Riding establishment licences
Information and guidance on the
licensing of riding establishments.
Licence Summary - Riding Establishments
Act 1964 and 1970
To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are
hired out for riding or used for riding instruction) you will need
a licence from the local authority.
Application evaluation process .
Applicants must be over 18 years of age. The applicant
must not have been disqualified:
- from keeping a riding establishment;
- from keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951;
- from having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals
(Amendment) Act 1954;
- from keeping boarding establishments for animals under the
Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963;
- under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from keeping or owning
animals, being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing
animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of
Applicants must pay any required fee and comply with any
conditions attached to a licence.
A summary of the regulation relating to this licence.
Application Evaluation Process
When dealing with the application the local authority must
consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner
detailing whether the preimses are suitable for a riding
establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any
The local authority will also take into account whether the
applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence. They must
also be satisfied of the following:
- that consideration will be given to the condition of the horses
and that they will be maintained in good health, kept physically
fit and where the horse is to be ridden or used during riding
instruction, be suitable for that purpose;
- that the animals feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes
are fitted properly and are in good condition;
- that there will be suitable accommodation for the horses;
- that for horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture,
shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as
and when needed;
- that horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and
bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and
visited at suitable intervals;
- that precautions will be taken to reduce the spread of
contagious or infectious diseases and that veterinary first aid
equipment and medicines will be provided and maintained;
- the appropriate procedures are in place to protect and move the
horses in the case of a fire and that as part of this the name,
address and telephone number of the licence holder is displayed
outside the premises and fire instructions are displayed; and
- that storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment
and saddlery are provided.
In addition to any other conditions a riding establishment
licence must be subject to the following conditions:
- that any horse inspected by an authorised officer and found to
need veterinary attention will not be returned to work until the
licence holder has obtained a veterinary certificate confirming the
horse is fit for work;
- that a horse will not be let out for hire or for use in
instruction without the supervision of a responsible person aged 16
years or older, unless the licence holder is satisfied the rider
doesn't require supervision;
- that the business will not be left in the charge of someone
under 16 years of age
- that the licence holder holds indemnity insurance; and
- that the licence holder keeps a register of all horses in their
possession that are three years old or younger and that the
register is available for inspection at all reasonable times.
How long will it take to receive the
Following receipt of the application form and any necessary
attachments including the relevant fee, you can expect to hear
from us within 60 days.
Licences are renewable annually.
Apply for a licence to operate
a riding establishment.
Tell us about a change to your
existing riding establishment licence.
Alternatively you may download an application form from the form
Application form for a Riding
Establishment (PDF, 19k).
Fees will be payable for applications.
Failed Application Redress
Please contact the local authority in the first
An applicant whose application is refused can appeal to the
local Magistrates' Court.
Licence Holder Redress
Please contact the local authority in the first
A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can
appeal to a local Magistrates' Court.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the
first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the
form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if
you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct
give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre
Please see the links on the right.
Guidance on conditions for riding establishment licences is
issued by the British Veterinary Association.
Copies of the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970 can be
purchased from The Stationery Office.