Essential Website Maintenance – Thursday 9th January 2020

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Riding Establishment

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To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction), you need a licence from the local authority.
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An application or renewal for a riding establishment costs £211 (additional veterinary report costs are at your expense). You can pay online using the button above. Licences are valid for 12 months once issued and you must renew before the expiry date.


Applicants must not have been disqualified from:

  • Keeping a riding establishment
  • Keeping a dog breeding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop
  • Keeping an animal establishment
  • Having custody of animals

You will need to check if you need planning permission for your riding establishment. Please contact the planning department for advice. We may refuse or defer a decision on your application until any planning issues have been decided.

Supporting Documentation

You must send these documents with your application:

  • Site plan and layout plan
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Training certificates

Processing and Timescales

An officer will carry out an inspection within 28 days of receiving your application.  If you have not heard from us within this time please fill in our online enquiry form

Your application must be processed by us before it can be granted - tacit consent does not apply.

No-one may run a riding establishment without first getting a licence.


Legislation and Conditions

Applicants and Licence holders must meet the requirements of the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and 1970, and associated conditions.

Before deciding an application the local authority must consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner detailing whether the premises are suitable for a riding establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses.

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
    that appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove 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
  • 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
  • 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

Failed applications and appeals

If we refuse a licence you may appeal to the Magistrates court. The court may give directions regarding the licence or its conditions.

Report a problem

If you have a complaint or enquiry about a riding establishment please e-mail

Further Guidance:

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