Apply for a riding establishment licence

A licence is needed to operate a riding establishment where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction.

An application will be considered on:

  • Qualifications held by the manager.
  • Number of horses to be kept.
  • Condition and health of the horses.
  • That the horses' feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition.
  • Suitability of accommodation, food and drink.
  • Steps taken to prevent spread of disease.
  • Veterinary first aid equipment and medicines are provided and maintained.
  • Adequate fire and emergency provisions 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.

The premises will be inspected by an approved officer and vet before a licence is granted.


A fee of £337 will be charged on submission of an application. You will need a credit or debit card available to make payment.

There will be an additional cost to cover vet fees. This will not be payable on submission of the application, but at a later date once a site visit is conducted.


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 or 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.


You must not be disqualified from any of the following:

  • Keeping a riding establishment.
  • Keeping a pet shop.
  • Having custody of animals.
  • Keeping an animal boarding establishment.

You must be 18 years of age or older.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period.

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