? Spectacular riding in forests, on the beaches and also in the mountains, you will never be bored, nor will your horse! 

Since 2002 it has been law that all horses must be kept at a registered Explotación Equina and from 2004 all horses must have a registered microchip.  From December 2009 it has been law that all horses born after this date or who have travelled, or want to travel, outside the province in which they were born, must have a passport.


If you are buying a horse you will need to complete the Hacienda form nº 600 and pay 4% of the purchase price to them. A vet must verify who the seller and buyer are, fill out the relevant form, leaving you a pink copy of this until the new registration comes through.  He/she 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.


The first thing to know is that unlike in the UK, you cannot simply have a property, rented or owned with land and keep a horse on it.

Whether you keep your horse at home or at a yard the property must be registered as an "Explotación Equina" and given it´s relevant ´codigo´. Horses need to be MICROCHIPPED and registered with the local Agricultural Office. A card has to be stamped once a year and a large fine is imposed if it isn’t!

Each province has different criteria as to the obtaining of the relevant licences to keep horses and or transport them – there is also a cost associated with obtaining the REGA (previously OCA) licence which again varies from province to province and can be anywhere between 50€ to 200€.                                                                            

A good place to start is your town hall and then the OCA – Agricultural Department in each city. As the requirement are variable – some provinces requiring the REGA licence for just one horse and others for two or more – it is best to check with your local vet or town hall first.

The process also varies from province to province but usually means a Department of Agriculture (OCA) assigned Vet checking the facilities and those facilities will need to include a minimum of running water, field shelter and adequate fencing. Before the vet comes out – you will also probably need Town hall approval for a Licencia Ambiertal.

In order to apply for 'menor'  licence in Andalucía (that is for up to 5 horses on the same plot) first you must comply with the following:

• The plot of land must be completely fenced.

• There must be shading for the horses; this means a wooden/concrete shelter. The Junta de Andalucía will approve no other type of shelter. You cannot build in the countryside anymore, therefore if the plot already has some sort of shelter, this may be adapted and used, but if it doesn’t, a new shelter has to be put up. It will have to be wooden and the wood provided from the carpenter must be a specific wood for this type of sheltering, the varnish applied on the wood can’t be toxic and it must also be waterproofed. However permission must also be requested from the local town hall.

• The plot must also have its own water supply, which may be either town water or well water. If the supply is from a well this water must be analyzed once a year.

• The documentation that must be presented in the Junta de Andalucía is:

• ID of the horse’s owner.

• The Catastral information of the plot, if the horse owner is going to rent the plot then the owner of the plot of land must provide a written authorization allowing him/her to use the piece of land for horses.

No admin fees are involved. You have to present the information at the Junta de Andalucía office and the license should be granted in 2 to 3 weeks. The horse owner will have to apply for it – it will be their name on the license.

After making application the ministry vet will inspect the facilities etc. to ensure it is suitable – there is a long list of things they will check but basically it is to ensure the owner can look after the livestock adequately i.e. secure fencing, sufficient grazing land, water, feed storage etc. After that – and assuming favorable – the license will be issued.

Five horses 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 and 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. Over 5 horses will need a program of disinfection - regular dates/times it is done.



CIRCUITO DEL SOL - THE SUNSHINE TOUR is a very popular event. It is an international show jumping competition which takes place over a six week period in February and March each year. The venue at Dehesa de Montemedio covers over 500 hectares with spaces for 2,000 horses and the facilities are the most spectacular in Europe. It is close to the beautiful small town of Vejer de la Frontera  and the stunning beaches of Zahara de los Atunes, Barbate and Conil de la Frontra, which are practically deserted at this time of year.

LA SACA DE YEGUAS, ALMONTE takes place on June 26 in the emblematic countryside of the Donana marshes, where the horses live wild all year round. This is considered the most impressive equine event in Spain, and is also one of oldest, having taken place for around 500 years. The horses are brought first to the village of El Rocio, where the famous pilgrimage takes place every spring, and then on to Almonte, where they are cleaned, re-shod and blessed by a priest. Some are then sold and the rest are returned to their idyllic life in the wild.


                                     The ability to feel is a gift from God to each one of us. Let us begin to feel ourselves and understand our horses.