From 1 October 2018 the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 come into force.  To find out how these may affect you please view our New animal licensing regulations page


You need a licence to run a riding establishment where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction.

Applicants must be over 18 years of age and must have not been disqualified:

You can be fined up to £5,000 or imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both, if you run a riding establishment without a licence.


You can apply for a new licence or a renewal by completing an application form and sending it us along with the correct fee.

  Apply for horse riding establishment licence Opens in a new window

We can’t determine an application until we have received a report from a vet who has been authorised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA).


 If you have a made a change to your existing riding establishment please tell us.

  Apply to change a horse riding establishment licence Opens in a new window


The fee for a new licence application is £385 plus the cost of vets fees if required. There is also a £16 fee per horse if you have more than five.

Applicants must pay any required fee and comply with any conditions attached to a licence.

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.

We 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.