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International > International Importing


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Here are some suggestions when you are purchasing a registered American Miniature Horses in the United States for importing to your home country. The process can be a challenge if you do not understand some of the following:

  • Common Sale Practices in the United States

  • Registration, Transfer and Sales Normally Conducted in the United States

  • Importation Requirements in Your Native Country

Let's explore each of these topics.


Common Sale Practices in the United States

It is very important to verify that the horse you are interested in purchasing is officially registered in the American Miniature Horse Association prior to your purchase. You must see the original certificate of registration and compare the horse depicted in the photographs on the certificate of registration with the actual horse. Make sure the description of the horse is accurate with color, markings and age. If you see a discrepancy from the certificate of registration ask the seller for clarification as a mistake in the horse's identity could mean a mistake in pedigree. Do not accept a photo-copy of the certificate of registration as the "original" document.

Within the AMHA, horses being sold are required to have a transfer of the certificate of registration to the buyer. At the time of purchase, the buyer must receive the original certificate of registration that was issued by the AMHA. Along with the original certificate of registration is another form referred to as the Transfer of Ownership form. The buyer of the horse must transfer the original certificate of registration, using the information supplied by the seller on a Transfer of Ownership form. Both of the documents, certificate of registration and transfer of ownership, must be presented to the buyer at the time of the sale. To complete the transfer of recorded ownership, the buyer must send both documents along with the appropriate fee to the AMHA offices to officially transfer the horse into the buyer's name. A new certificate of registration will be issued by the AMHA to reflect the recorded ownership of the buyer. This re-issued certificate of registration will be necessary if you planning on showing your American Miniature Horse at an approved AMHA show and continuing to breed and register AMHA offspring.

At the time of sale, obtain a proper "Bill of Sale" for the animal be purchased. In the United States, a "Bill of Sale" is a proper legal document whereby the seller conveys legal ownership of the horse to the buyer. The official "Bill of Sale" should describe the horse by registered name, registration number, age, gender, color, markings description and any other factors including sale price to clearly describe the horse being purchased. The "Bill of Sale" must be signed and dated by the seller and may be counter-signed by the buyer. In essence, the "Bill of Sale" serves as the most important document to prove ownership of the horse. The certificate of registration is the document that is proof of the horse's identity and pedigree. At the time of the sale, the buyer should receive three separate documents from the seller: 1. "Bill of Sale", 2. Original certificate of registration, and 3.) Original, completed transfer of ownership form.

The original certificate of registration and transfer of ownership forms along with the appropriate fees should be sent immediately to the AMHA office for processing, and for 2​ these forms to be available as the horse enters quarantine.

In the United States, there are no warranties, guarantees on the horses being sold. Unlike some countries, the United States laws do not include a refundable return of the horse if the horse is not as described by the seller or is defective in some manner from what is being represented at the time of sale. There are no warranties or guarantees for the mature height of the horse. Therefore, make sure you have an accurate assessment of the animal's height prior to purchase. The height in AMHA horses is measured to the last mane hair, not to the top of the withers. It is important to note this difference from most foreign country's official measuring techniques. Verify through a official veterinary examination if a mare is being sold pregnant. If you accept any other method of verification, you will assume the risk should the mare not be pregnant.

It is wise to have an official veterinary examination of a horse prior to purchase. The official veterinary examination/inspection can be used to verify a horse is sound, along with detection of genetic diseases, and other conditions such as malocclusions and structural defects. This is referred to as a pre-purchase exam. Prior to exporting the horse from the United States, extensive veterinary testing is required along with vaccinations for specific diseases, not conformation or lameness. This testing includes the physiology of the animal as associated with only communicable diseases. The horse's vaccination schedule must be current, and any additional vaccinations will depend upon the requirements of the port of entry at the horse's destination. Remember, each country is different and the rules change from time to time. Some buyers may require a reproductive soundness exam on stallions of breeding age.

And, depending upon the destination country, the breeding stallions may require extensive testing for reproductive diseases.

Prior to purchasing and importing a horse, discuss the requirements with your local veterinarian. If your plans include purchasing a horse from the United States, seek current advice from your local veterinary surgeon on suggestions and guidelines to follow. It is especially important to isolate all new animals upon their arrival.

Duty, taxes and fees.

In the United States, it is not always required to pay a sales tax, value added tax (VAT) at the time of purchase. However, depending upon the destination of the horse, the buyer will be responsible for all taxes, including VAT for the value of the horse. This is not the seller's responsibility.

Export Quarantine

In the United States, there are specific officially recognized export quarantine farms for horses. The farm should be approved by the US Department of Agriculture. Some of the export/quarantine operators are Miniature Horse owners while others are businesses independent of the world of Miniature Horses. Make sure you understand ALL of the requirements and fees you will have to pay while the horse is in quarantine. If you are in doubt, ask questions to clarify the costs and get the costs in writing. The AMHA cannot recommend export/quarantine operators. Checkout the AMHA

website "Business Advertisers" for contact information on those offering their services.

It is very important for the buyer of horses to remember, "caveat emptor." The Latin expression translates to "Buyer Beware".

If you have any questions regarding the registration and transfer of horses, please feel free to contact the AMHA.


International Importing

American Miniature Horses are purchased and shipped annually to many destinations around the globe. With American Miniature Horses in over 20 different countries, the popularity continues to advance for this unique breed of horse. Unlike other countries, the American Miniature Horse Association core has been about breeding superior genetic stock that resemble a large horse in a "small package", which adds to their universal appeal.

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